Life can be hard out there for a vampire. You can only go outside for around 6 hours a day, there are more than a handful of anti-fangers who want you dead and a wary population means that blood is a commodity. Not only this, but as the season six premiere of HBO’s bloodthirsty drama, True Blood, showed, it’s not particularly easy for a vampire to get good ratings either.
True Blood has, for the most part, always been HBO’s most successful show, after long-running mafia series The Sopranos ended. Yes, True Blood is even more successful than critical hit Game of Thrones. However, everyone’s favourite dragon-whispering, medieval time tv show looks set to usurp True Blood at the top.
On Sunday night, where True Blood took over Game of Thrones’ timeslot of Sunday nights at 9pm, the show’s season six premiere reached highs of 4.5 million viewers (on average) according to Nielsen, the tv ratings specialist. Now while this may seem paltry in comparison to the Game of Thrones season 3 average of 13.4 million viewers, especially the ever popular show dominated the same timeslot, HBO shows always have particularly strong DVR numbers, but those figures have yet to be released. True Blood was also having to bite back at strong competition from the sports heavyweight that is the NBA Finals, which was airing on ABC at the same time.
HBO also need not be worried that their show’s massive fanbase is losing any internet in Sookie Stackhouse and the lives of her ragtag group of supernatural friends as plenty of pairs of eyeballs tuned into the fan centred True Blood related show that aired before it. At 8:45pm, HBO aired a show called “True Blood: Live from the Set.” which garnered interest of 2.3 million viewers (on average), ratings also according to Nielsen. What this indicates is that the ratings of True Blood’s season six premiere, which were 13% down over last year’s season premiere ratings, were likely just down due to some seriously stiff competition and that the show’s fang fanatics aren’t planning on ditching the show just yet.
However, there is also a small likelihood that people just didn’t want to watch. HBO have no doubt considered this very possibility as season 6 of True Blood is the very first season to take place without esteemed and popular showrunner Alan Ball at the helm. This is down to Ball leaving the show at the end of the last season, though he has since been replaced by Brian Bruckner, who has huge shoes to fill in having to leading one of HBOs flagship series.
Not only this but typically, True Blood has always been a bit of a slow burner, while there’s more than enough bloodshed and vamp attacks to satiate most viewers’ appetites, the plotlines on True Blood have always taken a few episodes to develop. Particularly this time around as we watch Sookie, Eric and the others face off against Bill who could either be a friend or foe this time around. There’s also the stories of werewolf Alcide (now a werewolf pack leader) and and human character, Sheriff Andy Bellfleur who has a big responsibility this season in having to care for his fairy-born children.
What will be telling is just how fast season seven of True Blood gets renewed. Typically, HBO have always announced the renewal of the show extremely early in the season, gauging viewer interest quickly in order to allow the team to get a headstart on production. Should HBO wait until season six has completed its schedule to renew it, we’ll no doubt be able to chalk it down to lower ratings.
Whether True Blood can turn its ratings around has yet to be seen, but we’ll keep you posted.