Tune In: Original Cable Programming
No. of subscribers: 29 million
Network topper: Chris Albrecht
Programming toppers: Carolyn Strauss, Sheila Nevins, Colin Callender
Top originals: The Sopranos, Entourage, Big Love, The Wire, Real Time With Bill Maher, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Upcoming originals: John From Cincinnati (series), Flight of the Conchords (series), Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (movie), The Trials of Darryl Hunt (doc), As You Like It (movie), P.U. 239 (movie), Five Days (miniseries)
The skinny: HBO’s signature series, “The Sopranos,” returns for its last hurrah. Numbers remained flat from the previous season (14 million, including rebroadcasts and On Demand) but with On Demand reaching new heights, there’s more total viewers tuning in. Buzzworthy “Entourage” gets the benefit of a “Sopranos” lead-in for the second half of season three, as the two launch as a pair this Sunday. Critics rightfully fawned over “The Wire,” which saw its numbers go up; “Big Love” should make its season two debut in summer; and “Deadwood,” which ended its run — minus two upcoming telepics — amid a PR firestorm. Only misfires were “Lucky Louie,” which seemed out of place among the cabler’s high-caliber skeins, and Dane Cook’s “Tourgasm,” which had a hard time capitalizing on the comedian’s popularity.