HD Heads-Up: Prime Doubles Down on Premium Drama

Prime won’t be abandoning its premium drama strategy post-Commonmwealth Games, despite the ratings hurdles it faces.

The Birmingham Games begin on Friday and will dominate Prime’s schedule for the next 10 days.

But when normal service resumes on August 9, drama fans who don’t subscribe to Sky’s SoHo or Neon services will be thrilled to see some prestigious premieres.

Tuesdays will be devoted to two superb HBO series: dazzling period drama The Gilded Age, from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, and the incomparable small-town murder mystery Mare of Easttown, which has been nominated for seven Emmys Awards, including best actress (Kate Winslet) and limited or anthology series.

It’s encouraging to see Prime stick with its Tuesday dramas when two recent entries, Your Honor and Succession, were both relegated to late-night mid-run.

Prime also has a terrific drama series in the pipeline for Monday nights that can’t be disclosed at this stage and is revamping Sundays with a new drama line-up, although it’s more familiar than first-rate and doesn’t include season three of Yellowstone, which previously struggled in the 9.30 Sunday slot.

Cynics might argue that Sky is merely maximising its investment in HBO and other pay-TV content my milking it for free-to-air mileage, too — especially when they screen so long after their subscription debuts (the honourable exception being the fabulous Julia).

But these FTA premieres are great news for viewers who pine for something more discerning than the mix of reality and sport that clutters Prime’s schedule, with the latter often prompting pre-emptions that can make trying to follow your favourite drama series vexing to say the least.

It’s likely that Sky has taken Prime too far down the path of sport and reality to ever make premium drama a compelling proposition for the channel, especially when so much “peak TV” is available via streaming and pay-TV.

However, it does provide Prime a FTA point of difference, as will some meaty documentaries it’s lined up post-Birmingham to air with a new season of The Red Stag Timber Hunters Club on Wednesday nights.

First up will be Class Action Park, which Rotten Tomatoes summed up as “disturbing and thrilling in equal measure … a raucous chronicle of the infamous waterpark that was as beloved as it was dangerous”.

The other August highlights are less notable, from a lifestyle series called Million Pound (7.30 Thursdays) to a new local sport docu slot, Prime Presents: All Access (8.30 Fridays).

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One Response to “HD Heads-Up: Prime Doubles Down on Premium Drama”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/screenscribe.net/public_html/wp-content/themes/headlines/includes/theme-comments.php on line 66
    July 28, 2022 at 5:30 pm

    I think Prime has been missing a relatively popular anchor show that gets people tuning in on a regular date. Top Gear was relatively popular and they’ve not been able to replicate that success. It’s great they have so many dramas but they don’t promote them very much so people don’t even know they’re on.

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