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HBO on fence if it wants to make it in America again

April 5, 2010 |  3:00 pm

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HBO hasn't decided if "How to Make It in America" will make it to a second season.

The show, which wrapped up its eight-episode run Sunday night, follows a group of 20-something New Yorkers trying to make it their mark in the fashion and design worlds. Described as either "Sex and the City" for the bridge and tunnel crowd or what would have happened to "Entourage's" Vinnie and Eric if they never left Queens, "How to Make It In America" has struggled to find an audience.

The first seven episodes of "How to Make It in America" averaged fewer than 1 million viewers on its Sunday night run. Even for a pay cable channel such as HBO that does not count on ratings as much as commercial TV networks, that is a small number. If one factors in viewing for episodes of the show from HBO on-demand, digital video recorders and repeat airings, the figure grows to just under 3 million.

From Mark Wahlberg, whose production company also makes "Entourage" and "In Treatment," HBO insiders say the show has been tracking well with younger viewers. However, that may not be enough to ensure a second season. While the pay cable channel has often carried shows for several seasons that have strong critical acclaim but small audiences such as David Simon's "The Wire," "How to Make It in America" has not attained that feverish devotion of so many other HBO shows.

But the Wahlberg connection may be enough to buy it a second season. The executive producers -- Stephen Levinson and Rob Weiss -- are going to be discussing a second season with creator Ian Edelman and then will make their case to HBO.

In the show's favor is that it is not expensive. Furthermore, HBO rarely gives up on a show after just one season. Even "Mind of the Married Man" got a sophomore year.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: HBO's "How to Make in America." Credit: Eric Liebowitz / Associated Press.

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