Showtime may not have blown anyone away with “Huff,” but entertainment topper Robert Greenblatt is ready and reloaded for round two.
And with regards to the complex drama — about a psychiatrist suffering a midlife crisis, bafflingly marketed with a naked photo of star Hank Azaria — Greenblatt says the reported 456,000 viewers is not representative of how many people actually saw the episode.
“The premiere is just one measure and not a complete one, by any means,” he says.
Showtime distributed DVDs of the pilot in 850,000 copies of Entertainment Weekly and offers an In Demand service to 3.5 million of its customers that is not accounted for by Nielsen. In addition, “Huff” aired multiple times during the week.
“We know there is a lot of competition, so we train our viewers to understand there are plenty of opportunities for them to see the show. This, of course, hurts the premiere viewing number,” he says. “None of us are saying the sky is falling.”
Still, Showtime’s next batch of projects seems a quicker sell.
After the February return of top-rated sudser “The L Word,” cabler will premiere “Fat Actress,” starring tabloid fixture Kirstie Alley as a fictional version of herself, a la “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” That show bows in March and has already landed the cabler a cover story in People magazine; if newsstand sales are any indication, Showtime looks to get a strong sampling for the six-episode series.
After that, Showtime will roll out the update of musical satire “Reefer Madness,” starring Alan Cumming and Neve Campbell; “Our Fathers,” a movie about pedophilia in the church; and Spike Lee’s movie about San Francisco gangs, “Sucker Free City.”
Greenblatt’s also about to make some pretty tough decisions about the six-pilots — three dramas, three comedies — he ordered earlier this year. Among the major-league stars featured in the projects are Mary Louise Parker, Marcia Gay Harden, Eddie Griffin and Jason Isaacs.