Sopranos Season 4 premiere: how hard will it hurt broadcast television?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Francois Caron, Sep 5, 2002.

  1. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    I was thinking about this all summer long. Just how big an impact will this single show, only available on a premium service channel, will have on commercial broadcast stations. Does Nielsen even bother to measure the ratings of a subscriber-supported station? And if so, just how much of an audience will The Sopranos draw away from the major broadcasters?

    I feel sorry for any of the shows that have to share the same time slot...
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Anywhere from 3-7 million cable subscribers.
     
  3. Jason Quillen

    Jason Quillen Supporting Actor

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  4. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    Once the fall season kicks in, I'll probably start taping Sopranos during one of the numerous re-showings. I believe they will re-show it at midnight on one of the other HBO channels. That is what I did last spring when Six Feet Under was up against X-Files and Alias.
    I only have two cable boxes and two Replay Tv's, so two shows at a time is my limit. [​IMG]
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Angel just took the X-Files spot for me this season. I will also tape Alias and The Sopranos (Yep, I have 3 VCRs).
     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    I read somewhere that something like 70% of American viewers never saw the Sopranos. I don't think a premium cable show, however successful, can be such a severe competitor against the networks- nor is it meant to be.
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Free TV beats pay TV in ratings. IIRC, the premiere Season 3 episode garnered The Sopranos around 4.4 million viewers (which is great for a premium cable channel), but not too great for a broadcast channel.
     
  8. Jeff Savage

    Jeff Savage Second Unit

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    I have cable but not HBO so I have never seen the show.

    Laters,
     
  9. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    I just read something about how the ratings for The Sopranos that everyone talks about are actually the total ratings for all HBO channels in that time period. And the simple fact that it is a premium channel means that many people don't see it.

    It's just like coverage of shark attacks and abductions: not a big a deal as we are led to believe.

    //Ken
     
  10. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    The premium channel subscriber base may be small when compared to free TV, but the precedent of adult-themed Sunday night television has had the broadcast networks scrambling for alternative programming.
    I remember reading somewhere that NBC (?) was trying to come up with programming that could compete with TV-MA entertainment like THE SOPRANOS and BAND OF BROTHERS. They were complaining that the playing field was not level since they had to conform to broadcast standards and practices. Well, duh.
    And even though THE SOPRANOS is being promoted to increase HBO's subscriber base, HBO is still making money on the videos. So even if the ratings don't compare to broadcast television, HBO still wins.
    Can't wait for the 15th! My HDTV has missed Tony and family! [​IMG]
    - Steve
     
  11. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    I think CBS' Falcone had like triple the ratings of The Sopranos... but that wasn't enough to make it a profitable show for the network and was thus cancelled.

    The West Wing is an example of a show with decent ratings, critical acclaim, but that provides no income (I think a loss actually) for NBC (not the production company; just the peacock).
     
  12. charles white

    charles white Second Unit

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    While the ratings for the Sopranos may be small in comparision to network television, don't think that the networks have not taken notice of the phenomenon. There is a widely told story that the developer of the story(whose name escapes at the moment) was offered several millions of dollars to move from HBO to either CBS or ABC only if he would tone down the violence, sex and other bad things which makes the show great for network(free) TV. He refused and got a considerable boost from HBO to keep it there.
     

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