Sunday, June 21, 2009

HBO, viewers happy to see more 'Blood'

No wonder we are such a bloodthirsty Nation, we are selling violence to our kids, wrapping it all up in attractive packages with the promice of success (kids emulate) and we are cramming it down their throats, on TV, in their video games, their music, their dress, their "cool-to-be" Gangsta' attitudes. Its love of sex & violence, money and drugs we are instilling in them,...and we are reaping the price of it all everyday in America when we turn on the news and hear all the violent acts carried out by our mad angry violent youth of today..

...June 18, 2009

By Joe Flint Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD - HBO's sultry vampire drama "True Blood" has become a surprise hit for the pay cable network and almost single-handedly has put the network back in the cultural zeitgeist discussion.

The second-year show, which premiered Sunday to numbers the network hasn't seen since the last days of its mob drama "The Sopranos," is also on track to become HBO's next cash cow.

For Time Warner's HBO, it couldn't come at a more opportune time. There has been a perception that the network has been in a creative funk since "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" ended their runs. Although the comedies "Entourage" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" have loyal audiences, neither has broken through the way "True Blood" appears poised to do.

At the same time, rival Showtime has seen its fortunes rise with risk-taking shows such as "Weeds," "Californication," "Dexter" and, most recently, "Nurse Jackie." Basic cable networks including FX with "Rescue Me," AMC with "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" and TNT with "The Closer" also have invaded HBO's turf with stronger programming. HBO always has been a financial success - people close to the channel say it generates roughly $1.4 billion in annual profit - but it also relishes its role as a critical darling. The emergence of "True Blood" as a hit and the strong buzz for the network's upcoming comedy "Hung," about a teacher who decides to become a male escort, might get HBO its cool crown back.

DVD sales for the first season of "True Blood," which went on sale a few weeks ago, have generated north of $30 million in sales, according to industry research company The Numbers. "True Blood" also has become one of the top iTune downloads.

Because HBO produces and owns "True Blood," most of that money will flow back to the cable network. At a time when the rerun market is drying up for broadcast shows, HBO has become successful selling its shows there as well, although the racy content of "True Blood" might require severe editing even for basic cable.

"True Blood" isn't cheap to make. Although a typical drama on broadcast television may cost north of $2 million an episode, HBO's dramas cost as much as $4 million an episode. When it premiered last year, "True Blood" drew only 1.4 million viewers and looked like it would join "John From Cincinnati" and "Tell Me You Love Me" as another quirky flop for the network. As the season wore on, however, the popularity grew. Sunday's premiere drew 3.7 million viewers, the highest number for an HBO show since the finale of "The Sopranos."

HBO reran the episode later that night, drawing a total viewership of more than 5 million. Those numbers are even more impressive considering that "True Blood" did not have a powerful show leading into its telecast and went up against ABC's coverage of the National Basketball Association Finals.

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