April 24, 2012



VEEP, properly enough, was #2 on HBO’s Sunday ticket.
HBO:  VEEP premiered with a fairly strong 0.6 in 18-49s on its initial Sunday airing, plus another .14 for its repeat later that night (remember, HBO ratings reflect only 25% of US households, so they’re 4x as strong as they look).  That was, not unexpectedly, way down from its massive lead-in, but held even with the series finale of Eastbound & Down a week ago, and that show ran 3 years on the network (and probably would have gone longer if Danny McBride had wanted to continue)–although Eastbound skewed a bit younger.  GIRLS barely budged from its premiere a week ago (with the same level of lead-in), and while the resulting 0.4 isn’t a wildly exciting number, it’s an excellent hold for a show that debuted with Girls’ level of hype.  Naturally, though, the night was dominated by another great, grisly episode of GAME OF THRONES–for those of us who haven’t read the books, that birth scene at the end was a doozy–which tied last week’s 1.8, enough to beat all but 4 hours on Sunday network television despite being in only a small fraction of the homes. 

LIFETIME:  The ARMY WIVES/CLIENT LIST block is going great guns for the network.  Both hit 1.1 ratings this week, which was up 0.2 for Wives (possibly helped by promos that hyped a funeral–which turned out to be for a minor recurring character–and overseas combat scenes) and up 0.1 for Clent (in which Jennifer Love Hewitt considered, but didn’t perform, a threesome).  
AMC:  Another extraordinary episode in this challenging, very dark season of MAD MEN, with a complicated overlapping timeline and densely interrelated imagery and themes (almost requiring a 2d viewing) for the 3 stories it told, was… down slightly, to 0.9.  THE KILLING, despite another episode that felt pointless until a plot revelation in the final seconds, held steady at 0.6.  
SHOWTIME:  NURSE JACKIE, despite some dramatic plotting that had Jackie leaving rehab early, was down to 0.17, actually fractionally beaten by THE BORGIAS with 0.19 (although at that level of detail, one has to question whether Nielsen is measuring anything meaningful).  JACKIE has now lost more than 35% of its premiere rating from 2 weeks ago, as has THE BIG C, down to 0.14 on the night–but Big C had its big loss in Week 2 and was relatively stable this week, possibly thanks to guest star Susan Sarandon. 

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."