Despite the massively giddy reviews it received, HBO's vampire series True Blood
debuted to a modest 1.44 million viewers, a testament to a network that just can't catch a break. Sure, it went up against the premiere of Sunday Night Football
on NBC (18.5 million viewers), but HBO spent a lot of money on publicity to try to rope in viewers.
The expectations for True Blood
aren't drawn from nothing, however, as the vampire drama was written by the genius behind Six Feet Under
Alan Ball. Just the same, 1.44 million viewers is still 1.44 million viewers, in what appears to be a trend among HBO shows of late after The Sopranos
and Sex and the City
. The fifth season premiere of The Entourage
suffered a 27 percent drop in viewership from 2.2 million for its fourth season to the 1.6 million who tuned in last week.
The cable network did its part pretty well. It had a pretty massive, multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to drum up anticipation for True Blood
. If you remember, Tell Me You Love Me
premiered to less than a million viewers in September 2007. Similar shows such as John from Cincinnati
and In Treatment
, which was renewed for a second season, weren't so lucky to receive the same level of publicity as True Blood
Note, however, that HBO, a pay channel, airs the episodes of its series several times in a week, so HBO should come up with better numbers when all these data are accumulated.
Now for all its worth, the critical reception for True Blood
hasn't been nearly as bad as how the ratings would tell them. And as for Ball? He can't be bothered. He tells Time Out Chicago
that there was no pressure to equal the greatness that is Six Feet Under
. “I do the best show I can, then I go home and I have a life. Ultimately, it's just television.”
-Glenn L. Diaz, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Los Angeles Times
(Image Courtesy of Team HBO)