Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The GAME OF THRONES season premiere

Wow! The GAME OF THRONES season premiere Sunday night shattered records for HBO, drawing a staggering 10.1 million viewers and another 6 million via same day DVR playback and streaming. That obliterated broadcast network fare. Even I couldn’t help them on CNN. I was not included in THE NINETIES episode profiling Clinton (although I’m sure some of my commentary relating to THE SIMPSONS could have just been used out of context).

But what this record-breaking performance tells me is this:

For all the options viewers now have, if you offer a show people really want to watch you can still draw big numbers.

GAME OF THRONES did a lot better than TWIN PEAKS. Is TWIN PEAKS even still on?

GAME OF THRONES was not eligible for Emmys this year but next year look out.  No reason for HAWAII FIVE-O to even send out screeners. 

People, it seems, like watching a program with no commercials.  Who knew?

Those were just the first night numbers. Expect them to grow considerably over the week.

Broadcast networks will dismiss the numbers because it’s the summer. Sure. ABC’s TO TELL THE TRUTH would have made a huge dent if this were the fall.

ABC won the night among the Big Four but still had less than a third of GAME OF THRONE’S totals.

Broadcast networks used to claim that cable was no real competition. Remember that terrestrial radio when satellite, internet, and podcast programming swallows you whole.

Viewers still like opening titles.  Also, who knew? 

How’s NBC lookin' with that big Megyn Kelly deal? Her show drew a paltry 3.1 million. Forget GAME OF THRONES. CANDY CRUSH kicked her ass (and it was down from last week).

There will be two GAME OF THRONES-knock offs in development this year by the broadcast networks (or maybe four). Except they’ll say to the producers, “Can you keep the budget down to like a million an episode?” “What if they never left the castle?” “We need more little people on our shows!”

Imagine how much greater still GAME OF THRONES numbers would be if Steve Harvey was in it somehow.

And finally, I guess I should try again to watch GAME OF THRONES.

24 comments :

John in NE Ohio said...

Ken,

RE:opening titles

Yes, people in general like opening titles. I cannot think of a Netflix original that doesn't have them. Commercial networks just are trying to squeeze every minute of commercial in that they can.

Also, to echo a previous comment (maybe years ago by now), when you are binging a show, even a title song that is a great fit can get annoying. It might get stuck in your head from hearing it too much, or just grate at you after a while. When binging, I often skip the intro after the first episode - but that is my choice.

I am annoyed when it does it for me automatically. Sometimes, that also skips the "Previously on ..." which helps to refresh the memory, even if I just watched the reference.

Jim S said...

Ken,

The ratings of Game of Thrones was, what, 16 million? NCIS has now been on the air for 14 years and a new episode of that still gets 20 million in viewers.

NCIS may not get written up by Alan Sepinwall and other hip and happening social influencers, but it still gets the ratings. And to be fair it's a perfectly fine show, that I can watch or not and still enjoy. I don't have to have watched every episode for the last five years to understand what's going on.

But NCIS ratings are now outliers. A network show that gets 10 million viewers is now considered a huge success. A recently as 2000, that would be cancellation territory.

Stephen Marks said...

I bet half those 10 million only watched it because they didn't want to be that guy who "didn't see it!" If you're the guy who "never watches it" then you become the loser who lives in the woods just outside of town with shopping bags for suitcases.

"What? You don't watch Game of Thrones? You need to watch it, man"

"No I don't, man!"

I'm quite content reading "The Me Generation by Me" (now in paperback, just click to the right of today's post. Makes a great Christmas in July gift). I've never seen it, never even tried watching it and have no fucking idea what it's about. Sex and sandals or something. Yonder lies the castle of my fodder. Is Tony Curtis dead Ken?

I'd rather shave Ed Asner's back with Bea Arthur's razor then have to slog through 30 episodes of Game of Thrones, so if you need me I'll be living under a tarp surrounded by a bunch of rusty shopping carts and empty Libby's bean cans just outside of Niagara Falls.

Stoney said...

"Twin Peaks" has become "Game Of Groans"! Eight more episodes still to air.

Never mind G.O.T. knock-offs by the broadcast networks; somewhere there's an ABC exec trying to find the long-buried contact number for the "Galavant" folks.

McAlvie said...

I don't have HBO, but I do watch a lot of cable and PBS because, yes, NO COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTIONS. But really, it isn't the fact that there are commercials that makes broadcast tv annoying, it's the fact that there are so many of them. The commercial breaks are long and frequent. Network shows are not more like strings of commercials interrupted by plot lines. Who wants to put up with that? Of course viewers look elsewhere.

Latts said...

Re: "Twin Peaks"...it's still getting a ton of coverage in the trades each week, and die-hard fans are obsessing over each episode, scene, music cue, etc. It's definitely not for everyone (hence the lack of 10 million viewers watching it), but it's also unlike anything else on TV, and from this diehard TV nerd, I think that's a great thing.

Part 8, which aired a few weeks back, was rightfully heralded by critics and fans as one of the most astonishing hours of television. Seriously, it felt like a one-hour art film rather than an episode of TV.

Ken, even if you have no interest in watching any more of "Twin Peaks", you should try to check out Part 8 just to experience it. Regardless if you like Part 8 or not, I'll bet at the end of it you'll think you've never seen anything like that before, and really, that's not such a bad thing considering how much content there is out there these days.

Jai Wood said...

Friday question: As children growing up during the 'Golden Age of Cartoons', Saturday mornings were the highlight of the week for my siblings and myself. What cartoons did you enjoy (if any) as a youngster? (You seem like a Pop-eye guy to me!)

blinky said...

Best and longest legs of any open: Kimmy Schmidt. I could watch that on a loop all day.

RR said...

Speaking as a die hard fan who still rates the original "Twin Peaks" as one of the greatest TV shows, the new season (which I can't believe I could not wait to begin) is the biggest disappointment ever. It calls itself "Twin Peaks" but the original cast only get the occasional cameo usually by themselves and not interacting with anyone else. The whole new cast of characters are thoroughly unlikable: the men are violent and the women are shrews. The celebrity cameos are distracting. The show spends so little time in the town that it shouldn't even be called "Twin Peaks". And it moves at such a glacial pace that the 10 episodes shown so far contain about 4 episodes worth of story.

It is like Lynch decided to create a whole different show but had to use the name and include the original cameos to in order to get funding.

Jake said...

Stephen Marks : You are wrong..... Not half but almost 90 % don't give a shit but watch because they don't wanna be the odd one out.

I don't watch that shit. I have no idea what it is all about. I don't care.

Anonymous said...

"Twin Peaks"...Part 8...felt like a one-hour art film rather than an episode of TV.

Which is why I've thrown in the towel on "Twin Peaks." You say, "po-tah-to," I say, "po-tay-to." You say, "one-hour art film," I say, "pretentious bullshit that bored the living fuck out of me."

Cap'n Bob said...

BFD. Judge Judy gets 10 million viewers and it only costs $1.98 per episode.

D. McEwan said...

I was a huge fan of the original Twin Peaks, and have the whole series on Blu-War. I rewatched the whole series, and the movie, just prior to the return beginning, still loving it, and added Showtime to my line-up just to see it.

It will go down in my books as the most massive disappointment of 2017. I waited a quarter of century for this incoherent mess? And episode 8, the "one-hour art film," was the most self-indulgent, meaning-free hour of visual gibberish I've ever sat through.

To me, folks praising Twin Peaks: The Return sound a hell of lot like the folks praising the naked emperor's new outfit. It's a mess. If I'm Dying Up Here hadn't turned out to be on Showtime as well, I'd have already cancelled Showtime again.

But Game of Thrones delivers. How awful that there's not even half as many episodes of it this year while Twin Peaks continues its endless, story-free, self-indulgent way for over twice as many episodes.d

Tom Asher said...

Friday Question:

Your personal DJ Mount Rushmore? Mine would be The Real Don Steele, Dan Ingram, George Michael, and Terry Young (all but Young were discovered via airchecks)

BB Birdie said...

I'm loving the new season of Twin Peaks!! It's challenging and unpredictable and at its best, very entertaining. And it's a helluva lot of fun seeing people get so unbelievably pissed off about it, with the "It's such pretentious bullshit" and "It's so boring" comments, etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm not enjoying this version of Twin peaks, but I think it's so easy (and false) to call it pretentious just because someone doesn't like it or because someone probably doesn't have the patience (thanks to binge-watching invading our TV viewing habits) to watch a complex narrative unfold over the course of several weeks.

And I agree about the show's 8th episode/part/whatever...it is something to behold. Simply on a visual and aural level. I left it not liking it too much, but based on the response from social media and critics it was very much well-liked by a lot of people. Maybe calling it an art house film is what's pretentious here (no offense original commenter, really) but it is certainly different from so much of the crap that's on TV or streaming. That alone is worth watching it.

But regardless, I think anything on TV that gets people to think and analyze, even if they hate it, is pretty impressive. Twin Peaks is doing that once again, 25 years later.

Fred Nerk said...

'Cap'n Bob said - $1.98 per episode',
Include $180000 plus for Judge Judy's 'work' on each of the 260ish episodes per year, while the guy who stands next to her doing nothing much gets around $4000 per episode.

D. McEwan said...

So, BB, you really admire the tailoring on the naked emperor's new clothes.

Diane D said...

That was some of the most hilarious snark you've ever written, and your readers were apparently very inspired---trying to outdo you and each other with even more vitriol! I agree with BB Birdie, it was a helluva lot of fun seeing how pissed off people were! I've never seen either show and won't because as S. Marks said, "I'd rather shave Ed Asner's back with Bea Arthur's razor than slog through 30 episodes" of either show to get caught up! So funny!

Charles H Bryan said...

I watched Got because I've already watched all the previous episodes and I'll see it through. It's well produced, despite being 'typical HBO' (boobs and blood) pop drama. I suppose tgere's a subtext about being power hungry, but I can watch the news for that. I doubt that I'll rewatch much, if any of it.

TWIN PEAKS, on the other hand, successfully feeds my hunger for weird. I fully understand and somewhat agree with many of the criticisms, but I'm interested to see what Lynch will put on the screen. Also, it's a good creep out to me, and I usually find creep outs stupid. I wouldn't evangelize for it, but I'll see it through.

YEKIMI said...

@ McAlvie. PBS has no commercial interruptions? HA! What do you call those breaks during their Doo-Wop, Oldies or other musical or specials they have? You can call them a "pledge drive", I'll call them fucking commercials. I actually timed their breaks once and the breaks were on a longer total time then the damn show! Forget them, I went back to watching ME TV.

Stuart said...

I disagree with the commenters who think people are watching GoT just so they can say they watch it. I know a lot of people who watch it, for some of whom it falls waaay outside their normal genre. They love it, they discuss it, they can't WAIT to see what happens next.

I do know a fair number of people who tried it, and didn't like it. Couldn't get thru the sexposition of the premier, or were too confused and didn't want to work thru the heavy plot. And I understand that, it's not for everyone. But I don't know one single person who hate watches, or watches "to be cool".

There are a lot of people who hate the series without having seen a single episode, so they have no idea how strong the pull is of a very addictive, well-made TV show. Breaking Bad, Sopranos, The Wire and more. And now Game of Thrones.

Jeff :) said...

Power through the first season Ken, it gets a lot better after that. The first season was finding it's footing and the budget wasn't nearly what it is now. Also it was a lot of set up for things to come. The show is must watch TV now.

D. McEwan said...

Stuart, you are right. I watch Game Of Thrones, bought the first six seasons on DVD and have rewatched all of their episodes several times each. (It's so rich, there are always new things to pick up on), I bought the big, fat volume The World of Ice & Fire, which details the history of its fictional world going back thousands of years (Which makes the series clearer and easier to follow, as it is constantly riffing off of events that occurred hundreds of years before.) I do it for one reason only; I love it. It has all the pleasures only an enormous novel, or series of novels, can usually bring; the complexity of a huge saga. It has compelling characters, a rich storyline, and it's very good at surprising me. If I die before the end of season 8 is broadcast and never learn how it ends, I'm really going to be pissed.