August 28, 2012



HBO:  This just in from the Department of Duh:  the season finale of TRUE BLOOD was the highest rated show on cable Sunday night, and would have been the highest rated on all of television if not for preseason football on NBC.  The finale scored a 2.8 in 18-49s, even with both last week and last season’s finale, and down just a tick from this season’s premiere.  The show continues to be a blockbuster, and despite all its inanity, it’ll be an HBO mainstay for years to come.  The season finale of THE NEWSROOM, airing directly afterward, notched a very solid 1.0, up slightly from last week, and tied with the show’s previous high earned on its premiere (up slightly in the older-skewing “total viewers” number).  While not a runaway hit, there’s no reason at all for HBO to second-guess giving the show a Season 2 renewal, especially since everyone who watched Newsroom seemed to want to talk about it, a noise that–positive or negative–is music to the network’s ears.

AMC:  A riveting (and pivotal) episode of BREAKING BAD that bid farewell to one of the show’s favorite characters scored a splendid 1.4, up from the previous week.  However, HELL ON WHEELS couldn’t even draw half that 18-49 audience, managing only a 0.6 in the lead-in hour.  The much older-skewing Hell was closer in total viewers (only about 20% lower than Bad), but that may not be enough to keep the railroad running.

LIFETIME:  With only one episode until… what?, ARMY WIVES was down from last week (1.0 compared to 1.2), but still doing quite well.  Its DROP DEAD DIVA lead-in was steady at 0.8.

TNT:  LEVERAGE helped its case for staying alive by rising to 0.8, an even more notable accomplishment since its usual lead-out Falling Skies is done for the season.

BBCAMERICA:  The 2d episode of COPPER fell a scary 25% from its premiere, not even hitting a 0.3 in the 18-49 demo.  The fall was softer in total viewers, about 20%, but even so, it was watched by under 900,000 people, not many more than watched Weeds, a show available in only 25% of the country.  If Copper slides much more, its days may be numbered.

SHOWTIME:  The season finale of EPISODES didn’t create much of a stir, almost dead even with last week at a bit below 0.2 and 400,000 total viewers.  The numbers look slightly better if a small dip for its lead-in WEEDS is factored in, since that show fell by around 15% in total viewers and 5% in 18-49s from last week.

MONDAY CABLE NOTES:  MAJOR CRIMES (TNT) held even at 0.9 in its third airing, a very decent retention of about 80% of the Closer audience.  ALPHAS (Syfy), despite a demotion to 8PM, was steady at 0.5.


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."