April 9, 2013




HBO:  Westeros ruled the night, as GAME OF THRONES took the Sunday lead now that The Walking Dead and The Bible are done, down just a tick from last week’s premiere to 2.3, plus another 0.6 for the 10PM re-airing.  (Remember, as always, that pay-TV numbers reflect the entire country even though only 1/3 of US households are subscribers, so within their universe, they’re essentially triple these ratings.)  About 3/4 of the show’s viewership was under 50.  This week, HBO will see if the Thrones lead-in can lend a hand to Season 2 of Veep.

AMC:  As yesterday’s preliminary numbers foretold, MAD MEN was slightly down from last season’s 1.2 premiere at 1.1.  Given its subject matter, it’s no surprise that the show skews old, with about 45% of its audience under 50 (Mad Men‘s audience also has the highest average household income on all of cable, which makes its viewers valuable despite their age).

SHOWTIME:  A night of season finales was led by SHAMELESS, up 0.1 for the week to 0.9.  That was also up 0.2 from its Season 2 finale, although it was down 0.2 from this season’s premiere.  About 2/3 of its viewers were under 50.  The Season 2 finale of HOUSE OF LIES had a 0.4, even with the previous week and the Season 1 finale, although down 0.2 from this season’s premiere.  About 60% of its viewers were under 50.  CALIFORNICATION is clearly on the decline with a 0.2, even with last week, but down from last year’s 0.5 season finale and this year’s 0.6 season premiere.  Only about 45% of its audience is under 50.  (Two general points:  last year’s season premieres aired on a night with no strong competition on HBO; also, since pay-TV networks don’t sell advertising, the proportion of under 50/over 50 viewers is less important–everyone pays to subscribe–although it’s still generally healthy to have viewers who are generally healthy.)

HISTORY CHANNEL:  The network showed confidence in VIKINGS by announcing its Season 2 renewal before waiting to see how the show would do without a giant lead-in from The Bible, and the series rewarded that confidence, down just slightly to 1.2 and solidly ahead of its 0.9 lead-in from AX MEN (the previous week, the lead-in from Bible had been 3.0).  Without being too specifically spoilery, with that out of the way, a cast change caused by the events of this past episode shouldn’t give the show any trouble going forward.  As with all of History Channel’s hits to date, Vikings skews old, with about 45% of its audience under 50.

LIFETIME:  A pair of 0.8s for the network’s soapy duo of ARMY WIVES (up 0.1) and THE CLIENT LIST (even).  Wives has survived its changeover in cast, although it’s a notch or two behind last season.  Only about 38% of the viewers for Client were under 50, compared to 48% for Wives.


TNT:  It’s not clear just how TNT found itself in the predicament of having to shove DALLAS episodes onto its schedule in order to be done with them before its NBA Playoff coverage starts in 2 weeks–it’s not as though the network didn’t know when the playoffs began or how many episodes of Dallas they’d ordered.  But in any case, it led to 2-hour blocks this week and next week.  The extra 8PM episode last night had a 0.6 rating, which went up to a more typical 0.8 for the show’s usual 9PM hour.  Less than 40% of the viewers for both hours were under 50.  The season (for the moment) finale of MONDAY MORNINGS had a 0.3 rating, terrible for a TNT show, and even worse, only 29% of its audience was in the 18-49 demo.

A&E:  This wasn’t what the network was hoping for when it renewed BATES MOTEL for a second season on Monday:  the show dropped 0.2 for the week to 1.0.  That’s still a solid number for the network, especially compared to the old-folks skew of its Longmire (a robust 55% of the Bates audience is under 50), but A&E won’t want to see it continue to slip.

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."