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FX chief rues Damages low ratings

Damages, Season 2

Story by Jack Foley

JOHN Landgraf, president of pioneering channel FX, has spoken of his disappointment that Emmy-nominated legal drama Damages hasn’t attracted more viewers on US TV.

The second season of the Glenn Close drama failed to attract the viewer figures he’d been hoping for, although a significant percentage of the show’s US fanbase elected to watch episodes in chunks at a time on DVD and online, rather than following it week to week during its Wednesday timeslot.

Speaking at a Television Critics’ Association panel in the US, Landgraf said: ““I was plainly disappointed with the ratings. You can’t watch five out of 13 episodes. You’re in or you’re out. A lot of people play catch up with that show but [ratings compiler] Nielsen doesn’t even acknowledge it if you watch after seven days.”

He continued: “I think that type of programming doesn’t particularly suit the current programming environment and lifestyle of most people. I think they’re more interested in dating than marriage when it come to shows.

“It’s both exciting and also disconcerting that after a show like Damages comes on the air, we keep hearing for the rest of the year, ‘I finally caught up with it,’ or ‘I bought the DVD, and I watched it’. We got zero credit for that whatsoever from Nielsen or from any advertisers.”

FX set to extend Rescue Me and launch Lawman

Speaking at the same panel, Landgraf unveiled some good news for one of Damage‘s stars, Timothy Olyphant, whose new show Lawman is set for a launch next March.

Based on a series of stories by Elmore Leonard, the programme will find Olyphant (of Deadwood fame) playing a US Marshall who must return to his Kentucky home after spending time in Miami.

Dennis Leary’s fireman drama Rescue Me is also set to have its next run extended from 18 to a possible 22.

The provocative firehouse drama is currently in the middle of its 22-episode fifth season in the US and will launch the new season in spring or summer next year.

Nip/Tuck, another of FX’s longest running shows, is currently about to begin its final season.