You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Six Feet Under’ now half-hour ahead

Ratings plummet on new HBO series

HBO’s highly touted new series “Six Feet Under” plummeted in the ratings by a dizzying 30% from Sunday, June 3, its premiere week, to June 10, causing the network to engineer a lightning-quick time-period shift.

Instead of running behind the weaker “Arliss” half-hour, now in its sixth season on HBO, the hourlong “Six Feet” will move up from 10 to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday so that its lead-in is “Sex and the City,” which has gotten off to the best Nielsen start in its history. “Arliss,” formerly in the 9:30 slot, will somersault back to 10:30.

“HBO looks on ‘Arliss’ as a utility player,” says Michael Tollin, one of the executive producers of “Arliss” and a co-creator of the show with Brian Robbins. “We have a core audience that always finds ‘Arliss’ no matter where HBO puts it.”

Femme intuition

HBO’s rationale for flip-flopping the two shows is that “Sex and the City” harvests a massive audience of women, many of whom couldn’t care less about the male-appeal “Arliss,” which deals with a sports agent who constantly bends the rules to get lucrative deals for the athletes he represents.

By contrast, “Six Feet Under,” written and co-exec produced by Alan Ball (who won an Oscar for his original screenplay of “American Beauty”), has a number of strong female characters, which should give the show a better rating among women than “Arliss.” “Six Feet” is a black comedy about a dysfunctional family that owns a funeral parlor.

HBO moved fast — so fast that TV Guide and most Sunday TV supplements won’t reflect the lineup change — when it saw the June 10 ratings. At 9, “Sex and the City” averaged a humongous 11.2 rating in HBO homes. “Arliss” at 9:30 failed to take advantage of the lead-in, falling to an 8.0 rating. “Six Feet” at 10 managed only a 7.8 rating, a severe drop from the 11.2 rating it had chalked up on June 3, behind a special two-episode premiere of “Sex and the City.”

Tollin says his hope is that “Six Feet” will hold on to the “Sex & the City” ratings so that when “Arliss” kicks in at 10:30 it’ll deliver better numbers than at 9:30 because “Six Feet” will average more male viewers than “Sex & the City.”

Including the June 17 episode, “Arliss” will feature original episodes for the next nine weeks.

More TV

  • The Bachelor - ÒEpisode 2202Ó Ð

    'The Bachelor' Women, Arie Luyendyk Jr. Talk 'Women Tell All' and Next 'Bachelorette'

    HBO’s highly touted new series “Six Feet Under” plummeted in the ratings by a dizzying 30% from Sunday, June 3, its premiere week, to June 10, causing the network to engineer a lightning-quick time-period shift. Instead of running behind the weaker “Arliss” half-hour, now in its sixth season on HBO, the hourlong “Six Feet” will […]

  • MBC Preps South Korean Version of

    South Korea’s MBC Greenlights Local Version of Idris Elba Cop Series ‘Luther’

    HBO’s highly touted new series “Six Feet Under” plummeted in the ratings by a dizzying 30% from Sunday, June 3, its premiere week, to June 10, causing the network to engineer a lightning-quick time-period shift. Instead of running behind the weaker “Arliss” half-hour, now in its sixth season on HBO, the hourlong “Six Feet” will […]

  • James Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch

    Fox Offers to Increase Sky News Commitment to Satisfy British Competition Watchdog

    HBO’s highly touted new series “Six Feet Under” plummeted in the ratings by a dizzying 30% from Sunday, June 3, its premiere week, to June 10, causing the network to engineer a lightning-quick time-period shift. Instead of running behind the weaker “Arliss” half-hour, now in its sixth season on HBO, the hourlong “Six Feet” will […]

  • Ricky Gervais The Office.jpg

    BBC Worldwide Sets Up 'The Office' in India

    HBO’s highly touted new series “Six Feet Under” plummeted in the ratings by a dizzying 30% from Sunday, June 3, its premiere week, to June 10, causing the network to engineer a lightning-quick time-period shift. Instead of running behind the weaker “Arliss” half-hour, now in its sixth season on HBO, the hourlong “Six Feet” will […]

  • Berlin Facetime: Actor Volker Bruch of

    Actor Volker Bruch on 'Babylon Berlin,' His Biggest Challenge as an Actor

    HBO’s highly touted new series “Six Feet Under” plummeted in the ratings by a dizzying 30% from Sunday, June 3, its premiere week, to June 10, causing the network to engineer a lightning-quick time-period shift. Instead of running behind the weaker “Arliss” half-hour, now in its sixth season on HBO, the hourlong “Six Feet” will […]

  • First Look: 'Das Boot' Setting Sail

    First Look: 'Das Boot' Series Setting Sail

    HBO’s highly touted new series “Six Feet Under” plummeted in the ratings by a dizzying 30% from Sunday, June 3, its premiere week, to June 10, causing the network to engineer a lightning-quick time-period shift. Instead of running behind the weaker “Arliss” half-hour, now in its sixth season on HBO, the hourlong “Six Feet” will […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content