What do you do when your critically acclaimed show that costs loads to produce is watched by essentially nobody? Traditionally shows like Damages would be axed but an interesting deal via DirecTV has saved this particular drama from oblivion.
Damages showed a lot of promise when the series premiered in 2007, attracting 5.1 million viewers in total for its first episode, which was aired twice in one night. However, the unrelenting downward trajectory of the show's ratings caused rumors of its cancelation to emerge before the third season had even finished its initial run on FX. Indeed, Damages' third season finale experienced some of the lowest viewership yet for the show, pulling in only 975,000 US viewers. It was a sad state of affairs for a season that has just garnered the show five Emmy nominations. Certainly it would have been a damned shame to see one of the better legal dramas on television disappear from our screens (at this rate we're going to be left with nothing but Jerry Bruckheimer produced slop on the tube).
Enter DirecTV, who has been quietly making a name for itself by picking up shows that networks and cable channels no longer wish to produce, for airing on DirecTV's subscriber only channel The 101 Network. Other cancelled shows that DirecTV have picked up include CBS's Ray Liotta crime drama Smith, as well as short lived ABC shows The Nine and Wonderland, airing the complete runs including episodes the original networks deemed unfit to air.
In 2008 DirecTV upped the ante somewhat, entering into a partnership with NBC and Universal that would see the NBC show Friday Night Lights have its original broadcast run on The 101 Network, followed by a rebroadcast run on NBC. Now, USA Today reports that Damages producer Sony has entered into a deal with DirecTV to share the cost of producing two more seasons that would begin airing on The 101 Network in 2011. The twist this time around is that The 101 Network will not be sharing the broadcast of these seasons with FX, as it had done previously with NBC and Friday Night Lights. So, kind of crappy for fans of the show who aren't DirecTV customers but hell we all know the shit is going to be on the internet anyway so overall this seems like a win for fans. This move would seem to indicate DirecTV's intentions to become bigger players in the original programming game, although it remains to be seen if there are completely original series in DirecTV's future or if they will continue to feed off of critically acclaimed cancellations.
Kenneth Gibson is 22 years old and currently a university student in Canada. He spent his childhood growing up on the mean streets of Belfast; a typical latchkey kid, as most of the neighborhood kids were. At 12 he moved with his parents to Hamilton, ON; spending his teenage years in that post-industrial wasteland that is (probably best known as being the butt of one of John Stewart's jokes at the Montreal comedy festival some years ago). Nowadays he spends his time being a news junkie, policy wonk and and student of archaeology.