HBO ends syndie runs of two laffers

'Curb,' 'Entourage' won't air on non-cable stations anymore

Due to low ratings, HBO is pulling the syndie runs of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Entourage” from non-cable stations around the country.

The pay cabler decided to exercise its option and yank off the series after the first of two cycles. Both shows were part of barter deals, so because the shows weren’t working, HBO wasn’t making any money.

“Curb” will remain on TV Guide Network and “Entourage” on Spike TV, though both of those channels aren’t getting the ratings returns they had hoped for either.

Timing is interesting in that HBO recently launched its digital service HBO Go, where consumers can watch entire series both on their home computers or on a tablet such as the iPad. With more than a million downloads for HBO Go, the desire to watch the network’s series in syndication may be falling.

That wasn’t always the case, however. “Sex and the City” has been a steady syndie performer, and HBO made millions when it sold “The Sopranos” to A&E.

Insiders say the disappointing results for “Curb” and “Entourage” may have to do with the fact that both are serialized laffers, and serialized dramas have certainly struggled in syndication. Viewers don’t normally tune in every day, and when they do, they are often lost in the storyline.

In other HBO news, the pay cabler ordered a third season of “Treme,” David Simon’s New Orleans-set drama. Ratings for season two have averaged below 600,000 viewers per episode, but Simon’s series — “The Wire” and “Generation Kill” — have never attracted a big audience.

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