Initial ratings drop slightly, totals unchanged
By Hear Me Roar on in News.

Episode 17 of Game of Thrones was seen by 3.7 million people during the initial broadcast on Sunday.  It still tops the list of all cable shows for the evening by a comfortable margin, TV by the Numbers reports. The viewers did not go away though, since the repeat at 11 p.m. was seen by a full million, taking the total to 4.7 million, same as in the past weeks.

Hear Me Roar: No upward momentum, then, the ratings remain flat on average. Too bad. I guess we are already at a stage where additional viewers can be gained only between seasons. Still, I expect more of the audience to tune in early for the final episode(s).


208 Comments

  1. iLikeAxes
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    !

  2. Andrija Andrew P
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Not to worry, flat is ok in my book considering all the bias your regular viewer has about fantasy shows, getting the said viewer hooked is a choir (even when talking about awesome programs like GoT)…
    We’ve broken that barrier (more or less, but there is still room for improvement), now if we were only taken seriously at the Emmy awards…

  3. julandro
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    I will not be an alarmist, but I think that is a bad news

  4. Knurk
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I’m just going to quote this annoying commenter from last week:

    Carey Tran: Disbelieve all you want. I correctly predicted that Episode 5 would see a sizable jump after Episode 4′s ending, then I correctly predicted that Episode 6 would see a slight drop because Episode 5 was slow. And the number of viewers for the initial airing at 9PM does indicate the level of eagerness for the episode.

    I am going to predict that Episode 7 will see another jump, at the very least to 3.95 million. Will you two come back to this thread to eat crow if I am right?

  5. TastesLikeTheSea
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I will provide you guys with a few excuses:
    -Survivor Finale
    -The Apprentice Finale
    -Game 7 Clippers/Grizzlies
    -Mother’s Day

  6. ASOIAF Fan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I’m not worrying but i must say that i was hoping for an upward trend starting with this episode until the end of the season.
    The important thing is not to loose people during seasons so that the new viewers coming between seasons really are adding to the viewership instead of just patching the holes left by fleeing cowards.

  7. Demanufacture
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Bloody hell, yankees, turn on your tv and the show!!

  8. OldGran
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    In the USA it was Mother’s Day and a lot of families were involved with that celebration. Not surprised that the first showing droped a little and picked up on the later showing.

  9. julandro
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    In the first episode had 3.9 million viewers. Has declined about 200,000 viewers? :(

  10. Jaime Lannister
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    julandro,

    200,000 people were just pissed they didn’t cast Reek. No big deal.

  11. Josh
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Haha I can’t wait to see people freak out and get ready for the show to end.

    It’s a critical show, still an incredibly buzzed about show about of the season and gets greating ratings but fans will still find a way to freak even though HBO has said they are thrilled with the ratings.

  12. Alexander Dubrovsky
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    It’s all because the Reeds were not cast and Renly didn’t eat a peach. Damn you, D&D, for ruining the show!

    Many shows would kill for this kind of ratings behavior, including several on HBO. Just look at Boardwalk Empire ratings for both seasons …

  13. Marlo
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Not that these numbers mean much either way, but the margin of error is roughly +/- 150,000. The number of viewers might not have even dropped.

  14. Adam B.
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    A possible reason for the ratings drop, aside from Mother’s Day/show finales/sports games is because the show is getting farther and farther away from the books. For every 1 step they take away from the books, they have to take another 5 to get back to them. There was barely 3 minutes worth of show in episode 6 that was along the plot line of the books.

    Don’t get me wrong, the show is still worth watching, but I no longer consider it “based” off the books. It is an entirely different fantasy show that is eerily similar to GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Like a really well made Chinese rip off…

  15. val
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it matters that much, considering that overall the amount of viewers hasn’t changed. I’m no expert on how this works, but it seems that for premium cable it wouldn’t be too important if people caught the 9 o’clock or the 11 o’clock show, no one’s really stopped watching or canceled a subscription. Plus Mother’s Day at least must have factored in (and whatever else was going on in the US). Not worried just yet

  16. Morgan King
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Holding steady at 4.7 million viewers is fantastic – there’s only so many people with HBO , after all. If HBO wanted that number higher, they have plenty of options down the road for making the show more available if they ever need to – they are clearly happy to have the other 2.5 million viewers who are torrenters talking about it and buying T-shirts for now.

  17. Pau Soriano
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Marlo:
    Not that these numbers mean much either way, but the margin of error is roughly +/- 150,000.The number of viewers might not have even dropped.

    This

    and

    Knurk:
    I’m just going to quote this annoying commenter from last week:

    Haha holding a grudge like this for over a week can’t be good for ur health man ;)

  18. Nomi Sum
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Adam B.:
    Don’t get me wrong, the show is still worth watching, but I no longer consider it “based” off the books. It is an entirely different fantasy show that is eerily similar to GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Like a really well made Chinese rip off…

    omg the purists hit again. i’ve never seen a show so true on the relying book. there have to be changes for the sake of the different medium. an adaption is an adaption is an adaption.

  19. Adam Whitehead
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Adam B.,

    Considering the episode was watched by more people in the USA alone than have ever bought a SoIaF novel worldwide…no. Just no.

  20. Alexander Dubrovsky
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Adam B.:
    A possible reason for the ratings drop, aside from Mother’s Day/show finales/sports games is because the show is getting farther and farther away from the books. For every 1 step they take away from the books, they have to take another 5 to get back to them. There was barely 3 minutes worth of show in episode 6 that was along the plot line of the books.

    Don’t get me wrong, the show is still worth watching, but I no longer consider it “based” off the books. It is an entirely different fantasy show that is eerily similar to GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Like a really well made Chinese rip off…

    I don’t know the exact numbers, but I think that the majority of the viewers have not read the books and all they know about the story is what they see on the show. Majority of bookreaders like the show.
    It’s just a show that you can’t start watching from some random episode in the middle. It has bagillion characters, complicated story and it’s based in a fantasy world. Frankly, it is a show best watched from DVD set and not on weekly basis.

  21. The Kingslayer
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Surprising, I expected a slight increase after Renly’s demise.

  22. brand monahan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Season 1 ratings jumped for episode 8. There was also a drop from 2.4 to 2.3 for episode six and seven. Then the ratings climbed episode 8 2.7 episode 9 2.85 episode 10 3.0. I expect a jump this season but not to that extent. Maybe 4.1 for the season finale is a realistic number. And for everyone who said the ratings dropped They didn’t!!! This isn’t the type of show you watch at your moms house. I didn’t get home in time to watch the initial showing. Which im sure was the case with alot of fans.Which is why the encore showing increased. By 200k.

  23. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    ASOIAF Fan:
    I’m not worrying but i must say that i was hoping for an upward trend starting with this episode until the end of the season.

    I was, as well. It’s a tough show to add people to, but aside from the usual finale bump (and possibly an ep 9 bump as I think a lot of book reading might want to try to watch that one live), it looks like a bit below 4million is the show’s initial viewership this year.

    Of course, that number doesn’t mean as much to HBO, but we’ve gotten only a few snippets of total viewership numbers. Do they do DVR+7 for cable shows?

  24. Addam Rivers
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I don’t mind the changes. The scenes between Tywin and Arya are brilliant.

  25. Flow101
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    The Kingslayer:
    Surprising, I expected a slight increase after Renly’s demise.

    I was totally expecting the opposite, I haven’t read the books and I really liked Renly. He was definitely one of the best characters in the series, and they just killed him like that, I felt cheated.

    But the ratings average is still there so it’s all still good. As long as GoT is keeping the ratings that it have, then HBO will ensure future seasons!

  26. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Marlo:
    Not that these numbers mean much either way, but the margin of error is roughly +/- 150,000.The number of viewers might not have even dropped.

    The margin of error is significantly higher than that from what I’ve seen. But maybe you have a better number — do you have a link?

  27. Adam Wing
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    It’s nothing to worry about I think. This is the kind of show that you can’t just jump into so getting new viewers mid season is difficult. Watch DVD sales for season two and THEN let’s see how the ratings are next year.

  28. Varamyr Fourskins
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    True story: My mom is a huge fan of GoT, and watches it every week (she started reading the books when they first came out, and actually got me into them). She watched it last week as well, but almost went to see a movie for Mother’s Day instead (she ultimately decided to put off the movie for another day and watch Thrones, but as I said before, she’s a HUGE fan. So, if she’d even consider missing GoT for a movie, I can only imagine how many fans actually did just that).

    That’s my best guess anyway. Because, if anything, I would’ve thought the strength of ep6 would’ve moved the numbers in the opposite direction. Oh well. What can you do. It’s not like HBO is going to cancel their hottest show (because even if the numbers are down, GoT gets far more play in the world of pop culture than Boardwalk Empire or True Blood or any of HBO’s other shows).

  29. HugeFloppyGut
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    TastesLikeTheSea:
    I will provide you guys with a few excuses:
    -Survivor Finale
    -The Apprentice Finale
    -Game 7 Clippers/Grizzlies
    -Mother’s Day

    Also Rangers/Devils confrence finals..lots of people in the New York area watching that

  30. Ross
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Adam B.: A possible reason for the ratings drop, aside from Mother’s Day/show finales/sports games is because the show is getting farther and farther away from the books. For every 1 step they take away from the books, they have to take another 5 to get back to them. There was barely 3 minutes worth of show in episode 6 that was along the plot line of the books.
    Don’t get me wrong, the show is still worth watching, but I no longer consider it “based” off the books. It is an entirely different fantasy show that is eerily similar to GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Like a really well made Chinese rip off…

    Nope, that’s not the reason.

  31. Delta1212
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I expect there’ll be a bump for the finale both because it is the season finale and from following Blackwater (assuming it lives up to expectations). Between the two, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 4 mil for the finale, but otherwise I don’t expect much upward movement.

    This is not a show that allows for ease of entry in the middle of a season. I know people who are in the process of catching up or who are getting started on the books with the intention of watching afterward, but I don’t expect any of them to get caught up for this season. There’s simply too much to get through.

    I’m expecting another half million or so boost between seasons, but I just don’t think we’ll be seeing the same upward growth we did with the first season on an episode to episode basis, simply because there was much less material to get through watching in the first year.

    I am a True Blood fan, more so in previous seasons, but I even enjoyed this past one for what it is: mindless entertainment. The fact that it is mindless and you can enjoy it pretty easily just jumping in in the middle is how it managed to build those midseason numbers. Game of Thrones is an entirely different animal, and expecting that pattern of behavior from it (even if on a smaller scale than the monster that was True Blood) is somewhat unrealistic, I think.

    Not that it wouldn’t be nice.

  32. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I’ve never really watched True Blood, but the trailer for this coming season looks pretty awesome. Vampire-Human war? Count me in.

  33. SerCountryFriedSteak
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Ratings aren’t growing. Cost $7 million an episode.

    Not panic time yet, but Rome was cut for costing too much and smaller rating than much cheaper True Blood

  34. Vanderhook
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Alan: I’ve never really watched True Blood, but the trailer for this coming season looks pretty awesome. Vampire-Human war? Count me in.

    True Blood is fun, just don’t expect the depth or quality of writing/acting that GoT has.

  35. Vanderhook
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    SerCountryFriedSteak: Ratings aren’t growing. Cost $7 million an episode.Not panic time yet, but Rome was cut for costing too much and smaller rating than much cheaper True Blood

    Rome was cancelled well before True Blood started airing.

  36. The Kingslayer
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    SerCountryFriedSteak,

    Rome was cut for alot of reasons.

  37. Knurk
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    HugeFloppyGut: Also Rangers/Devils confrence finals..lots of people in the New York area watching that

    except they played their first game yesterday.

  38. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Vanderhook: True Blood is fun, just don’t expect the depth or quality of writing/acting that GoT has.

    If I expected that, I’d watch about four shows all year! But thanks for the heads up. I watched the Borgias for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it took me about 40 minutes to stop comparing it to GOT.

    I enjoyed it more once I got past the comparison.

  39. Steel_Wind
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    One man’s “flat” is another man’s “consistent”.

    I do think that the chances of adding on more viewers mid-season in a tale as complex as Game of Thrones moves from “reasonable expectations” and crosses in to “hopes and dreams”.

    This is a series that is extremely complex. The main marketing tool for dealing with that complexity are the novels themselves and the boxed Blu-Ray/DVD sets. I expect we will see another increase between seasons – of a more modest nature than the past spike between Season 1 and Season 2. If we don’t — then HBO will know that the show has found its audience and can budget and plan accordingly. Consistency is a virtue. There is no trend here on LOSING viewers.

    All this said, consistent numbers at a level which makes the show the #2 watched show on the network domestically – and the #1 watched show on the network internationally – is nothing to be disappointed at. If that result had been offered to D&D before the airing of the pilot — they would have taken that success in a heartbeat.

    Short strokes: The show’s a success. This constant eye on the weekly ratings and analysis on the numbers is a bit like weighing yourself every day you are on a diet. You can drive yoursefl BAT SHIT CRAZY by hyper-focussing on the blips and bloops, without stepping back and looking at the overall trend line.

    In this case: the overall trend is positive as all hell and is making Game of Thrones profitable for HBO and has lead to successive renwals for the show. With these numbers? I’m bullish as all hell that we are going to see a season #5.

    Beyond that, the future is too murky for anybody to make predictions. People are fickle and all shows can jump the shark. Let’s wait and see.

  40. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    SerCountryFriedSteak:
    Ratings aren’t growing. Cost $7 million an episode.

    Not panic time yet, but Rome was cut for costing too much and smaller rating than much cheaper True Blood

    The Rome story is an interesting one. But while it might be the most comparable show to Game of Thrones given its cost, it’s not overly comparable.

    1) It was significantly more expensive — $100-110/million for 12 episodes.

    2) While that cost was defrayed but some international syndication (like GOT) and having the BBC as a production partner, the BBC pulled out. This was the direct cause of cancellation.

    3) The ratings were worse than GOT is now in the US. The premiere had 3.8 M viewers but complete week views were never as high as GOT and by the second season, the initial viewers was down to 1.5 M.

    4) HBO execs have said, because of the strong aftermarket for DVDs, etc, that cancelling was a mistake. Throw in syndication — which if it goes long enough there is a market for — and using it as an HBO flagship, etc. and there’s revenue streams that can sustain it.

    —————————–

    Here are my biggest risks to GOT continuing past Season 4, with the reality being it’s likely a combination:

    1) D&D get tired. HBO could hire others, but I’m not sure they’d trust them with the budget/have the ability to execute at the level. Burnout is a real issue, I think.

    2) HBO begins losing money for some reason. Oftentimes successful programs get cut because they cost too much even if they work if there’s no money elsewhere. I actually view the a la carte model as a significant threat here — GOT is exactly the type of show that should succeed in selling itself individually, BUT $70M/year is a lot to risk when transitioning business models/losing massive subscriptions.

    3) The books, starting with Dance and getting further on, become prohibitive cost-wise. Full-size dragons, ten more locations, boats, exotic cities, massive amounts of new characters. There’s always chopping, but there’s always the chance that they simply say, “It can’t be done right.”

    I hope not.

  41. Mike Miller
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    TastesLikeTheSea, This is the most accurate statement I read…Mother`s Day…In My family its like the Starks,Lannisters and Targaryen`s and one piss ant Frey getting together and the only one that makes any sense is Hoder…

  42. Violentos
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    They absolutely have to start including streaming numbers and more importantly, torrent download numbers.

    Game of Thrones is the most downloaded show this year, and judging by the massive numbers, probably one of the most downloaded of all times on torrent sites.

    Here is just one of many recent articles about this: http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2012/05/15/game-thrones-most-pirated-tv-show-hbo/

  43. Chris Beasley
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    survivor finale conflict. In my house we normally watch the early showing, sunday for the first time we watched the later showing.

  44. LV
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Adam B.:
    A possible reason for the ratings drop, aside from Mother’s Day/show finales/sports games is because the show is getting farther and farther away from the books.

    I don’t believe you are not wrong, Ser.

    Adam B.:
    Don’t get me wrong, the show is still worth watching, but I no longer consider it “based” off the books. It is an entirely different fantasy show that is eerily similar to GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Like a really well made Chinese rip off…

    This assessment is untrue. Which is known.

  45. littlejanet
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    It’s the weather and the sunshine. People are waiting until the sun goes down to get their Game on.

  46. LordStarkington
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    The amount of unnecessary hand-wringing over the ratings is amazing. Yes, it’d be nice to grow every episode, but we’re still about 1.3-1.4 million ahead of last season at this stage, if the Wikipedia chart is accurate, and the really big events (especially Blackwater) are still to come.

  47. Delta1212
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Violentos,

    Why would they include torrent numbers? Ratings are meant as a display of a show’s success. From a business perspective, torrent viewings might as well not exist, so they don’t really contribute to aiding in an understanding of the success of the show.

  48. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    HBO is subscription-based and appears to have found a fairly large, committed audience for GoT. Given the show’s complexity and the still-widespread prejudice against anything labeled “fantasy”, it’s perhaps a little unrealistic to expect large numbers of additional viewers to show up in mid-season. This isn’t advertising-based network TV, so who cares if people choose to watch it at 9pm or at 11pm on the same day or for that matter, later in the week?

    Every week we get this teeth-gnashing about the US Nielsen ratings, as if any minor blip would suddenly cause HBO to cancel a highly successful show it has already renewed for a third season. It’s a little comical to behold, TBH.

    Things should get a little more interesting with the numbers for episode 19. Will there be a ratings bump due to the expensive battle scenes? If so, will it carry through into episode 20? What are the implications for the season 3′s production budget?

    Spoiler alert: ratings for episode 18 will likely be flat. News at 11.

  49. Delta1212
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Chris Beasley,

    Yeah, there was a Survivor conflict that pushed Game of Thrones back an hour in my house, as well.

  50. Maxwell James
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I love these threads. On a fine spring day, 50 Nielsen households choose to watch the later episode rather than the earlier one, and the response is widespread panic.

  51. Morgan King
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Delta1212,

    That’s not accurate at all – torrent viewers still count from a business perspective because they are still potential customers of the brand – look at how much effort they’ve put into merchandising – and there’s no telling how many may be future boxed set owners once its available. Personally, I don’t even have a single friend with cable, much less HBO, but I also don’t have a single friend who’s not watching the show.

  52. Delta1212
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin,

    I wouldn’t expect to see the bump for the battle until 20, actually. Not everyone knows that 19 is going to be, well, what it’s going to be. There’ll might be an upward tick from book readers and anyone they strongly encourage to view the episode, but first showing rating are generally based on the previous episode, not the episode being viewed.

  53. Delta1212
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Morgan King,

    Yes, but they’ll get counted if/when they buy the DVD. Consuming the brand doesn’t contribute to the success of the show if you aren’t paying for it.

    I’m not trying to pick a fight about piracy, because whatever. People can view the show how they want. I’m just pointing out that, while the ratings for the first showing aren’t extremely important to HBO, the number of people torrenting the show is even less important.

    It’s like measuring the number of mentions Game of Thrones receives on Facebook or Twitter. It’s an interesting number, and a high number certainly indicates interest which might help with things like DVD sales, but it’s ultimately not the same kind of metric as the actual ratings, which are a more direct measure of how much the show is helping HBO’s business.

  54. Skipjack
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Panic is inevitable but really tiresome. Just take some variables into consideration. First thing I was going to say, as has been pointed out many times now, are the words “Mother’s Day” I missed the first showing myself because I took my Mom out to dinner.

    However we have to be realistic. This is probably near the ceiling for the show, certainly for this season. The show is lots of fun but less accessible than most shows, and here’s the key I believe, less accessible than last season. That means that new viewers jumping in to see what the hype is about have a higher chance of being turned off- and not being interested in starting from the beginning. In addition, some people will be daunted or outright turned off by how far behind they’ll feel and will just skip it.

    It’s too bad for the producers and everyone else who’d have a chance to make more money with a growing success story, but I don’t think they are going to cancel the show with these ratings. The show makes its money back and has a lot of people talking about it. We might not get an expanded budget like we’d all like but it was always more likely the budget would stay about the same, with additions on an ad hoc basis like the Battle of the Blackwater Rushes.

    Rome’s cancelaltion is not really comparable because HBO has repudiated that cancellation since then- they’re on record as saying it was a mistake, they didn’t realize it would have made it’s money back on DVD.

  55. Pastor_of_Muppets
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Not really all that surprised, and definitely not concerned. There was a lot going on Sunday, and even with all the sports programming and finales everyone listed (including a two-hour Desperate Housewives series finale) Game of Thrones still essentially owned the ratings for the night. Any increases we’ll see between now and the finale will likely be small, but I think we’ll see another significant jump upwards between this season and the third season.

  56. gfp
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Violentos,

    You are the first to bring up this point!! And a very good point!! I am a paying customer, just like most! But with all the news last week about pirates and torrent sites, maybe we gave some paying viewers an idea and a way to cheat the system.
    With that said, Mother’s Day probably played a bigger role in the US. Does anyone know what the weekly numbers have been? The last I heard from the beginning of season, was 10.4 to 11 million. Has that number dropped??

  57. Wes
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully we’ll see a jump for Blackwater, but this show is just too heavy to really jump into mid-season. Still, this level of consistent ratings is still good.

  58. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Delta1212:
    Nagga’s Kin,

    I wouldn’t expect to see the bump for the battle until 20, actually. Not everyone knows that 19 is going to be, well, what it’s going to be. There’ll might be an upward tick from book readers and anyone they strongly encourage to view the episode, but first showing rating are generally based on the previous episode, not the episode being viewed.

    HBO gave D&D an extra 15% over the season 1 budget so they could do episode 19 properly. Afaik, that amounted to something like $9 million. Add to that the $6 million or so that a regular episode costs to make (on average).

    I would be surprised if a fraction of all that money wasn’t used to amp up the marketing drumbeat for the show and network in the week or two leading up to the first airing. We’ll see.

  59. Pastor_of_Muppets
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    And I will say this, even though anecdotal evidence doesn’t really mean much of anything at all; a lot of my friends who I wouldn’t have expected to be in the show have started to get into season one within the last couple of weeks, and part of that may be how much the show is being talked about. I’ve overheard conversations in the bank, the grocery store, and a bar about Game of Thrones just this week, and last night a friend of my brothers who knows I watch the show started asking me what it’s about because he’s had so many people telling him how awesome it is. Obviously no one here would know this guy, but it surprised me because he’s not the type of person to follow any show and he was genuinely interested. I guess my point is that the show seems to be picking up momentum, even though it’s not yet reflected in the ratings. I’m pretty confident the show is going to find a lot of viewers between this season and the next, which is a more likely trend for a show like this than picking up a large amount of viewers while the season is still in progress.

  60. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Wes:
    Hopefully we’ll see a jump for Blackwater, but this show is just too heavy to really jump into mid-season. Still, this level of consistent ratings is still good.

    The numbers suggest that viewers who lost interest, got too upset about changes from the books, were turned off by the sex and violence (or lack of it ;^) and those who simply couldn’t (be bothered) to follow the byzantine plot have all been replaced by new viewers as the season has progressed. That’s actually really good news.

  61. Virtus
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    julandro:
    In the first episode had 3.9 million viewers. Has declined about 200,000 viewers? :(

    Remember that the number is only regarding the first airing.

  62. bela
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    And two-hour Desperate Housewives series finale.

    GOT repeat at 11 p.m. was seen by a full million!!!

  63. ASOIAF Fan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    SerCountryFriedSteak,

    Season one dvd and bluray sales are already nearly covering all of s2 budget, we’re far from worrying about got profitability.

  64. Pau Soriano
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    ASOIAF Fan:
    SerCountryFriedSteak,

    Season one dvd and bluray sales are already nearly covering all of s2 budget, we’re far from worrying about got profitability.

    Nooooo not true

  65. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    ASOIAF Fan:
    SerCountryFriedSteak,

    Season one dvd and bluray sales are already nearly covering all of s2 budget, we’re far from worrying about got profitability.

    That’s not true. The revenues (or sales dollars) from Season 1 DVDs and Blu-Rays may be upwards towards $70M, but that’s not profit. A significant portion of that goes to the retailer margin (30%? Something like that), and then there are production, marketing and transportation costs. I think a safe number is somewhere around $10/set in profit for HBO. That may be understating it, but it’s not over $20, I don’t think.

    So great sales — maybe $20-40M in profit. But not $70M. (Unless the published BR and DVD sales were just US. Which is possible).

  66. young stark
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    We good on ratings,this the best show on television no matter what…..king of the north!!!!!!

  67. serum
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Nomi Sum,

    I completely agree, this is without a doubt the most faithful ADAPTATION of a book that there has ever been, well done D&D, thank you GRRM for your input into the creation and production of the show!

  68. Shar
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    val,

    Must wait for the children to go sleepy. Their eyes turn into big saucers when the music starts, uh turn the channel now.

  69. Dennis
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I don’t see any reason for panic here. Now that that freakin Desperate Housewives finale is over perhaps some more women (& husbands) opt to, or have the ability to watch the first showing next Sunday! ;-)

  70. Sean
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Definitely a slight dip due to Mother’s Day on the initial air, made up for with the late airing.

  71. ASoIaF Fan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Pau Soriano,

    Alan,

    Emphasis on the nearly (and that is, just because we only have US numbers)
    Do you really think that overseas dvd/bluray sales are not as high as the us-only numbers?
    I’m from France and i download the show to be able to see it before dvd releases.
    I bought 8 dvd and 5 bluray box sets and another 5 bluray box sets were bought by friends of mine who comes every weeks to watch the show nearly-live at my place.
    Season one hasn’t dropped from the top 5 dvd sales list of the biggest retailers yet since it came out and i’m quite sure it’s the same in a lot of countries.

  72. garik16
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Game of Thrones S1 had a ratings dip too around episode 5, with an increase at around ep 8 and then the big increase in Ep 10.

    This season’s course is built very smartly (SPOILERS): With the House of the Undying this coming week, talk will be up for Episode 9: BLACKWATER, which will further increase hype for the finale, which should have series high ratings. Last year, while Baelor did seem to result in season high ratings for the finale, Baelor itself had a dip from episode 8. Overall, the ratings for the last three episodes should all rise from this point on.

  73. Phoenix_torn
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I watched both airing, again because my roommate wasn’t home from mothers day in time for the 9pm airing (and I couldn’t wait). Maybe I’d worry if the numbers all around dropped off but the average is steady over repeats. Wait to freak out until after next weeks numbers.

  74. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    ASoIaF Fan:
    Pau Soriano,

    Alan,

    Emphasis on the nearly (and that is, just because we only have US numbers)Do you really think that overseas dvd/bluray sales are not as high as the us-only numbers?
    I’m fromFrance and i download the show to be able to see it before dvd releases.
    I bought 8 dvd and 5 bluray box sets and another 5 bluray box sets were bought by friends of mine who comes every weeks to watch the show nearly-live at my place.
    Season one hasn’t dropped from the top 5 dvd sales list of the biggest retailers yet since it came out and i’m quite sure it’s the same in a lot of countries.

    It’s not that I don’t think it does well internationally, it’s that I don’t know if the published sales were US-only or worldwide.

  75. John
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I think the drop can be blamed entirely on Mother’s Day. Game of Thrones wasn’t the only show that saw a dip. Mad Men, for example, was down by a similar amount. If not for the holiday, I suspect the episode would have been right around the 3.9 million that the last two episodes pulled in. We’ll see if the numbers rebound next week. I suspect they will. And I still think the show will crack 4 million for the first time for the Battle of the Blackwater. And if it doesn’t happen there, I think it will happen in the finale.

  76. sjwenings
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I have a question for the few that have seen/heard of the last episodes: Will we see Tyrions chain? There hasn’t been any talk about it yet, so I worry a bit, since if not for this, he doesn’t really contribute enough to, uhm… whats going on in ep 9.

  77. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m holding out hope the chain and the training on the wildfire shows up in Episode 8. Tyrion still leads the sortie when others won’t, but yes, it would be nice to see him do some tactical items.

  78. ela
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Sean:
    Definitely a slight dip due to Mother’s Day on the initial air, made up for with the late airing.

  79. Chrysee
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    The show has already been renewed for next season. The source material for that season is strong. There should be some great stuff coming up next season so I don’t think anyone’s in any danger.

  80. paylor
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Violentos,

    Why would they do that? Torrenting gives them no revenue. It’s measuring a loss for them.

    One other thing to consider, the marquee episode of Blackwater will be aired during Memorial Day weekend. That will take a ratings hit as well because that is one of the biggest travel weekends of the year in the US. Last year to off-set that, they made the episode available on HBO Go first. I don’t know if they will plan on doing the same thing this year.

  81. ghost
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I really like how they leave cliffhangers at the end of the episode.

    A big reason I watched LOST was because I really wanted to know what was behind that stupid hatch.

    The developers should have not told the audience what was behind Xaro’s door and just keep that till the end of the series.

  82. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I still think the finale will top 4 million viewers for the premier. It is encouraging that the second airing this week regained the viewers who missed the premier. I will be interested to see what the average total viewership per episode is after the season. It was at 11+ million through the first 3 episodes. The total viewership numbers are more important than what the premier gets.

  83. Anvil
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    sjwenings:
    I have a question for the few that have seen/heard of the last episodes: Will we see Tyrions chain? There hasn’t been any talk about it yet, so I worry a bit, since if not for this, he doesn’t really contribute enough to, uhm… whats going on in ep 9.

    No, but a certain peach will be present.

  84. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    garik16:
    Game of Thrones S1 had a ratings dip too around episode 5, with an increase at around ep 8 and then the big increase in Ep 10.

    This season’s course is built very smartly (SPOILERS):With the House of the Undying this coming week, talk will be up for Episode 9: BLACKWATER, which will further increase hype for the finale, which should have series high ratings.Last year, while Baelor did seem to result in season high ratings for the finale, Baelor itself had a dip from episode 8.Overall, the ratings for the last three episodes should all rise from this point on.

    The “HOTU” won’t happen until the finale. I think the finale will do well partly because I believe the episode 9 cliffhanger will imply Tyrion’s death.

  85. sjwenings
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap: I think the finale will do well partly because I believe the episode 9 cliffhanger will imply

    I think maybe it won’t imply Tyrions death, since we already have that for Bran/Rickon, and it might seem cheezy and unGoT-like to do that twice in short order.

  86. G_Lee
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    This has probably been posted before but Ill post it anyway.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/05/09/hbo-has-only-itself-to-blame-for-record-game-of-thrones-piracy/

    Soooooo true! Shame on you HBO! I would totally buy the series online if there was a way!
    This article deserves its own post.

  87. Lex
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m not concerned at all.

    The numbers are consistent, and higher than I’d ever have imagined possible (a few years ago).

    We’ve also been doing remarkably well in the face of Mother’s Day, Easter, sports playoffs, other big TV events, etc.

  88. Kalasin
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand the expectation of increased viewers throughout the season. I think we’ve hit critical mass, more or less. Last season people came in because they were just hearing about it for the first time, but now the word is out, and everyone who was going to come in off the dvds over the hiatus did already. I never expected an increase – I’m just glad we’re not losing!

  89. OhDanyBoy
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    G_Lee,

    You may want to read his follow up article he wrote after it was pointed out to him how idiotic (and financially suicidal) it would be for HBO to offer online access.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/05/11/why-hbo-cant-afford-to-offer-a-stand-alone-streaming-service/

  90. Maxwell James
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    G_Lee,

    Perhaps but note that Kain issued something of a retraction shortly after that post – mainly because there’s very little evidence piracy is hurting HBO. They’re certainly not complaining about it to the press, filing suits against people who use torrents, etc.

    EDIT – nevermind, OhDanyBoy beat me to the punch.

  91. Restore The Day
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    I guess he doens’t like the taste of crow :)

  92. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    sjwenings: I think maybe it won’t imply Tyrions death, since we already have that for Bran/Rickon, and it might seem cheezy and unGoT-like to do that twice in short order.

    Haven’t you read A Dance with Dragons? :)

    I think that cliffhanger may be more difficult (less likely to work?) to execute than in the book — they will want to show the end of the battle on tv. When it’s POV, we only hear about the end later.

  93. Mike Chair
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    What? No one wanted to watch a nice family show like GoT with their mothers?

  94. Remaal
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, I’m not really bothered by ratings. We have season 3 green lit, and, barring an unforeseen disaster, we’re pretty assured to get season 4 as well. That’s all I ever expected from the show. We may well get seasons 5 & 6, but at this point, that’s s much of a long shot as HBO not giving us season 4.
    So why worry now? When the only significance these numbers could have is as an indicator to season 3 growth. And frankly, even if season 3 held at around the 4.5 million mark, HBO will still renew for S4 (though it might cut the budget slightly to S1 levels). So let’s start worrying about the numbers next year, shall we. For now, let us all bask in the warm glow of consistency, while we pray for Emmy wins.

  95. Andrés
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    In other words, the show’s ratings remain consistently high.

  96. ela
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    HBO’s “Game of Thrones” delivered its weekly smackdown to everything else on cable TV Sunday night.

    The complex drama about a fantasy kingdom, which has not shied from ultra-violence this season, drew about 3.7 million viewers.

    That topped everything else in sight on cable, including “SpongeBob Squarepants” (3 million) and the Disney movie “Good Luck Charlie” (3.6 million).

    “Game of Thrones” also far outdistanced every other cable show among the advertiser-coveted 18- to 49-year-olds. The only show that came close was “Break,” which follows “Thrones” on HBO.

    Audiences for other Sunday night cable shows, which were competing with finales of “Desperate Housewives” and “Survivor” on broadcast networks, included 2.27 million for Lifetime’s “The Client List,” 2.26 million for Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New Jersey and 2.13 million for AMC’s “Mad Men.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/television/game-thrones-crowned-cable-ratings-lord-mad-men-real-housewives-article-1.1078465#ixzz1uyGrNN1t

  97. paylor
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    sjwenings,

    Yeah, but I don’t think most people believe that Bran or Rickon are dead. They gave a lot of clues that they aren’t and I haven’t heard any of the unsullied believe that they are dead. If they play it right, people might actually believe that Tyrion is dead.

  98. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    ela:
    HBO’s “Game of Thrones” delivered its weekly smackdown to everything else on cable TV Sunday night.

    The complex drama about a fantasy kingdom, which has not shied from ultra-violence this season, drew about 3.7 million viewers.

    That topped everything else in sight on cable, including “SpongeBob Squarepants” (3 million) and the Disney movie “Good Luck Charlie” (3.6 million).

    “Game of Thrones” also far outdistanced every other cable show among the advertiser-coveted 18- to 49-year-olds. The only show that came close was “Break,” which follows “Thrones” on HBO.

    Audiences for other Sunday night cable shows, which were competing with finales of “Desperate Housewives” and “Survivor” on broadcast networks, included 2.27 million for Lifetime’s “The Client List,” 2.26 million for Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New Jersey and 2.13 million for AMC’s “Mad Men.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/television/game-thrones-crowned-cable-ratings-lord-mad-men-real-housewives-article-1.1078465#ixzz1uyGrNN1t

    “The only show that came close was “Break,” which follows “Thrones” on HBO.”

    Hahaha. That’s a break between shows. It’s the people still watching after Thrones was over. I take it the Daily News doesn’t discuss ratings often.

  99. spacechampion
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Does no one read the WiC episode guide or read the posts describing the episodes?

    Episode 20: Valar Morghulis
    Synopsis: Tyrion awakens to a changed situation. King Joffrey doles out rewards to his subjects. As Theon stirs his men to action, Luwin offers some final advice. Brienne silences Jaime; Arya receives a gift from Jaqen; Dany goes to a strange place; Jon proves himself to Qhorin.

    “Dany goes to a strange place” = House of the Undying.

  100. Delta1212
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Alan,

    I saw “Break” in the article, was mildly confused, read your post and almost choked on my sandwich.

  101. Mike
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Adam B.,

    Are you serious? Was this post supposed to make us all L-O-L? This might be a low for this season, but the fact that you’re rationalizing that it’s because it deviated more from the books than season 1 is asinine. Don’t you remember when the ever-so faithful season 1 was averaging around a 2.5 last year?

  102. sjwenings
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    paylor,

    Hm, thats a pretty good point. Still unsure how to do something like that properly, though. If they make it too real-like, people might feel cheated when he survives.

  103. Kirel Redhand
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I have a suspicion that the ratings will hold flat or drop, the more they (D&D) deviate from the source material. This past week, several non-reader friends (who have watched the show) have come to me, asking what’s going on because the story that the show is telling is simply not making sense, from their perspective.

    As a reader and a long-time fan, I can only shrug my shoulders and say. ” I have no clue. It didn’t happen in the books” or “I can see what they are trying to do, but it doesn’t make sense to me either”.

    Of particular confusion has been the Dragon stealing followed by the kingmaking subplot, the Jon/Ygritte scenes and the Kingslayer killing his cousin scene.

  104. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here is the great book-ending Mad Men is providing to GOT for an adult, sophisticated, and discerning TV audience. Mad Men airs between the two GOT showings at 9 and 11, providing an entire block of high-quality cable entertainment—what broadcast networks call Appointment TV. Two top dramas worth settling in for, if you want to keep up with the entertainment sites/watercooler discussions the following week. A real gift!

    No doubt in my mind that this is working to GOT’s advantage on the US East Coast, at least, particularly for those like me who don’t have a DVR.

    It does confirm my oft-expressed feelings that the show has plateau-ed without a major male star to draw adult/female juvenile/female viewers who otherwise find the content unpalatable (this is a two-quadrant show). It also adds to my sympathy for Boardwalk Empire and its losing battle with Sunday Night Football, which takes up all three hours of primetime male viewing every autumn Sunday night.

  105. DS
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    NO that is not the the reason!!! even with the changes it still is very close to the books

  106. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    DS,

    Okaaayyyy.

    If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’d believe the Voltage Pictures president who said in this week’s Variety: “Stars help people know the value of a movie, just like a great script and a strong director…..it’s probably the most important factor. Stars drive the sales,” or the producer who said “Actors are really the tipping point in any package.” (Emphasis added.)

    Yes, they were talking about movies, not TV shows, but this show lacks star power.

    Edit to add: Oh, I see you clarified the post you were responding to as one much further up-thread.

  107. Lucazzy
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    sjwenings,

    They can do it right if the final few minutes of the episode is Tyrion leading the charge against the landing of Stannis’s troops. A few minutes of fighting, then they move into the water, some more fighting there, the fire spreads. The final moments are when Tyrion falls into the water, Ser Mandon reaches for his hand, then slices him with the sword across the face. Then they could end it with Pod pulling him out of the water in a fade to black over his bloodied face.

    That is, if they’re going for a cliffhanger ending. If not, they can just have Tyrion wake up and move around a bit, wounded. But I think they want people to tune into the finale to see if Tyrion survived.

  108. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    ‘Mad Men’ has star power. It is also available in 70 million more homes. Yet ‘Game of Thrones’ crushes it in the ratings. The ratings are great. Better than when Sean Bean was on the show. Star power is not an issue with the show.

  109. John
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    spacechampion:
    Does no one read the WiC episode guide or read the posts describing the episodes?

    Episode 20: Valar Morghulis
    Synopsis: Tyrion awakens to a changed situation. King Joffrey doles out rewards to his subjects. As Theon stirs his men to action, Luwin offers some final advice. Brienne silences Jaime; Arya receives a gift from Jaqen; Dany goes to a strange place; Jon proves himself to Qhorin.

    “Dany goes to a strange place” = House of the Undying.

    To be fair, I don’t think there was a post on that particular episode. It’s possible I missed it, but I check this site every day, and I saw the episode description on another site before coming back here and seeing that it was added to the episode guide. I can’t find a corresponding post about it anywhere.

    With regards to Daenerys, I think it’s interesting that the House of the Undying isn’t until the finale, as it is two thirds of the way through A Clash of Kings (chapter 48 of 69–though it is the second to last Daenerys chapter). This makes me wonder if the triumphant return of Barristan the Bold (aka Arstan Whitebeard) has been pushed to season 3. I hope not, but I’m starting to wonder. I would rather the House of the Undying happen in episode eight and the assassination attempt happen in the finale.

  110. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    I’m not sure we’re disagreeing.

    GOT has great ratings for a two-quadrant show, based on its genre, writing, casting, and execution. I’m not comparing Mad Men’s ratings to GOT’s. The two shows complement each other, they do not compete head to head. (Agree that Mad Men has star power, but it has other factors limiting its appeal that I won’t pontificate upon here.) My first point was that GOT benefits from book-ending Mad Men.

    My second point is that, to see a significant jump up, we don’t need cliffhangers or any other internal tweaking, as many folks here have discussed, but male star power, to expand beyond two quadrants. The show needs to do nothing to stay at 4 million, IMO.

  111. Jeda
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    ASoIaF Fan,

    Heard that too, many times over. I don’t live in France anymore but I know an incredible number of people who love the show and the books. Every person I know there downloaded torrents to see it before the French release and bought the DVD/Blu Ray as soon as it came out, more than once sometimes when bought as a gift for someone else. From what I heard, the show is huge there. Not surprising really, not so much the fantasy as it can unfortunately be hard sell, but a middle-age settings with dark endings and nudity, sounds a lot like European stories, it was bound to pick people’s interest, same in the rest of Europe I think.

    On the 16th of March, the show was the country’s third biggest dvd/blu-ray sales of all TV shows, and the first two are not American, which means it’s the most succesful USA series of the year over there, that is huge, in fact it’s incredible considering it was only aired on ‘Orange Cinéma Séries’ (small channel), so it’s all been word to mouth. If the DVD sales are the same in many countries, with the ratings table, it’s all rather good news…

  112. DS
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    DH87:
    DS,

    Okaaayyyy.

    If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’d believe the Voltage Pictures president who said in this week’s Variety: “Stars help people know the value of a movie, just like a great script and a strong director…..it’s probably the most important factor. Stars drive the sales,” or the producer who said “Actors are really the tipping point in any package.” (Emphasis added.)

    Yes, they were talking about movies, not TV shows, but this show lacks star power.

    Edit to add: Oh, I see you clarified the post you were responding to as one much further up-thread.

    I was responding to Adam b post (sorry this is my second post not sure on the mechanics yet), but I do agree with you about star power attracting viewers but i feel its more for movies than tv shows, you might tune in because you like the actor but if the show is not good you will not keep watching just becouse some actor you like is in it.

  113. ThePinkDragon
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Why do people panic if GoT gets any less than Glee-like buzz?

    This is awesome for a genre show. Like, phenomenally awesome. It’s going to pave the way for future fantasy television — maybe even original stuff. (Here’s to hoping, because very few television shows have interested me in the last 6 years, and NBC went and eviscerated all my comedy…)

  114. ThePinkDragon
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Mike Chair:
    What?No one wanted to watch a nice family show like GoT with their mothers?

    Ha! I watch with my mom, and the only scene that’s ever been awkward was the Littlefinger and The Lesbians monologue (which was poorly done, IMO, anyway). The rest of the sexual stuff we just tend to laugh at, because it’s seriously not titillating at all, and probably isn’t meant to be.

  115. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I think star power is consistently overrated by movie and television execs. It’s never a bad thing, so I’m not going to disagree that it may help Game of Thrones, but…

    …In movies, many more actors get paid like they can draw audiences than can actually draw audiences. There are very few stars that guarantee a strong audience — Will Smith comes to mind. There are a lot of people paid like they do.

    I do not disagree that movie execs value it highly — you can see it in salaries. But the actual sales dollars often disagree.

    In television shows, it’s an even weaker correlation. Two and Half Men continues to be strong without Charlie Sheen. Big Bang Theory isn’t trotting out a hunk and it does exceptionally well. American Idol lost Simon Cowell and still is wrong. ER may have peaked with Clooney and Wyle but it didn’t fall apart when they left.

    Stars from prior hits don’t see strong future success, either. TV is littered with second show attempts.

    It’s not that I think, oh, say, the Mentalist would do as well with a less dashing leading man (he seems genetically engineered to appeal to the CBS audience). And I’ll take your words on True Blood and Skarsgaard.

    But it doesn’t seem to be the primary driver of success most of the time. Game was never going to have a truly huge star — a Smith or… well, I was going to say Tom Cruise, but he’s not bulletproof anymore, either — at its core, even if they altered it.

    I would bet the subscription audience, fantasy dynamic and complex plot limit it a lot more than no leading man.

  116. Sir Pounce
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    So many hand-wringing doom-sayers in these parts. It’s hysterical, in multiple meanings of that word.

  117. Giselle Glasgow
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    well it was mother’s day, folks out to dinner and such… expected…

  118. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Alan,

    I don’t watch broadcast tv so I have few examples with which to counter, but isn’t the Zooey Deschenel “New Girl” vehicle a hit strictly due to her film appeal? And didn’t the Two and a Half Men show runners just replace Sheen with a younger version of himself in Kutcher (in terms of star wattage and—arguable—sex appeal, to the same mass market audience)?

    Do you at least agree that GOT is a two-quadrant show? Would it not be helpful to capture traction with a third quadrant, to move ratings upward, since I assume we can agree that epic fantasy is a two-quadrant genre?

    We do agree that the argument is moot in terms of the show being a ” hit.” If D&D can control costs, they need to do little else to stay at HBO for quite a while. If we want to discuss TB-like ratings, I stand by my observation, since there is nothing on the horizon to push it beyond where it is now or drive the current viewers away from it. A truly break out performance by a great looking guy would do it, and that’s why former TV stars Tom Hardy, Skarsgard, Colin Farrell, and Michael Fassbender (all European, like the GOT cast) are currently writing their own tickets in Hollywood while the Kutchers, Stephen Moyers, et al. are ….not.

  119. Mike Chair
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    ThePinkDragon: I watch with my mom, and the only scene that’s ever been awkward was the Littlefinger and The Lesbians monologue

    Eeeewwww!! You watched the “Play With Her Ass” episode with your mom?!

    This is my point. In the United States, we are too politically correct to give our kids alcohol with dinner, so our kids stay up too late. Nine o’clock is just not a possibility for people who don’t want their sober children to see and hear the “play with her ass”es and the 7-year-olds breast feeding and the “C” words and the beheadings and cities that smell like … well, you know.

    It’s the night’s total that matters for HBO. It’s a small price for HBO pay to give us full value for our entertainment dollar.

    May The Seven bless you, HBO.

  120. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    I modify my statement on Kutcher; he seems to have the good luck to land film roles (S. Jobs, etc.) that far outclass his ability to deliver box office $$$; this has been discussed a good deal in the H’wood press.

  121. ThePinkDragon
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Mike Chair: Eeeewwww!!You watched the “Play With Her Ass” episode with your mom?!

    Well, I believe I implied that scene was gross, so I kinda hid behind my laptop at that point. But everything else? Not really terrible to watch with my mother. We swear like sailors, I knew how sex worked from a young age (too much reading that no one ever censored), and we’re both grown adults.

    I understand that might be very, very weird for some people — I have grown friends that still won’t even let the tiniest bit of a curse word pass in front of their parents, in fear of an intense chewing-out — but that’s just how it was in my household. Might have had something to do with being the baby of the family and the only one living in the house, I don’t know.

    And as two Americans, violence obviously doesn’t bother us. This is a country that made a book series about kids killing each other in cold blood a super-romanticized, sentimental phenomenon, after all.

    It’s not like I’m watching pornos with my parents. GoT just happens to be a grotesque show. Hell, an 80+ year old woman gave me the books for my first read-through.

  122. Meg
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    concerned question –
    the actor for Davos isn’t listed on IMDB as featured in Blackwater. Surely this is a mistake?

  123. NoHeddardStark
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I think ratings were down because Ygritte finally said “You know nothing, Jon Snow”. Nobody wanted to hear that. And correlation always equals causality.

  124. Delta1212
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Meg,

    Dunno, but don’t use imdb as a resource for anything that hasn’t aired. It is almost always horribly inaccurate in such cases.

  125. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    DH87:
    Alan,

    I don’t watch broadcast tv so I have few examples with which to counter, but isn’t the Zooey Deschenel “New Girl” vehicle a hit strictly due to her film appeal? And didn’t the Two and a Half Men show runners just replace Sheen with ayounger version of himself in Kutcher (in terms of star wattage and—arguable—sex appeal, to the same mass market audience)?

    Do you at least agree that GOT is a two-quadrant show? Would it not be helpful to capture traction with a third quadrant, to move ratings upward, since I assume we can agree that epic fantasy is a two-quadrant genre?

    We do agree that the argument is moot in terms of the show being a ” hit.” If D&D can control costs, they need to do little else to stay at HBO for quite a while. If we want to discuss TB-like ratings, I stand by my observation, since there is nothing on the horizon to push it beyond where it is now or drive the current viewers away from it. A truly break out performance by a great looking guy would do it, and that’s why former TV stars Tom Hardy, Skarsgard, Colin Farrell, and Michael Fassbender (all European, like the GOT cast) are currently writing their own tickets in Hollywood while the Kutchers, Stephen Moyers, et al. are ….not.

    Well, Zooey Dechanel got the initial viewers, but I think New Girl has stayed strong because of the supporting cast. It’s changed a bit and is actually quite funny.

    I don’t really know that I disagree with much you are saying. I do think Game of Thrones is stronger with women than the general perception (not saying yours), but I agree that it’s probably not drawing women independent of word of mouth. I’m not sure I’m saying it right, but I think there’s a lot of women watching, mostly from the books or word of mouth from friends, but I agree that few are seeing a promo or advertisement and tuning.

    There’s probably quite a few people out there that tuned into a True Blood with its fantasy elements that won’t to Game of Thrones. Maybe that difference is Skarsgaard.

    I just think the value of stars can be overrated.

    That said, are you merely positing a theory on ratings, or are you actually proposing a change to story to create this character? Or merely spending money on a very top-notch Daario Naharis? Perhaps a Jaime Lannister spin-off?

    I’m joking a bit, but if you are, I suppose the question is, would star power offset the issues with upsetting the fanbase (and the chance at a weaker story)? I don’t think it would.

    Also, I’m not a huge fan of bringing a star in — this is the type of cast where I think of the character, not the actor, and I like it. There’s a feel there. The base has been built on this. I’m not sure you upset it.

  126. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Alan: I just think the value of stars can be overrated.

    IMHO, this applies especially to GoT. GRRM’s world is naturally suited to a large ensemble cast and, the show arguably has an extremely good one. The genius of Nina Gold and her team is that they have found so many talented but relatively unknown (at least in the US) and presumably affordable actors to complement the few international stars they did hire. With the possible exception of Jason Momoa, these have actually restrained their performances to avoid stealing the limelight from the lesser-known actors. Prime example: Charles Dance.

    Besides, by now GoT has become a pop culture phenomenon. It no longer needs an already-established big star to put bums in seats.

  127. paylor
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    You’ll find more shows that have failed with a so-called big name star than have succeeded. How do most TV stars become stars? By acting in a good TV show. People here are using Mad Men as an example of “star power.” That’s just bizzare. None of those people were household names before Mad Men.

  128. K
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree that Mothers’ Day is the true culprit and there isn’t a whole lot to be concerned about here – much ado about little to nothing really. The show is pulling in great numbers for a fantasy genre show on a premium cable channel – we were never going to see the Walking Dead’s numbers. I said a while ago on another thread that that show’s season finale brought in about 9 million and GoT could pull in about half that if it’s lucky – I still think that could be possible (at least 4 million) for the final two episodes. We shall see, but, I for one am not losing any sleep worrying about the show’s long-term security – HBO is more than happy with it so far as we all should be……

  129. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Alan,

    Yep, we are agreeing on almost everything.

    Good question about bringing in the hunk to GOT.

    The role doesn’t have to be big. Skarsgard has never been on screen for more than 5 minutes of any 50-minute episode of “True Blood” but he makes every line count, as every charismatic star does. How much time was Hardy onscreen in “Oliver Twist” (the best Bill Sikes in a generation) or “Inception” or “RocknRolla” before he landed “Bronson” and “Dark Knight Rises” (Bane), “Mad Max,” or “Warrior”? Minutes.

    I doubt Nina Gold was given the mandate to get the next Fassbender (who she cast in “Jane Eyre”), Hardy (whom she cast in “The Virgin Queen”), etc., given the lifespan of many of the characters in GRRW’s world. NCW was expected to fill the traditional “male romantic lead” role, but unfortunately, he has not delivered. Jason Momoa had huge potential before his head-on collision with destiny. Jorah Mormont could have been another possibility, but at 50-plus, Iain Glen would be the first to say he’s no matinee idol comfortable with ffmn.

    Other than Jaime and Drogo, the show has a huge number of children and old men populating it.
    Right now, there’s more screen chemistry between a 15 year old and a 65 year old than between any other actors on this show. What does that say?

    At this point, since the Jaime train has left the station, I’d be happy with the ratings I had. If I had to improve things or risk losing the show (not a real-life possibility), I’d get Nina G. to give the upcoming roles as a shopping list to a top guy and let him choose something he likes/needs for his own resume (counter casting can often be inexpensive), or because he’s a fan, or because he wants to get into that crowded HBO bed (following in Skarsgard’s footsteps).

  130. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    paylor,

    My definition of star power, as in attractive to women viewers, in the context of Mad Men is Jon Hamm. Period. He was perfectly cast and has delivered an enormous workhorse performance, appearing in almost every scene, season after season. He’s in that sweet spot—age 35 to 40— along with the other actors I cited, after paying his dues during many years in the broadcast tv wilderness (check his credits) and a film role in “Kissing Jessica Stein.” The camera loves him, the viewer never gets tired of watching him. Lightning struck for him and it has struck for Skarsgard et al. It’s probably struck Momoa, too, but too late to help GOT.

    Oh, and people seem to think I’m equating star power with a known “star.” I’m not. Neither Skarsgard nor Hamm nor any of these other folks were big names when they got their star-making roles. Gold’s job is to find the folks who have it and hire them before everyone else sees it. I suspect she thought NCW was GOT’s entry in the lists.

  131. paylor
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    That is purely your subjective opinion. I like Jon Hamm, but he was nobody before he got cast in Mad Men. You say that they missed the ball on the casting of Jamie Lannister. Again, purely your subjective opinion. I think Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has done a fantastic job and think he’s very attractive, for as much as a guy who sleeps with his sister and tosses children out of a window can be. You say that Alexander Skarsgård has an star quality that makes people want to watch True Blood. Again, your subjective opinion. I know that he doesn’t have that effect on me. As for Momoa, yeah, I liked looking at his ass, but his character actually was kind of creepy. That being said, I’m all for more male eye-candy on GOT. So King Robb and his bastard brother need to drop trou soon.

  132. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    Are you saying that NCW simply isn’t handsome enough or that he can’t act? Personally I think he can act circles around Skarsgard. He has just as much charisma too. The problem is that most women who haven’t read the books despise the character.

  133. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    paylor,

    I’ve posted the evidence behind my Skarsgard theory many times, in terms of the ep-by-ep ratings for S1 of TB, so I won’t drag it out again. He’s got six big-six/indie films in the works with top directors like Peter Berg, Lars Von Trier, etc. and has had his first major starring vehicle pre-emptively bought by Warner’s. Fact, not opinion.

    There is NO buzz about NCW, and not just because he’s Europe-based (that’s why I used European-based actors in my original comparison)—actors come to Hollywood when they’re wanted. Two years into GOT, if there were any major interest in NCW, it would have begun to build by now. He’s 42 years old. He seems to have one project in the works, “Oblivion,” a Tom Cruise vehicle on which he’s credited behind five other actors, to come out more than a year from now.

    Hamm just signed as the lead in a big Disney film. The other actors I mentioned have 4–7 big-six LEADING ROLE projects under contract or in discussion. Fact, not personal opinion.

    Enjoy NCW. He’s not doing the GOT ratings any perceivable good, however, which I believe was the subject under discussion.

  134. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Kirel Redhand,

    interesting. i am enjoying it so fare but get the feeling too…

  135. ThePinkDragon
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Theory: I think GoT has a reputation as a Dude Show™, much like Entourage did. This is purely anecdotal, but a lot of girls I know aren’t interested not because of the sex and gore and medieval culture, but because they thought the show was a mildly-demeaning sausage fest. I’m guessing they hadn’t seen an actual episode, considering we have our fair share of strong female main characters — Catelyn, Arya, Brienne, Daenerys — that will only increase as time goes on. Maybe it’s the marketing or maybe it’s the genre-bias. Dunno.

  136. Langkard
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    My son-in-law stopped watching the show. He told my daughter that he refuses to watch the show again unless Joffrey dies. This was a result of the Roz and whateverhernamewas abuse scene. I wonder how many viewers the show lost with that scene? I hadn’t realized how much impact it had until my daughter told me about it.

  137. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Until Skarsgard is a leading male in a hit movie he is not a movie star. I believe he is the 4th or 5th lead in ‘Battleship’(which looks aweful). He’s alright in ‘Generation Kill’, but other than that I have not been impressed by anything outside of ‘True Blood’, and even he sucked in season 4.

  138. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    As I said above, Warner’s, Universal, Lars Von Trier, Peter Berg, Julianne Moore, et al seem to share a higher opinion of Skarsgard than you do, otherwise I assume he wouldn’t be starring in “Hidden,” “What Maisie Knew,” “Battleship,” “The Vanguard,” “Disconnect,” and “The East” in the next nine months.

    Looks like we aren’t going to agree. Perhaps we should move on to other ways GOT could help its ratings or retire the subject.

  139. Alan
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t count NCW completely out yet. The character has a shot in Season 3 and 4 to make a strong impression. I also think that folks are not quite comfortable yet in believing the GOT fanbase will translate at all.

    As for future roles, with younger men, there’s Daario Naharis, some Greyjoys, a few Dornish. Other than that, most roles are very niche or don’t last very long.

  140. Maxwell James
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    ThePinkDragon,

    Theory: I think GoT has a reputation as a Dude Show™, much like Entourage did. This is purely anecdotal, but a lot of girls I know aren’t interested not because of the sex and gore and medieval culture, but because they thought the show was a mildly-demeaning sausage fest.

    While I’m not at all concerned about the ratings – this, at least, there is evidence for. It was reported earlier this week that GoT’s audience is 60% male (the same goes for Girls, interestingly enough). True Blood’s by contrast is 52% female.

    So that goes some way to account for the gap between the two shows.

  141. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Maxwell James: While I’m not at all concerned about the ratings – this, at least, there is evidence for. It was reported earlier this week that GoT’s audience is 60% male (the same goes for Girls, interestingly enough). True Blood’s by contrast is 52% female.

    So that goes some way to account for the gap between the two shows.

    I slept through high school math class, but if 40 percent of GOT’s first-airing 3.9 million viewers are women (1.56 million viewers), and 52 percent of TB’s 5.5 million viewers are women (2.86 million viewers), that’s a difference in female viewers of 1.3 million per week, not far off the difference between 3.9 million and 5.5 million. I guess we know who those folks are now, don’t we?

  142. Maxwell James
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    Yep. While I can’t say I’m persuaded by your Skarsgard argument, on the broader issue of whether GoT is as appealing as it could be for female viewers, I think you’re basically correct.

  143. Claidheamh
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Adam B.:
    Don’t get me wrong, the show is still worth watching, but I no longer consider it “based” off the books. It is an entirely different fantasy show that is eerily similar to GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Like a really well made Chinese rip off…

    I’d much rather have authenticity than accuracy, really.

  144. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Alan: I wouldn’t count NCW completely out yet. The character has a shot in Season 3 and 4 to make a strong impression. I

    Hope springs eternal, but the NCW romantic-hero train has left the station. A guy in his mid-forties, particularly one with a no-nudity clause in his contract, isn’t going to capture a female HBO audience if he hasn’t done it by now. Seriously. By the time S4 airs, NCW will be forty-five, and it won’t matter what Jaime Lannister does or doesn’t do in GOT. NCW was too old for the part to begin with (since his “twin,” Headey, is currently 37—which just goes to show you about ageism and women in Hollywood), and I’m saying this as someone old enough to be all these actors’ mother, combined.

  145. DH87
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Maxwell James,

    The only way we’ll ever know for certain about the “Skarsgard effect” on TB is if the show continues without him once all of their contracts are up next year. I’d bet any amount of money it will not, primarily because the contractual leads, Paquin and Moyer, would not want to risk “proof” that the show tanked with them and without him. They are starting a family, something female first leads like Paquin rarely do in the middle of a successful show run. I think they have one foot out the door already, with Alan Ball’s departure.

    It will be interesting to see if the TB ratings hold up the week after GOT ends.

  146. Meg
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Kit and Richard are reaaaally hot, but they’re painfully uninteresting as far as characters go. IMO they need more snark, swagger, and panache if they want to attract female viewers. Robb and Jon are as dumb as bricks.

  147. Dennis
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    I wish there was a reason for them to cast Bill Nighy for a part in GoT. Ever since I saw Charles Dance in Underworld: Awakening I have been thinking how awesome it would be to have both of those very commanding actors on the same show, let alone sharing scenes together.

    Christopher Lee would be another big name that could fill a role purely based on that epic voice alone.

    Granted none of those guys will draw many females ;-)

  148. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Sorry, but the character of Jaime Lannister was never going to be a romantic hero. Sure, his relationship with Brienne is sweet, but it is not sexual. And NCW will do fine as he ages. Sean Bean was 50 when he played Ned Stark. Brad Pitt is 47. Age is just a number. And men tend to age more gracefully than women.

  149. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    DH87:
    Maxwell James,

    The only way we’ll ever know for certain about the “Skarsgard effect” on TB is if the show continues without him once all of their contracts are up next year. I’d bet any amount of money it will not, primarily because the contractual leads, Paquin and Moyer, would not want to risk“proof” that the show tanked with them and without him. They are starting a family, something female first leads like Paquin rarely do in the middle of a successful show run. I think they have one foot out the door already, with Alan Ball’s departure.

    It will be interesting to see if the TB ratings hold up the week after GOT ends.

    I’ll give TB a chance this season, but if it is as terrible as last season then I may have to give up. I’m interested in the return of Russell, and this ‘Authority’ could be interesting. I don’t have any interest in an Eric and Bill bromance. I could care less about the werewolves. The dude who plays Alcide is a far worse actor than Kit Harrington. The show would be better if it was simply vampires and humans.

  150. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Dennis,

    Apropos of the above discussion, thirty years ago, Charles Dance was heart-throb material in “The Jewell in the Crown,” opposite the very able Geraldine James, and you can see why in his courtly seduction of Arya. GRRM doesn’t “do” romance at all well, and Vanessa Taylor has shown an adept hand in these scenes, beautifully directed, between two very unlikely parties

    Nighy also superb and might actually be available…..fun to consider, in any case.

  151. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    I have given it up as a steaming pile of craptastic; I’m interested in the ratings only.

    We’ve been promised by a new guest star many, many “exciting” scenes of court proceedings and Authority conclaves in the new season, something I, for one, will have no trouble missing.

    The only good thing about TB, other than the ascent of Skarsgard, is the puncturing, once and for all, I hope, of the ludicrous opinion that Alan Ball is a “genius” when it comes to script writing or adaptation of others’ material.

  152. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap: And men tend to age more gracefully than women.

    I knew there was a reason why Tywin and Arya seemed such a great match on screen! :)

  153. ThePinkDragon
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Theory 2: I think TB will eventually suffer from vampire burnout, really. Personally, I’m tired of these urban supernatural romance shows/movies/books — vampires, zombies, witches, shapeshifters, etc. TB is a little original as far as I can see in that people in that universe know the supernatural exists, but really, the rest, in my opinion, isn’t really anything new. The books may have existed before the Twilight trend, but nonetheless, I think the show came around the time vamps became big again.

    GoT has an advantage there — if the medieval fantasy genre is a fad, it’s been a fad for the last fifty years. And if GoT itself is a fad, it’s renewed every time there’s a major piece of news relating to either the show or the books.

  154. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    DH87,

    well it is GoT. no romance to be found there.
    That is a factor too I guess.

    on skarsgard vs coster waldau

    Since I dont watch TB. isnt the northman character one of three leads? did his role got upgarded to lead because skarsgard is skarsgard?
    how much screen time did both men have during there first two seasons?
    What were their story arcs? cause Jaime Lannisters story will never bring in those kinds of viewers…

  155. Lex
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    These ratings threads are brutal…

    Unreasonable panic and paranoia, and now a slight creepy discussion about NCW’s heart-throbbiness (or lack thereof).

    We need a Twitter post up in here.

  156. ThePinkDragon
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    Lex:
    now a slight creepy discussion about NCW’s heart-throbbiness (or lack thereof).

    I have to agree, if only because I don’t like the recent Western trend of people idolizing total creeps. And while I’m sure NCW is a lovely person IRL, Jaime is a weirdo, and I hope to God he’s not our Hot Guy Forerunner.

  157. HousLark
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    UK ratings have remained steady at around 850,000. That’s actually really good considering that it’s shown on a channel (Sky Atlantic) that less than a quarter of the population can access. Sky Atlantic is kind of the UKs version of HBO but Sky restricts other cable providers from carrying the channel.

    The ratings for GoT are double that of the next highest rated show on the channel (Blue Bloods) and about seven times higher than Mad Men which is also shown on the channel.

    The point is that Sky Atlantic is supposed to be a major part of Sky’s unique offering and GoT is the only show that gets close to a million viewers for them.

  158. surelay
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    DH87

    …Brad Pitt 48, George Clooney 50, Johnny Depp 49…

    … Matt Damon 41, Gerarld Buthler 43, Hugh Jackman 44 ….

    is not about the age!!!!!!!

    And sorry but NCW is in good form right now with European BO hit Headhunters, Mama with Jessica Chastain and Oblivion with Morgan Freeeman, Melissa Leo or Tom Cruise.

    NCW plays in another league.

    If you want female fanbase idols and poster boy actors like Skarsgard (36 years old!!!!) Richard Madden or Kit are a better example.

  159. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    ThePinkDragon,

    well the topic at least in my eyes is about that DH87 makes a point if GoT had a skarsgard/northman typ person it would have TB like rating, at least that is how I understand it.
    The problem with this the way I see it GRRM tries to tell us a person like that “Hot Guy Forerunner” is the rockstar/warrior. Full life/bad ending. alexander the great like.
    Khal Drogo
    oberyn martell
    Daario Naharis?

    does that make sense?

    Also TB & GoT are just so different from the groundup that a “Hot Guy Forerunner” in GoT alone will not make them more alike so too get the missing 1,3 million to get TB numbers.

  160. ASOIAF Fan
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    DH87,

    I’m not a big movie enthusiast but i know my stars.
    Never heard of skarsgard before seeing his name here or on some True Blood / GoT comparison articles.
    Never heard of the actor playing the lead in Mad Men either, i don’t even know his name.
    But i knew who Sean Bean or Charle Dance or even Peter Dinklage were before S1 of Game of Thrones.
    Obviously i watch neither True Blood nor Mad Men but NCW acting is just perfect for Jaime and i’m pretty sure that if skarsgard had the same acting level he wouldn’t be on True Blood.
    I’m not really sure i want to attract America’s next top model or another trash show viewers to GoT by replacing good actors by models unless of course you think that big stars like brad pitt or george clooney are waiting in line to have a part in GoT.

  161. Galway Gooner
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Adam B.,

    What a silly comment. Of course its still ASOIF, you dont expect it to be a 100% copy of the book, that would be impossible.
    It is as close to the book as is possible and any changes made have been pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.

  162. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    ASOIAF Fan,

    well both Hamm & Skarsgard had their breakthough with Mad Men & True Blood and just now start their big movie carreers and at least within the indusrty they are already big names.

  163. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    surelay:
    DH87

    If you want female fanbase idols and poster boy actors like Skarsgard (36 years old!!!!)Richard Madden or Kit are a better example.

    Fantasy books and shows with a romantic lead tend to fall into the trap of chivalrous schmaltz: think Arthurian legend, the Nibelungen saga, the LOTR etc. The good and pure hero (rarely the heroine) goes on a perilous journey, saves humanity and gets the girl. Been there, done that, yawn.

    GoT is modern adult subject matter, not medieval literature or young adult fiction. GRRM evidently wanted to explore the many shades of grey in-between good and evil, in a fantasy context. He deliberately made his physically attractive male characters either naive (Ned, Jon, Robb, Lancel), vulnerable (Drogo, Renly), twisted (Jaime, Viserys, Littlefinger, Joffrey, Theon, Jaqen), mercantilistic (Bronn), in thrall to a woman (Jorah, arguably Jon and Robb) or a shadow of their former selves (Robert).

    It’s usually the less attractive male characters that a.re smart (Tyrion, Tywin), empathetic (Tyrion), kind (the Hound, Samwell, Bran), loyal (Greatjon Umber, Davos) or rational (Varys, Spice King).

    The closest the show comes to conventional knights in shining armor are Mormont (senior and celibate), Loras (a brooding closeted homosexual) and Brienne (a freakishly tall, strong, homely woman out of touch with her gender).

    Would young women flock to GoT if the showrunners changed the story to make room for a handsome heterosexual male lead in the prime of his life who slew dragons and took his kit off every five minutes? Perhaps, but other viewers (male and female) would abandon the show in droves because such a change would ruin it’s whole raison d’être.

  164. K
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Wow, this is really pretty shallow and simplistic – the only way more women will tune in is if a hot actor is on the show? Please, it is all about the genre – sure, True Blood is also supernatural but it is set in a very familiar time and place – it is fantasy inserted into a seemingly realistic world. GoT is a world entirely unto its own and it is just a fact that men tend to be more drawn to this type of genre piece. For the record, I am a fantasy genre-loving WOMAN who was beyond thrilled when I heard that HBO was going to do this adaptation – ASoIaF is one of my all-time favorite series and I feel that overall the adaptation has been true to the SPIRIT of the source material. Have I spent more of my time trying to persuade my female friends and relatives to get on board? You bet I have, their usual argument is that it’s not the kind of thing they are in to. Not once have I heard, sorry, there aren’t enough hot guys on the show. The numbers are not worrisome, everyone take a deep breath and relax!

  165. art
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Jon Hamm (Mad men) and NCW are the same age.

  166. Winnie
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Yeah, seems silly to talk about, but I feel compelled to stick up for my guys Richard Madden and Kit Harington! I, personlly, would take watching Kit Harington over Alexander Skarsgard any day! I love watching him portray Jon Snow on screen. I think that there is plenty of compelling and “pretty” male characters for the ladies on GoT.
    I don’t think that is why women watch, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have nice looking men to look at, just like having attractive “hot” women on the show is a bonus for men. I think women watch for the same reason men watch; interesting characters, fantastic scenary, brilliant writing and acting. The thing with GoT, is that it is a heavy and dark story. That in itself that can be a turn off for some women,heck for some men. True Blood on the other hand, is campy and doesn’t require much thinking and work to watch. I think the rating are still great and don’t really get all the worry and debate regarding the “slight” drop. this show rocks and will be around for awhile!

  167. loco73
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Wow…people, stop freaking out! HBO has cancelled shows, but there have to be some serious reasons for them to do it! “True Blood” when it started was not an imediate success either, but look at the show now, its entering its fifth season. Not to mention “The Wire” which had low ratings throughout its 5-season run…same for “OZ”!

    This is to be expected, its normal, and it will probably happen again…I’d keep my eye on production costs which have a larger impact on a show’s viability and long-duration than even ratings.

  168. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Michael Tschuertz: well the topic at least in my eyes is about that DH87 makes a point if GoT had a skarsgard/northman typ person it would have TB like rating, at least that is how I understand it.

    It might come closer to such a level, yes.

    I’m not advocating for this solution; I’m not Skarsgard’s agent or Fassbender’s mother-in-law, neither do I personally “like” or “dislike” NCW. In the context of what would increase GOT ratings to the level of TB’s ratings, expanding a female audience would seem, based on the statistics Maxwell James provided, a solution.

    The True Blood Season 1 ratings were as follows: (in millions): 1.44; 1.81; 1.82; 1.82 (Skarsgard debuts). 1.13 (no Skarsgard); 1.82 (no Skarsgard); 2.10 (Skarsgard’s performance, based on upcoming storylines, begins to be promoted in web articles); 2.07 (containing a major Skarsgard nude scene); 2.35 (Skarsgard prominent from here to the end of the season); 2.47; 2.67; 2.45 (Thanksgiving weekend).

    The show received no particular critical acclaim—the first season of TB received a Metacritics score of 64, far below GOT’s first season 79. The appearance of the Skarsgard character was much anticipated by book fans, but virtually no critic heralded the arrival of Skarsgard based on the screeners he/she received, prior to the overwhelming fan reaction to the actor.

    The ratings for the show skyrocketed after the first season DVDs appeared, but word of mouth was high throughout the winter, as was Internet buzz on Skarsgard. Arguably, since all other elements remained constant, the Skarsgard effect added almost one million viewers to this show in eight weeks. I invite anyone to explain this coincidence by some other means.

  169. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin: Would young women flock to GoT if the showrunners changed the story to make room for a handsome heterosexual male lead in the prime of his life who slew dragons and took his kit off every five minutes?

    Interestingly, the Skarsgard character on True Blood is an anti-hero, not a hero. He kills and tortures regularly and remorselessly, manipulates the heroine, lies when it suits him, and is a political animal. The supposed hero of the show is played by Stephen Moyer.

  170. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    art:
    Jon Hamm (Mad men) and NCW are the same age.

    Agree. They are just not at the same stage of their careers.

  171. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    hey i am all yours on that topic.

    the question is how you would do that. which new character would suit that. looking ahead I dont see such a character, well maybe in season 4.
    season 3 maybe the two male Tullys? the creep guy from the north?

    Also is skarsgard so good because of the role.
    Or is the role so good because of him?
    also given that TB is more light and not so grimm und hopeless(I have only watched the first 3 episode of TB) would the skarsgard factor even work?

  172. curtis
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    DH87

    In which stage of his career is Jon Hamm??? … give me a break!

  173. palmi
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    K: Wow, this is really pretty shallow and simplistic – the only way more women will tune in is if a hot actor is on the show? Please, it is all about the genre – sure, True Blood is also supernatural but it is set in a very familiar time and place – it is fantasy inserted into a seemingly realistic world.

    True.

    ASOIAF Fan: I’m not really sure i want to attract America’s next top model or another trash show viewers to GoT by replacing good actors by models unless of course you think that big stars like brad pitt or george clooney are waiting in line to have a part in GoT.

    True.

    why are we talking about NCW? I do not think he wants or is minimally interested in what Skarsgard is for True Blood.

    Richard or Kit are very young cute adorable boys, they are the ones that should attract the female audience.

  174. Yellow Dog
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Mike Miller: TastesLikeTheSea, This is the most accurate statement I read…Mother`s Day…In My family its like the Starks,Lannisters and Targaryen`s and one piss ant Frey getting together and the only one that makes any sense is Hoder…

    I like this game! Let’s see, my brother-in-law has to be Viserys – he thinks he’s the only one who knows anything about anything – and my father is Maester Luwin, and my niece is Walda Frey ….

  175. Yellow Dog
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    DH87: Hope springs eternal, but the NCW romantic-hero train has left the station. A guy in his mid-forties, particularly one with a no-nudity clause in his contract,

    Rats. I was so looking forward to the bath scene.

  176. Gonfaloniere
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    There are plenty of people who don’t share your distaste for NCW, DH87; many people, including myself, think NCW is incredibly handsome and charismatic. (He hasn’t appeared much in this season, but he’s also a very fine actor who’d been in much bigger budget movies than Jon Hamm was before “Mad Men” – Ridley Scott loved him from “Black Hawk Down”, no?) And Jaime’s future character arc in season 3 will give him a chance to show his acting chops, I think! (And re: the Jon Hamm comparisons, I have been trying to watch “Mad Men” because it’s so critically acclaimed and I just can’t get into it. It’s not that the characters are all uniformly unpleasant and shitty human beings, which they are, but I love “Breaking Bad” of which you could say the same; it’s that I just don’t care what happens to them. I’m slowly slogging through season 2, hoping that someone will give me a reason to care beyond wishing for a piano to fall on Pete Campbell.)

    I personally don’t find Kit Harrington all that interesting but again, that’s just my taste – to extrapolate from that and say that he’s not good-looking and no one likes him is a bit hasty!

  177. Alan
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Gonfaloniere:
    There are plenty of people who don’t share your distaste for NCW, DH87; many people, including myself, think NCW is incredibly handsome and charismatic. (He hasn’t appeared much in this season, but he’s also a very fine actor who’d been in much bigger budget movies than Jon Hamm was before “Mad Men” – Ridley Scott loved him from “Black Hawk Down”, no?)And Jaime’s future character arc in season 3 will give him a chance to show his acting chops, I think!

    I personally don’t find Kit Harrington all that interesting but again, that’s just my taste – to extrapolate from that and say that he’s not good-looking and no one likes him is a bit hasty!

    DH87′s point was not that NCW is not attractive nor a good actor. I have no idea his opinions on these, but that wasn’t the point.

    He does not think he is drawing as many female fans to GOT as Alexander Skarsgard does to TB. Some of his evidence is viewership splits and some is the amount of Hollywood roles that each are getting (as an indicator of at least perceived draw).

    I have no idea if he’s right or wrong on his points; they are logical but I personally don’t think real drawing power = perceived for more actors. But his point wasn’t about his personal perception of NCW’s looks or abilities.

  178. sjwenings
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog: Rats. I was so looking forward to the bath scene.

    ? I assume the “no nudity”-clause only means no penis. I doubt he’d be shy about sitting in a tub bare chested.

  179. Gonfaloniere
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Alan,

    DH87 defined “star power” as “being attractive to women” using Jon Hamm and Alexander Skarsgard as his example, and then went on to say that NCW lacks star power and is “too old” to play Jaime. However obliquely, I think that is definitely expressing an opinion on NCW’s attractiveness.

  180. palmi
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Alan: He does not think he is drawing as many female fans to GOT as Alexander Skarsgard does to TB. Some of his evidence is viewership splits and some is the amount of Hollywood roles that each are getting (as an indicator of at least perceived draw).

    and Kit Harington? and Richard Madden? and Iain Glen? and Jason Momoa (last season) ?

    I can not understand why we’re talking only about NCW drawing or no drawing female fans to GOT.

  181. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    palmi,

    DH87 brought NCW up as and example and speculated that he should have been the skarsgard of GoT. It is true that a part of the TB fandom watches just for him.
    I tend to agree with him about the skarsgard factor, but think that Got as a show and all the male lead roles are not suited for a skarsgard/northman like role.
    On the other hand it got me thinking about which future role may be suited for something like this.
    and Kit Harington? and Richard Madden?
    I guess they would be too young? also too early? on the other hand isnt Kit going to play king arthur in a blockbuster movie?
    and Iain Glen? too old?

  182. Alan
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    palmi: and Kit Harington? and Richard Madden? and Iain Glen? and Jason Momoa (last season) ?

    I can not understand why we’re talkingonly about NCW drawing or no drawing female fans to GOT.

    I don’t agree with everything he says. But two things are true:

    GOT has a decent female following, but it’s still 60% male whereas TB, for whatever reason, is closer to 50/50.

    Hollywood has not latched onto NCW or Kit or Richard like they have onto Skarsgard as a leading man. To me, does this mean that he draws and they don’t? No. But it does tend to mean Hollywood producers believe that. I’m just the sort of arrogant SOB to think I know better than them, but they do get paid to figure these things out.

    I think it is safe to say that while Jon or NCW or Richard have their fans amongst people watching the show, there aren’t a lot of people tuning in just for them. That may actually just be a credit to the show — it’s not something people just watch for eye candy. But for whatever reason, few people are watching to follow an actor.

    DH87 and I will disagree on how many people do that for other shows, but I don’t think that changes the fact that if Richard Madden were to disappear on the cast, we wouldn’t see an appreciable dip. His thought is that when Skarsgard leaves TB, we will see a sizeable dip.

  183. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Michael Tschuertz: Also is skarsgard so good because of the role.
    Or is the role so good because of him?
    also given that TB is more light and not so grimm und hopeless(I have only watched the first 3 episode of TB) would the skarsgard factor even work?

    The role of Eric was “made” for Skarsgard—height, , build, age, ethnicity, charisma, etc. He has been named Sweden’s Sexiest Man Alive for five or six years in a row. He dates mainstream actresses (Charlize Theron is rumored to be the latest). He shares other attributes with the book character that modesty requires I only allude to. That said, he has brought to life an immensely attractive anti-hero, and is the actor consistently voted not only the most popular among the fandom but also delivering the best performance on the show.

    True Blood is about death, alienation, and social upheaval. (Sound familiar)? According to creator Alan Ball, it grapples with the Jungian concepts of “archetypes, the subconscious, mythology, and with fullfillment” (Rolling Stone interview). It is considered part of the horror genre, not drama, so it is as dark, or darker, than epic fantasy, by definition. What it does attempt to add is humor.

  184. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Alan: I have no idea if he’s right or wrong on his points; they are logical but I personally don’t think real drawing power = perceived for more actors. But his point wasn’t about his personal perception of NCW’s looks or abilities.

    Thanks, Alan. Exactly.
    And in the interest of full disclosure, I am actually a lady—and a romance novelist and book editor by profession.

  185. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    palmi: I can not understand why we’re talking only about NCW drawing or no drawing female fans to GOT.

    I believe it was based upon my opinion that the Jaime character, given its prominence, is the closest thing to a marquee leading-man role in the books and Nina Gold, no stranger to casting leading men, cast it as such. You may agree or disagree.

  186. palmi
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Alan: Hollywood has not latched onto NCW or Kit or Richard like they have onto Skarsgard as a leading man. To me, does this mean that he draws and they don’t? No. But it does tend to mean Hollywood producers believe that. I’m just the sort of arrogant SOB to think I know better than them, but they do get paid to figure these things out.

    I think it is safe to say that while Jon or NCW or Richard have their fans amongst people watching the show, there aren’t a lot of people tuning in just for them. That may actually just be a credit to the show — it’s not something people just watch for eye candy. But for whatever reason, few people are watching to follow an actor.

    But imho they are different cases. And Alexander is filming TB since 2009!!!

    About NCW or Kit’s careers, NCW has filmed two movies this year, a Guillermo del Toro produced movie, Mama in which he is the main actor with Jessica Chastain and Sci-Fi Blockbuster Oblivion with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman.

    And Kit has filmed a movie with the great Jeff Bridges, The sevent son.

    I think they are in a very good position.

  187. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    palmi: Richard or Kit are very young cute adorable boys,

    I’m not sure you understand four-quadrant viewing patterns. Adult women viewers are typically not attracted to post-teens unless they’re playing pool boys in adult films. Unlike men, women have difficulty in envisioning post-teens as fantasy romantic partners. Kit and Richard are playing these women’s sons, not their lovers. Juvenile girls, who are attracted to the Kits and Richards, are not the quadrant this show has any hope of attracting, IMO.

  188. Gonfaloniere
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    DH87

    I’m genuinely not trying to be rude or snarky here, but is your opinion that Nina Gold cast NCW as the leading man of GoT and that the producers were trying to sell Jaime as a romantic leading man based on any actual information about the casting process, or is it just your opinion? (In the interests of full disclosure, I write recaps of the show for a romance website and most of the people with whom I discuss the show with the exception of my husband are women. My husband loves Jaime but he doesn’t count for the purposes of this discussion.) What I’m getting at is that I don’t necessarily find your anecdotal evidence any more convincing or persuasive than my own anecdotal evidence so if you do have some special insider knowledge, then I’d love to hear it.

    In general, I think people who want the “True Blood”-ification of “Game of Thrones” are simply ignoring all the evidence that “Game of Thrones” is much more popular outside the US than either of HBO’s other marquee shows of the moment (“True Blood” and “Boardwalk Empire.”) HBO made A LOT of money selling this show in other countries, as you know – there have been plentiful articles about how successful they were with GoT in Europe and elsewhere.

    If it ain’t broke, I don’t think they need to fix it, to be honest, and certainly not by shoehorning in characters to appeal some demographic that you think they should appeal to. I’m would argue that Talisa who may or may not be a beefed up version of Jeyne Westerling and her budding romance with Robb were meant to appeal to female viewers and so far, based again solely on anecdotal evidence, that’s just not working.

    Also, Jon Hamm’s star power seems to have gotten “Mad Men” its highest ratings ever – 3.5 million for their season 5 premiere – which was less than “Game of Thrones” second season premiere. AMC is much more widely available than HBO and, as you pointed out, Jon Hamm has gotten loads of accolades from the industry, so wouldn’t your logic lead us to believe that his star power is less than that of the GoT cast?

  189. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    curtis: In which stage of his career is Jon Hamm??? … give me a break!

    He’s just been cast as the lead in a big-six-studio role (Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm”); has been nominated for a Best Actor Emmy every year “Mad Men” was eligible and for Best Guest Star —twice—for “30 Rock,” won the Golden Globe, the CCTA and the Television Critics Association Best Actor awards and was nominated in at least one category every year eligible for those three groups since 2008, has been one of the most popular hosts of “Saturday Night Live,” and last appeared in the megahit “Bridesmaids.”

    For starters.

  190. palmi
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    DH87: I’m not sure you understand four-quadrant viewing patterns. Adult women viewers are typically not attracted to post-teens unless they’re playing pool boys in adult films. Unlike men, women have difficulty in envisioning post-teens as fantasy romantic partners. Kit and Richard are playing these women’s sons, not their lovers. Juvenile girls, who are attracted to the Kits and Richards, are not the quadrant this show has any hope of attracting, IMO

    Oh sure… NCW or Sean Bean or Iain Glen are old and uncharismatic and Kit or Richard are very young!!!!!!!

    We need for the GOT a mediocre but Sweden’s Sexiest Man Alive for five or six years in a row actor like Skarsgard.

  191. bela
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Bridesmaids? Jon Hamm was only in an uncredited cameo.

  192. palmi
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Gonfaloniere: Also, Jon Hamm’s star power seems to have gotten “Mad Men” its highest ratings ever – 3.5 million for their season 5 premiere – which was less than “Game of Thrones” second season premiere. AMC is much more widely available than HBO and, as you pointed out, Jon Hamm has gotten loads of accolades from the industry, so wouldn’t your logic lead us to believe that his star power is less than that of the GoT cast?

    Mad Men also need Sweden’s Sexiest Man Alive for five or six years in a row actor Skarsgard.

  193. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Gonfaloniere,

    Not snarky at all. No inside-the-show knowledge on my part whatsoever.
    I have made somewhat of a study of some recent HBO film adaptations for reasons of my own. I try to follow the industry online reasonably closely, including Deadline Hollywood, the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, etc., critics, and statements, interviews, and blog posts of the authors on which the film material is based. I also pitch romance novels to major publishing houses and am a member of —blah, blah, blah, who cares. I’ll leave it at that.

    What is a bit frustrating in this backing and forthing is that each response to my posts seems to put words in my mouth that I haven’t used and then challenge them. I never said that “Nina Gold cast NCW as the leading man of GoT and that the producers were trying to sell Jaime as a romantic leading man.” I did post that within the context of GOT, “NCW was expected to fill the traditional ‘male romantic lead’ [in quotes] role, but unfortunately, he has not delivered” and I stand behind that statement. Within the context of Game of Throness, the character of Jaime is the closest thing to a traditional male romantic lead, IMO, so logic would indicate that a casting director would seek someone who could fill it. Nina Gold, IMO, has done so in the casting of NCW. Would she have liked/expected NCW to be the next Skarsgard? Who wouldn’t, if he indeed has the influence on TB ratings I think he does? Does a break-out star need to dominate every episode to goose ratings or does the plot arc of the show need to be turned upside down to accommodate him? No, as I indicated with the 5 minutes per ep Skarsgard has gotten since the first season of the show, for a total of under 50 minutes of screen time in four years.

    B the definitions I’ve attempted to enumerate, there is no evidence that NCW is helping the two-quadrant appeal of the show, which is the context of this whole discussion. It doesn’t mean he hasn’t —there’s just no evidence that he has. HBO holds focus groups and sends out viewer questionaires; entertainment online sites sponsor polls; HBO interns and actors’ publicists read blogs and blog comments to glean that information. They know more than we do.

    HBO and Alan Ball certainly did not expect Skarsgard to break out on TB, by virtue of his billing as one of a dozen “regular” performers—he wasn’t even one of the FIVE leads (in billing order, Paquin, Moyer, Trammel, Kwanten, and Wesley), for the first three years of the show and was only added as the sixth-billed lead in year 4. It is a subject of intense online discussion as to why the obvious star of the show has not had his status upgraded and his plot arc expanded, but he hasn’t, making Skarsgard a unique case for the almost-invisible man being the main draw for a show for going on five years. It would take Karl Jung himself to analyze why AB chose to structure his show that way; I certainly have my opinion.

  194. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Gonfaloniere: Jon Hamm has gotten loads of accolades from the industry, so wouldn’t your logic lead us to believe that his star power is less than that of the GoT cast?

    As I said up-thread, Mad Men has other audience-limiting problems that have nothing to do with Mr. Hamm. I think it is more helpful to imagine what the same show’s ratings/buzz would be without him. He was beautifully cast. That said, Hamm just said On “Inside the Actors Studio,” that he had to audition seven times for the role of Don Draper primarily because “someone didn’t think he was sexy enough.” So there you go.

  195. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    And, for what probably should be my final post on this subject (at this point I’m even boring myself) I’ll add that Skarsgard auditioned for the male lead role on TB, Bill Compton (neither his agent nor he are dummies) and didn’t get it.

    Stephen Moyer got the nod only after HBO turned down Alan Ball’s first three choices for the role, for unspecified reasons, according to AB (TB first season DVD). Thus are casting decisions made, by Nina Gold or anyone else, I suppose.

  196. Alan
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    DH87: Thanks, Alan. Exactly.
    And in the interest of full disclosure, I am actually a lady—and a romance novelist and book editor by profession.

    No problem. And I’m sorry I didn’t pick up that you are a woman. I’m sorry if I offended you in any way.

    This has been a fun conversation that I’m sure will be renewed. I think some other folks just need to realize that no one is really criticizing the show here.

  197. DH87
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Alan,

    No offense taken at all; it’s a natural assumption given that 90 percent of the posters here seem to be gentlemen. Agree that no one is criticizing the show, just analyzing it. And as another “last word,” I correct my statement that GRRM doesn’t write romance—he doesn’t in ASoIaF, but did so perfectly well in “Beauty and the Beast.”

  198. Alexander Dubrovsky
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    palmi: Butimho they are different cases. And Alexander is filming TB since 2009!!!

    About NCW or Kit’s careers, NCW has filmed two movies this year, a Guillermo del Toro produced movie, Mama in which he isthe main actor with Jessica Chastain and Sci-Fi Blockbuster Oblivion with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman.

    And Kit has filmed a movie withthe great Jeff Bridges, The sevent son.

    I think they are in a verygood position.

    NCW was also in Norwegian thriller called Headhunters. Seriously, go and watch it if you haven’t already seen it, it’s a great movie.

  199. Gonfaloniere
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    DH87, thank you for clarifying what you meant about NCW and Jaime, but then I have to say that I find the idea that Jaime Lannister is the closest thing the show has to a traditional romantic lead deeply puzzling. Jaime isn’t a romantic lead in the least (certainly not in the first two seasons of the show and only questionably so after his redemption arc whatever the show makes of it); at best he is the snarky, badass villain who is popular (to some degree) because of his wit, but I truly don’t see how anyone could look at a man who, in the first episode of the series, is revealed to be having an incestuous affair with his twin sister and then tries to murder a young boy to hide that affair as romantic lead material :P

    Thus, your initial premise, which is that the show was trying to create a romantic lead, and that they miscast Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the romantic lead role is already deeply flawed, IMO.

    People who have not read the books (and even many people who have read the books) read Jaime as a villain, pure and simple – an attractive and witty one, but a villain nonetheless. Indeed, your premise is actually contradicted by David Benioff in his commentary to the latest episode where he mentions that the murder of Alton Lannister was explicitly put in there because they wanted the audience to remember Jaime is a monster and not romanticize him!

    So if it was never the intent of the producers to have Jaime be their romantic lead, I don’t see how Nina Gold casting NCW as Jaime failed in a goal that she never had in the first place. (And I absolutely disagree that he’s “too old” or otherwise wrong for Jaime – in a superlative cast, he is one of the figures who absolutely embodies his role. Although I strongly disliked the writing for him in the most recent episode, I have no fault to find with the actor in the role.)

    As for other romantic leads, well, how about Khal Drogo, who fits all the Sheikh novels of the 1920s to a T? Or the aged-up Robb Stark (I know that you think Richard Madden is “too young” to be the hot male lead but I suspect that a LOT of the audience disagrees with you based on Robb’s popularity) – Robb IS a romantic construct (and one of the reasons I dislike the show version of Robb is that I feel that the show is playing him straight, whereas Martin’s portrayal of a young boy who is militarily gifted but in way over his head is a lot more subtle and interesting than a bog standard Young Fantasy Hero undone by love and treachery. And then there’s Jon – again, in your opinion, that’s not a romantic role, but in fact, Jon is basically the hero of every fairy tale ever, the least-regarded son who ends up saving the Kingdom and marrying the princess and all the rest. And again, while you disagree, a LOT of women find Kit Harrington extremely attractive.

    In the end, I feel like you’re “explaining” things based on your own biases (which is totally fine and obviously all of us do it) but … I sort of question the authoritative way in which you’ve been discussing the need for an Alexander Skarsgard to raise the ratings in a particular demographic for GoT. (And the most-watched show HBO ever aired – “The Sopranos” – had no romantic leads whatsoever, and very few male characters who even passably attractive. Yet it still managed to be gripping – for the most part – and highly entertaining tv.)

  200. Fer
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    I agree big name stars are not a defining factos, but if the show got to a 4 season, I think it would be a good idea to hire a big name for Oberyn Martell

  201. palmi
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Alexander Dubrovsky: NCW was also in Norwegian thriller called Headhunters. Seriously, go and watch it if you haven’t already seen it, it’s a great movie.

    Jo Nesbo’s novel adaptation?

    I’d love to see the movie. The reviews have been excellent (93% rottentomatoes), the highest grossing foreign language release this year at the UK box office and very good numbers in USA with a limited release and subtitles.

    And looks like Headhunters is already being fastracked for an American adaptation with my hated Mark Wahlberg.

  202. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    DH87,

    ah thanks for the info. He is also a 5 minutes per episode guy and not even number 3 on the credits? interesting.
    also thanks for the info that TB is darker then I thought it is.

    Their is maybe a role in season 4 for that but he last only one season.
    in Danys storyline there may be a role like that.

  203. cute
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Alexander Dubrovsky: NCW was also in Norwegian thriller called Headhunters. Seriously, go and watch it if you haven’t already seen it, it’s a great movie.

    Great movie.

    Gonfaloniere: In the end, I feel like you’re “explaining” things based on your own biases (which is totally fine and obviously all of us do it) but … I sort of question the authoritative way in which you’ve been discussing the need for an Alexander Skarsgard to raise the ratings in a particular demographic for GoT. (And the most-watched show HBO ever aired – “The Sopranos” – had no romantic leads whatsoever, and very few male characters who even passably attractive. Yet it still managed to be gripping – for the most part – and highly entertaining tv.)

    No other series come close to the Sopranos.

  204. DH87
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Gonfaloniere,

    I draw distinctions between heroes, anti-heroes, and romantic leads. Although you find Jaime a badass villain, NCW seems to feel differently. In a Q&A on the HBO website, a live-chat poster calls Jaime “a character who really is deep down an honorable man living in a callous world [walking] around with his armor of callousness…while all the while…struggling with all the pettiness he sees.” NCW agrees, saying “that is what makes him a great character and why I think we all at some level identify with Jaime,” and “it’s all in the name of love…it’s at his core, I think.” That sounds to me like a romantic lead, doesn’t it?

  205. DH87
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Also I mentioned NCW’s age in the context of being matched with Headey’s 37-year old “twin” as well as the context of Hollywood’s sweet spot. A just published Yahoo.com survey names TV’s Ten Hottest Men (cough cough). Surprise: two are under age 30, one is over 40, and 7 are 30-35 (Skarsgard, btw, was #4). Not fair, not something everyone agrees with, but Hollywood reality.

    Re: The Sopranos, your point is well taken but note that Nielsen used flawed reporting pre-2004 in its ratings for that HBO hit, since it included viewers of all HBO channels in the aggregate rather than for the Sopranos-airing prime channel only. Interestingly the number of subscribers in ’04 was about the same as now (28 million), down from 41 million in 2009.

    I addressed the Jason Momoa issue up-thread so won’t repeat here. Finally, if I sound “authoritative,” perhaps it’s because I try to provide sources for my opinions, just as a matter of courtesy, when I can. I would be interested in hearing what other ideas folks have for hitting TB-like numbers, other than writing in occasional episode cliffhangers.

  206. else
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    The Hollywood REALITY?

    Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Robert Downey Junior, Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, Ben Aflleck, Clive Owen, Daniel Craig, Gerarld Butler, Keanu Reeves, Russel Crowe…

    And now can we move on pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  207. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    else,

    it is TVs Hottest Men.

    on topic:
    skarsgard & Hamm both happen. As DH87 has indicated somethingl ike that you cant plan.
    Dh87 you come up with the idea to offer a big actor a role. I guess the showrunners would only do that if they get extra budget for that. otherwise the quality of the show would suffer. Let Nina Gold work her casting magic and she may yet find a man like that.
    Rating-wise I still say:
    What are the total number for the episodes? still 11 million? more? less?
    Season final numbers?
    Season 3 first numbers.

    Right now we can guess that the show more or less found its viewers. One can also guess that given the plot, that we may only see real growth between season.
    What we shouldnt do is panic. GoT Future looks good.

  208. Gonfaloniere
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    DH87: NCW agrees, saying “that is what makes him a great character and why I think we all at some level identify with Jaime,” and “it’s all in the name of love…it’s at his core, I think.” That sounds to me like a romantic lead, doesn’t it?

    Well, that is NCW’s opinion of his character NOT the producers’ opinion of his character. And he is very defensive of Jaime in his interviews (which I find quite charming, by the way) but I’ve never seen anything said by the producers that THEY see Jaime as a romantic lead or ever have seen him as that character. And unless you can show me that they do, then I will not buy that Nina Gold has supposedly failed in casting NCW as a romantic lead because that was never her job. As I said in one of my responses to you, I think the comments by David Benioff that Jaime is a monster who shouldn’t be romanticized completely undercut your argument!

    Moreover, although Jaime is a romantic at heart (I do think “the things I do for love” are at the core of his character), that doesn’t in the least make him a romantic lead. Over and over, the books show the destructive, terrible impact of love - Tyrion’s unrelenting desire to be loved by anyone, Jaime’s poisonous love for Cersei, Littlefinger’s thwarted love for Catelyn Stark, or outside the realm of sexual love, Ned’s love for his dead sister – all lead these men into terrible life choices – and those are only a few examples. I think Martin describes the importance of love to human existence very beautifully, but he is never in the business of creating a romantic leading man in the books, and I think by and large the TV series isn’t deviating from that too much despite the attempted creation of a romance for Robb out of the books’ more cynical tale of a teenaged boy feeling horny!

    So, essentially I just disagree with your initial premise – that there is a romantic lead in the story at all, that Jaime is somehow the main candidate for that role, or that therefore Nina Gold/NCW have failed in their appointed tasks. And I think the whole discussion is quite moot since I feel that HBO doesn’t have anything to worry about with the ratings/number of viewers anyway; the slight drop of this week’s episode could simply be a question of statistical variation and the show is a huge cultural phenomenon in a way that some of my favorite HBO shows – though of, IMO, greater quality than “Game of Thrones” – never were. (I’m talking about “Deadwood” and “The Wire”, of course, although the latter has continued to grow in popularity after it went off the air, and HBO was great about letting the show play according to its creators’ vision despite its low ratings and lack of awards. Indeed, I basically can’t take the Emmys seriously because they never nominated that great show!)

    BUT I do want to say that I’ve enjoyed the discussion with you and I thank you for your tremendous patience and courtesy in reiterating your points!


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