FX's Landgraf: Critics Took 'Mad Men' from "Dismal Ratings Failure to Ratings Mediocrity"

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January 15th, 2011

Not much new for FX's portion of the winter press tour, by far the best soundbite from FX president John Landgraf involved ratings. Landgraf noted that the gulf between critical acclaim and actual ratings isn't new to him.  He told the critics that basically they can move the needle on ratings, but basically said that only happened when the critics were shouting from the mountain tops in unison. Landgraf said the critics don't usually agree and aren't usually motivated to stand on top of the table and shout 'This is the greatest show of all time!'

He pointed out that when they were in unison and shouting from the table tops they did make a difference, but if that was a compliment it seemed a bit backhanded.

'You did it on 'Mad Men' -- it has become by our analysis literally the most critically acclaimed series in the history of television. [You moved it] from a dismal ratings failure to ratings mediocrity," Landgraf said.

Landgraf admitted FX was disappointed with the premiere numbers for 'Lights Out,' but said they would run it as planned and that he didn't really know what to expect for the remainder of its run since sometimes shows don't premiere so well, but then gain users over time (e.g. 'Sons Of Anarchy).  "Premieres are very important but shows can also find audiences over time. We'll just have to see," Landgraf said.  Landgraf pointed to competition from 'Teen Mom' and the historic numbers for the return of 'The Game." Landgraf also cited more competition than ever, with 52 original shows returning or launching between January-March

 
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