SoHo No-Shows Get Another Go

HBO and Showtime have ordered further seasons of dramas that are still weeks if not months away from airing on SoHo.

True Blood, which has resumed on Prime in SD to predictably low ratings, will be back for a seventh season in 2014 and fixer drama Ray Donovan has been greenlit for a second season only three weeks into its first.

The latter scored Showtime’s highest-rated series debut ever and is the “first freshman drama” in the network’s history to improve on its series premiere.

Ray Donovan is on track to be our biggest season one show ever,” Showtime entertainment president David Nevins said when announcing the renewal.

“Ann Biderman and the extraordinarily talented creative team, coupled with the brilliant ensemble cast led by Liev Schreiber, have produced one of the hottest new dramas of the year.

“We are proud and excited to pick up another season.”

Given how quick SoHo has been to screen the latest seasons of Dexter, Game of Thrones and, from next month, Breaking Bad, it’s surprising Ray Donovan’s debut is being delayed for so long.

Hopefully, it will go to air ahead of True Blood’s sixth season, which is likely to make its HD debut on SoHo in mid-September.

Last year SoHo premiered season five as a weekend box set 10 days after it ended on Prime and probably will do the same with season six, which is due to finish its 10-week free-to-air run on September 6.

But it’s time Sky revised this strategy of giving Prime first dibs on one of its HBO flagships.

While the vampire drama may still rate as “HBO’s third-most-watched original scripted series, trailing only The Sopranos and Game of Thrones,” it’s no longer such a signature series for Prime.

This year the network dumped it on Friday nights, one of the week’s least-watched, and ratings have reflected this.

The premiere averaged only 1.1% of the channel’s target audience, adults 25-54, and dropped to 0.8% for its second week.

It started stronger with household shoppers  — 2.3% — but a week later averaged only 0.4% of this demographic.

If viewership continues to flat-line, there’s no justification for Prime to claim exclusivity, especially if SoHo’s subscribers are growing as reported.

Meanwhile, SoHo will resume The Newsroom on Sunday within a week of its HBO premiere.

The good news about this season is seems to be more grounded, according to US reviewers.

The Los Angeles Times dubbed it “immediately, and undeniably, easier to like” and New York Magazine thought it “definitely more measured and confident”.

Concurred the New York Times: “There are new faces this season, and two of the better additions aren’t even journalists.

“Most important, the narrative this time around is driven by an overarching story line–a libel suit–that pulls viewers past the rocks and eddies of liberal piety.

“This revamped version of The Newsroom is no less preachy, but it’s a lot more fun to watch.”

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