When Sue Naegle first took over the helm at HBO I wrote some post about her already being on shaky ground. Mostly what got me there was reading about True Blood. It was at a time CBS’ Moonlight was on the bubble (indeed, a few weeks later the bubble would burst for the CBS show). I didn’t view vampires as a ratings winner and thought it was pretty silly. But not being in the proximity of any teenage girls, I was unaware of the phenomenon that was Twilight and how all of that would play out.
Months later when I wrote HBO: True Bloody Mess before season one of True Blood kicked off, I still don’t think I’d ever heard of Twilight!
It turns out I was hugely wrong. The strategy around True Blood was well-crafted and definitely paying off big for HBO which coupled an extremely successful DVD launch (over 850K units and $30 million in revenue in its first three weeks of release) with the on-air launch of season two of True Blood that had viewing increases of 157% over season one. We’re results oriented, and those are great results.
My hat is off to Sue Naegle. I’ll take a lot of ongoing ribbing for predicting Dollhouse would be canceled. But the truth is, the predictions regarding HBO and True Blood were much, much farther off the mark. I mean sure, Dollhouse was renewed, but its numbers sucked. I thought True Blood’s numbers would suck, but they did not. And though I haven’t seen the demo numbers for True Blood’s airing on Sunday, it was the first time in the history of this web site that an HBO show placed in the weekly cable top 20.
The last time that happened was for the week ending June 10, 2007 when the finale of The Sopranos was the week’s number one show. In fact, since September 2007 when we launched this site, this is the first instance of a premium cable show making the weekly cable top forty, let alone the top 20.