May 8, 2012




It seems that no amount of violence in GAME OF THRONES will make anyone change the channel.


HBO:  GAME OF THRONES continued its ratings ascension with a gripping episode that could have been called A Tale of Two Beheadings (not to mention some guttings, throat-slittings, a dismemberment, a massacre, and a side of Nymphadora Tonks that Harry never got to see).  Thrones climbed for the 2d consecutive week, up to 2.0 (as always, remember that HBO is only in 25% of households, so what looks like a decent rating is actually a smash hit).  The only thing on cable that (barely) outrated it was an NBA Playoff game.  VEEP climbed back to its premiere-level 0.6, while GIRLS, startlingly funny in a “did they really say/do that?” way, couldn’t have a more loyal audience, as it maintained a 0.4 rating for the 4th consecutive week.



AMC:  This season of MAD MAN so far lacks a central narrative throughline that previous seasons (Don’s secret identity, the start-up of the new agency) have had, but on an episode-by-episode basis, the show has never been better.  This week’s reverie on marriage, yearning, change, resistance and (of course) death–plus Rory Gilmore!  and an honest-to-god $250K Beatles song, the veritable unicorn of licensed music!–remained at last week’s 0.7.  THE KILLING, though, with its mix of endlessly red herrings and circular revelations, continued slumping to a 0.3, making it increasingly unlikely the show will survive the reveal of Rosie Larsen’s killer.


LIFETIME:  The newly-renewed THE CLIENT LIST did what it does, tying stablemate ARMY WIVES with a strong 0.9 (and a much younger core audience), for an episode in which Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Breasts went on a date.  Wives, meanwhile, took a turn for the dark with a story about children killed in a war zone thanks to US army policy.


SHOWTIME:  The Sunday night trio of NURSE JACKIE, THE BIG C (someone please stop this show before it adds a baby to the cast) and THE BORGIAS is nothing if not consistent, all 3 shows at 18-49 ratings of 0.16-0.18, and a variation of only about 80,000 total viewers.


STARZ:  A Friday night MAGIC CITY update.  For an episode that finally featured an eruption by Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the ratings remained sedate, 0.17 for the initial showing and a total of 0.29 when the following hour’s repeat was added.

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."