Headline Planet-The season finale lure was non-existent for HBO’s “Ballers” and “The Brink” this week. Both shows sank to series lows in total viewership.
Airing out of the abysmally-rated “Show Me a Hero,” “Ballers” posted a 0.71 adults 18-49 rating with 1.395 million total viewers. “The Brink” followed with a 0.36 and 872,000 total viewers.
All such numbers were down from those posted last week. The penultimate first season “Ballers” episode drew a 0.77 with 1.569 million total viewers; last week’s “The Brink” managed a 0.40 with 935,000.
By building greatly on last week’s “Show Me a Hero” lead-in, the comedy hour proved that it was capable of drawing an independent audience — it was not reliant upon the support it had been previously receiving from “True Detective.”
As a result, this week’s poor lead-in support does not necessarily excuse the series low viewership performances.
Both shows, nonetheless, are confirmed for second seasons.
It’s not entirely surprising but still somewhat disappointing news that HBO’s Sunday lineup this summer struggled to get the huge ratings that a lot of people expected them to. The ratings do give us a couple of interesting takeaways though:
-True Detective worked way better as a lead-in for the comedy hour than Show Me A Hero does. So while True Detective Season 2 might have been disappointing as far as the quality of the show, it still was able to get eyeballs. That isn’t really that surprising: while almost everyone I know thought this season paled in comparison to Season 1, very few people I know actually stopped watching once they were committed. I think Pizzolatto will be able to give us something good Season 3 if he’s willing to maybe listen to other people instead of do the whole thing himself.
-I’ve watched the first 2 hours of Show Me A Hero and am planning on watching the 3rd and 4th either today or tomorrow. It’s good, dramatic and well-acted (I think Oscar Issac is going to be the next Hollywood superstar once Star Wars drops. He has crazy range is incredibly talented), but it sort of screams vanity project on behalf of David Simon instead of something that will draw in a ton of viewers. I mean how many people are engrossed by the intricacies of local government of a mayor’s psychological breakdown? I enjoy it a lot though, and if a 6-hour miniseries is what it takes to keep David Simon happy with HBO and keep making shows like The Wire and Generation Kill, it’s a good investment.
-It doesn’t surprise me that Ballers isn’t getting the mass appeal that some people thought it would. Most of us expected Sports Entourage, just a funny, engaging show with a Hip Hop twist and a bunch of cool cameos. The problem is all of the characters are pretty flat compared to the big personalities of Entourage. They don’t have an Ari Gold, or Drama, or even fucking Turtle to keep us actually caring about what happens to any of the characters. The only character I care about is Reggie, and that’s only because I hate him so much. The show all in all is a good way to waste time if you don’t feel like watching something on Netflix. Maybe HBO is keeping it around a 2nd season because with the HBO Now launch, they can get lower-income audiences who can’t afford cable into HBO, and those type of audiences will like a show with girls partying and Dwayne Johnson starring in it, but other than that I can’t really think of a reason they’d give it a 3rd season after next year if ratings don’t drastically improve. No point in having a Pop Hit if it isn’t a hit.
-The Brink was the most underrated show of the entire year. I found it smart, funny, and engaging. Tim Robbins stole the show, Jack Black and Aasif Mandvi had great on-screen chemistry, and I even liked the storyline of ZPack and Jammer. I think a lot of critics didn’t give it the respect it deserved because when they heard it was going to be an International Affairs satire, they were expecting a super high-brow comedy that guys who read things like The New Yorker and Harvard Lampoon would love instead of an off-the-wall show with lots of drugs and fucking, but for normal people, I thought it was great. Don’t get why more people aren’t watching.