Low ratings inspire show shift
After subpar showings on Monday, HBO is moving the final season of “Six Feet Under” to back Sundays at 9 p.m.
Three episodes in, the fifth and final season of “Six Feet” has drawn an average aud of 2.2 million for its Monday airings — that’s down 40% from the fourth season, which also launched in June.
News is less gloomy when repeat airings are factored in. Skein delivers 4.6 million viewers per week, off just 19% from last year’s 5.7 million. Because HBO (in addition to other pay cablers) is not ad-supported and subs are offered several opportunities to view a particular episode, execs pay more attention to a program’s cumulative weekly tally than that of its premiere showing.
HBO decided to change its Sunday night strategy earlier this year (Daily Variety, Feb. 25), relocating the mortuary drama to Mondays — a move that would have opened up a second night of original programming for the first time on the paybox.
It also would have given HBO a potential home for shows it didn’t want to put up against ABC Sunday night behemoth “Desperate Housewives.” Cabler’s upcoming drama “Rome” has always been slated to air Sunday nights.
Current Sunday-at-9 comedies “Entourage” and “The Comeback” now will shift to the 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. timeslots, respectively. “Entourage” also stumbled this season, averaging nearly 1.4 million viewers (down from first season’s 1.9 million). “The Comeback,” meanwhile, was largely panned by critics and currently averages 1.1 million viewers.