"Justified" Ratings Rant + Is Mags Bennett the Best Worst TV Mother Since Livia Soprano?

Categories: Cable TV

Written By

March 24th, 2011

In the wake of much twitter-based "weeping and gnashing of teeth" at the cancellation of the critically well-received but barely watched Lights Out, some fans are worried about Justified slipping down to a 0.7 national adults 18-49 rating.  I'm not too worried about Justified because even at a .7 its still a bit above FX's typical primetime live+SD (same day DVR) adults 18-49 average.  Shows like Terriers and Lights Out performed below FX's primetime average.

After hearing FX chief Jon Landgraf's comments about the Lights Out cancellation where he praised Justified as an unqualified cable success for hitting over two million adults 18-49, you might feel a bit more relieved if you were fretting. Sure, he might have used some Live+7 PR voodoo, but I won't hold that against him.

Last year I was mixed on Justified - I liked it well enough but it wasn't appointment viewing for me.  This year it's different story.  I've enjoyed even the lower-key episodes like last week's, which came after a very intense episode. Those wanting the intensity ratcheted up will not have to wait long.

My rant is this: I don't get why more people aren't watching Justified. And I don't mean it in the form of some of the dopey comments you'll see pop up from people about "how can XYZ show be so low-rated, while crap like American Idol and NCIS blah, blah, blah!" I don't think those shows are crap and I do understand why people like them. But I don't understand why more people aren't watching Justified.

I start to wonder things like whether FX's core strategy is any good at promoting its originals.  Its highest-rated "repeats" -- stuff like Two and a Half Men and the movies offer the right promotional opportunities compared to USA promoting its originals with repeats of NCIS, Law & Order: SVU and House? In most cases the people who are watching those shows are a good target to pitch Burn Notice and Royal Pains. But are Two and a Half Men repeats for Justified?

I've seen enough data to chalk the low ratings for Lights Out and Terriers up to people simply not wanting to watch those shows.  But I'm just not ready to go there with Justified yet -- for now, I'm putting that on FX's Jon Landgraf to sort out.

But enough about that.  How wonderful is the Mags Bennett character played by Margo Martindale? Pretty much, no matter how bad your mom is, Mags Bennett is worse.  Of course if you're Tony Soprano, you might be able to say "Now hold on a second, I think my mom is in the running."  Perhaps we'll have a "Most Awful TV Moms" poll on Mothers Day.

 

 
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