Cinemax’s first primetime original series, actioner Strike Back, got off to a promising start Friday, drawing 567,000 viewers for its premiere 10 PM across Cinemax’s universe of 16.7 million homes. That was Cinemax’s best ratings performance in the time slot in six years, since a broadcast of Titanic in 2005. Including the 11 PM and 12 AM repeats, Strike Back averaged 1.1 million viewers. The debut of Strike Back was on par with the 2010 premiere of Starz’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which drew 659,000 viewers in the same Friday 10 PM slot when available in 21.6 million homes. Of the more recent pay cable premieres, Strike Back was comparable to Showtime’s Episodes and Starz’s Torchwood: Miracle Day when the channels’ distribution is taken into account. Here is a list of recent pay cable premieres:
Meanwhile, there is promising signs for Lifetime’s new drama Against the Wall following its soft start three weeks ago with 1.8 million viewers. In Week 2, the series held even in total viewers and ticked up 2% in adults 18-49 to 651,000. Then, in its third airing last night, the family/cop drama grew in all ratings categories, including total viewers (1.9 million, up 6%) and adults 18-49 (705,000, up 8%).
EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime’s new president and general manager Nancy Dubuc is putting her stamp on the female-centered cable network with her first scripted series orders. Lifetime has picked up to series two female-driven cop dramas, Against the Wall and Exit 19, for a launch later this year.
The orders, both for 13 episodes, can’t come soon enough for Lifetime, which desperately needs more original scripted programming. It is down to two scripted series – veteran Army Wives, which was renewed for a fifth season, and dramedy Drop Dead Diva, which has been picked up for a third season. The last scripted series premieres on the network were in 2009 (Diva and the short-lived comedy Sherri). Because of Lifetime’s acquisition by A&E Networks, Lifetime held off on development from mid-2009, when the deal was announced, until May 1, 2010 when History president and general manager Nancy Dubuc took over as Lifetime’s new president and general manager. She dived into development, reading piles of scripts identified by Lifetime’s development team led by JoAnn Alfano. “Over the last several months, we have been working tirelessly on a new development slate of scripted dramas, nonfiction series and original movies at Lifetime,” Dubuc said stressing that “continuing our legacy of great scripted dramas is critical” to the network’s success. She cited the newly picked-up Against the Wall and Exit 19 as examples of the “high-quality auspices …
EXCLUSIVE: Mehcad Brooks has become the first actor from a cancelled fall series to line up a new pilot gig. Brooks, who had been in demand since the cancellation of ABC’s My Generation, has been tapped to co-star on USA Network’s pilot Necessary Roughness. Meanwhile, Marisa Ramirez, Brandon Quinn and and Chris Johnson have joined Lifetime’s pilot Against the Wall. Roughness, from Sony TV, centers on tough, sexy Long Island divorcee Danielle Santino (Callie Thorne), who, to make ends meet, becomes the therapist for a professional football team and quickly becomes sought after by other athletes, musicians, politicians and those living in the spotlight. Brooks will play one of her clients: a star wide receiver for the Hawks who has been unable to hold onto the ball recently while regularly getting into trouble with the law. Initially pissed about being forced into counseling with Dani, he winds up bonding closely with her. Brooks, who had a memorable season-long arc on HBO’s True Blood as Eggs, is repped by Innovative and Mosaic.
EXCLUSIVE: Treat Williams has been tapped to star opposite Rachael Carpani in Lifetime’s drama pilot Against the Wall. Written by Annie Brunner and to be directed by Dean Parisot, Against the Wall is a family drama set in Chicago following policewoman Abby Kowalski (Carpani), who causes a rift with her three cop brothers when she decides to join the department’s Internal Affairs division. Williams will play Abby’s dad, an old-school career Chicago cop who is rough around the edges but has a real soft spot for his only daughter until she tells him of her new gig, news that makes him feel hurt and angry. Universal Cable Prods. is producing. Williams, whose series credits include the WB’s Everwood, TNT’s Heartland and ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, on which he had a recurring role, is seen in 2 movies this fall: Howl and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. He is with APA and the Schiff Co.