The current season of HBO’s The Wire is its last, but apparently, this has not been enough to convince viewers to tune in to the show religiously.  As per the Baltimore Sun, the show saw another decline in its viewership last week, down 339, 000 viewers from the previous week’s audience of 1.185 million – a loss of 29 percent.

The network reasoned that the drop in show viewership was due to tough competition, namely the New York Giants/ Green Bay Packers football game on NBC’s Sunday Night Football program.  However, the total number of viewers for The Wire has also dropped this season – 23 percent from last year, as per the figures given by the cable network.

In 2007, each episode of the show earned an average of 4.4 million viewers, while the show’s fifth season opener, which aired on Sunday, January 6, was only seen by a total of 3.4 million viewers, according to HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson.

Despite the ratings drop, Cusson believes the show will more or less be at par with its previous performance when it reaches the end of its 10-episode run.

“HBO expects the show to be within the same area [on audience size] as last season,” he said.

On the other hand, the show is doing well on HBO On Demand, where each episode is made available a week before it airs on television.  More than 540,000 orders for the first episode have been placed so far, although the numbers are not quite enough to offset the decline in viewership.

The Wire is a drama that explores the drug war taking place on the streets of West Baltimore, and the lives of the people – from both sides of the fence – who are involved.  Each season of the show revolves around a central theme, and this year, the focus is on the media’s role in addressing – or failure to address – the social, political and economic issues that have been raised throughout the course of the series.

“It made sense to finish The Wire with this reflection on the state of the media, as all the other attendant problems of the American city depicted in the previous four seasons will not be solved until the depth and range of those problems is first acknowledged,” creator David Simon explained.  “And that won’t happen without an intelligent, aggressive and well-funded press.”

The Wire airs Sunday nights at 9pm on HBO.

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Baltimore Sun, HBO
(Image Courtesy of HBO)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV