August 14, 2012



Status was mostly quo in the Sunday night cable ratings.

HBO:  The craziness that is TRUE BLOOD was down just a tick from last week, still overwhelmingly beating the rest of cable with 2.6 (and almost 80% of its viewers under 50).  It’s always fun to watch Denis O’Hare chewing scenery (and people), and at least Tina Majorino had a nice send-off, but this season’s Lilith/evil Bill plot, which of course had to intersect with the faeries, can’t end soon enough.  (Thinking of excess, 2d place for the night on cable was Comedy Centrals ROSEANNE ROAST, with 1.4.)  Meanwhile, THE NEWSROOM, which reached such a peak of self-righteous outrage that even if you agree with it on the coverage of the Casey Anthony trial, you might wish it would just… shut… up, was steady at 0.8.

AMC:  Without the Walking Dead lead-in that nurtured it last fall, HELL ON WHEELS made its 2d season debut with a low 0.6.  That’s about where it was toward the (Walking Dead-less) end of last season, but shows typically fall after their premieres, so Hell may quickly find itself in dangerous territory.  A fun but contrived train-heist episode of BREAKING BAD more than doubled Hell at 1.3 (although because westerns skew so old, the two shows were almost even in total viewers).

TNT:  FALLING SKIES held at 1.3, with an episode that tipped its hand way too soon that all wasn’t well in seemingly idyllic post-apocalyptic Charleston when it cast Terry O’Quinn, the king of untrustworthiness, as the town leader.  The surrounding shows were nowhere close, as LEVERAGE had an 0.6 and THE GREAT ESCAPE only a 0.4.

LIFETIME:  The network is being very coy in its promos, announcing there are just a few episodes before “it all ends,” without specifying whether “all” means the season or the series.  The ratings argue for keeping the show in business, with a nice rise to 1.1 for the week.  DROP DEAD DIVA was also up, to 0.9.

A&E:  The elderly-skewing LONGMIRE was even at 0.8, with 75% of its viewers over 50.  THE GLADES also held serve at 0.7.

USA:  POLITICAL ANIMALS limped to next week’s finale with a 0.5, offering an episode about saving a Chinese sub that felt like warmed-over West Wing.  The hour, though, did allow for a couple of nice extended duo scenes for Carla Gugino with Josh Wolk, and Ellen Burstyn with Brittany Ishibashi.

SHOWTIME:  WEEDS was even at 0.3, and EPISODES was up a bit to 0.2.

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."