December 4, 2012



SHOWTIME:  HOMELAND has flirted with 24-ness since it went on the air.  It’s in the show’s DNA, given its creators’ resumes and the overlapping subject matter.  This week, barring a startling reversal in the last 2 episodes of the season, it seemed to succumb.  The sight of Carrie handcuffed to a pipe in an abandoned factory with Abu Nazir glowering over her, like so many heroines in so many action movies and TV shows, crystallized everything Homeland wasn’t supposed to be–and let’s not even discuss how nonsensical the episode’s plot was.  This series has dug itself out of seemingly impossible dilemmas before, though, so for now it gets the benefit of the doubt.  The good news is that the ratings have never been healthier:  for the first time, at least in total audience for initial airing, Homeland beat its line-up mate DEXTER, by a little over 100,000 viewers.  (It was still slightly below in 18-49s, 1.0 to 1.1.)  All those numbers were higher than last week except for Dexter‘s total audience number, which was just barely down by about 45,000 viewers. (DEXTER, too, is faltering a bit creatively in its season’s home stretch, with the gimmicky sudden introduction of Hannah’s father and the complications he’s causing in an already-busy year.)

AMC:  THE WALKING DEAD didn’t quite set a record with its fall finale episode (its gargantuan 10.5 million total viewers was just 400,000 short of the Season 3 premiere, and its 5.4 18-49 number was 0.4 below the same night), but those are details when you’re talking about the most successful scripted show in the history of basic cable–not to mention the show that beats everything on the broadcast networks except NFL football.  The rest of the line-up fared well too, as both TALKING DEAD and COMIC BOOK MEN rose 0.1 to 1.2 and 0.7 respectively.

HBO:  The Season 3 finale of BOARDWALK EMPIRE skewed considerably older than last season’s, with roughly 45% of its 2.75M viewers under 50 years old, compared to last year’s 60% of 3M total viewers.  Correspondingly, the 18-49 number fell a fairly hefty 0.4 from last year, 0.9 instead of 1.3.  Nevertheless, 2.75 million total viewers is a substantial number for a show that airs in only 25% of US households (higher than either of the Showtime series in the older demos), and Boardwalk is still safely successful.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."