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I Love HBO

I Love HBO

I really do. While they may be hitting a bit of a road block in the wake of the end of the three big series that start with “S” that essentially gave HBO their golden era, they are not stooping to network-levels of easy entertainment to restore their ratings gold. They might not have Weeds or Rescue Me (arguably my two favourite US cable series right now), but I do love Flight of the Conchords and Tell Me You Love Me, and love that they were easily renewed despite low ratings. I love that challenging and ambitious series like The Wire and Deadwood lasted as long as they did. And I love that the new crop of shows coming soon are following similar paths. Case in point is In Treatment, which HBO has committed to weeks of 5-nights-a-week new episodes. Weeks! Despite a likely unpopular premise and no ratings results in until February. And Diane Wiest is in it! Take a look at EW’s breakdown after the jump. Pay particular attention to HBO program planning chief David Baldwin’s quote: “We don’t worry about premiere ratings or selling ads.” If it was any other network, I’d think he was lying.

From EW:

In a scheduling first for the premium cabler, HBO will air its new half-hour scripted drama In Treatment on a nightly basis beginning Jan. 28. The show, based on a hit Israeli series, stars Gabriel Byrne (Usual Suspects) as a psychotherapist. Each night’s show will focus on a different therapy patient, over a nine-week run: Melissa George (Alias) plays Laura on Mondays; Blair Underwood (Dirty Sexy Money) plays Alex on Tuesdays, newcomer Mia Wasikowska plays Sophie on Wednesdays, Embeth Davidtz (Fracture) and Josh Charles (Sports Night) play a married couple on Thursdays, and Byrne sees his own therapist played by Dianne Wiest (Bullets Over Broadway) on Fridays. The drama is exec produced by Rodrigo Garcia (Big Love) and Entourage’s Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson.
HBO program planning chief David Baldwin says that unlike broadcast networks, HBO can strip a scripted show like Treatment over five nights because “we don’t worry about premiere ratings or selling ads.” If anything, he says, the show is custom-made for the way most people watch HBO today: HBO expects most Treatment viewers will either DVR the episodes to watch later or buy episodes via HBO on Demand.

Although each episode essentially takes place in one room, Baldwin hopes viewers will give the show a chance. “On paper, this show sounds boring: ‘Watching and listening to therapy sessions!'” he says. “But the way [director Paris Barclay] uses sound and camera angles and shows the dynamic tension of the dialogue, it’s really really cool stuff. It’s like looking into somebody’s windows.”

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