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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

John from Cincinnati Doesn't Draw A Big Crowd

HBO's new surfing drama, "John from Cincinnati," wasn't a total wipe-out, but the initial ratings do not look good. HBOs audience dropped 71% from "The Sopranos" series finale Sunday night to the next show, the premiere for David Milch's "John from Cincinnati, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

An estimated 11.9 million people watched the end of "The Sopranos." Only 3.4 million tuned in for "John from Cincinnati," a 29% audience retention. "John from Cincinnati," starring Austin Nichols as a mysterious stranger altering the lives of a Southern California surfing family, takes over "The Sopranos" 9 p.m. Sunday time slot this weekend.

"The huge dropoff is not a good sign for the show," Broadcasting & Cable notes.

"The Sopranos" 11.9 million mark was higher than its season aveage (8.2 million), but 1.5 million short of the highest-rated episode (13.4 million for the 4th season premiere in September 2002), according to the Associated Press. Two other episodes drew more viewers -- the December 2002 4th season finale (12.5 million) and the 5th season premiere in March 2004 (12.1 million), AP says.


at 6/13/2007 10:50 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The show wasn't that interesting. I could care less about the dysfunctional surfing family who uses the f-word as part of their everyday vocabulary. That alone was a distraction. Maybe it should be called John From F----- Cincinnati.

at 7/10/2007 11:28 PM Blogger skippercollector said...

I don't have HBO, so this past week was the first chance I've had to watch John from Cincinnati. A co-worker with HBO taped what I think was the second episode, and then when I was out of town this weekend I was able to watch two episodes at the hotel. I think I saw what were the fourth and fifth episodes.

I love the opening credits. Although I don't surf, I know a little more about the sport than the average Cincinnatian because I saw a lot of professional competitions in California and Florida in the 80s and 90s. So the surfing aspect was fun for me to watch. I know that the characters and their homes were realistic looking.

It's interesting that each episode introduced a new character that John has helped and then the viewer saw how he affected that person's life, so the cast list keeps expanding.

On the other hand, there were too many lookalike characters in the family and I couldn't decipher who all is related to whom.

I still haven't figured out who Ed O'Neill's character is supposed to be. He's the only cast member whom I recognize immediately. Unfortunately, I will always think of him as Al Bundy.

My other problem is that the characters have a fascination with words starting with the letter F, which gets tiring to listen to. At the same time, a lot of the contemporary 21st century slang said by the characters regarding surfing, drug abuse and/or film-making went straight past me.

I also attempted to watch HBO's other series, Big Love, but it gave me the creeps.

at 7/12/2007 8:43 PM Blogger skippercollector said...

A friend who works for the surfing industry and lives in Orange County told me a little about the Fletchers, whom she has known for a long time. One of Fletcher sons was heavily into drugs.
She, too, has mixed feelings about John from Cincinnati because it puts surfers in a bad light. The professional surfing organizations have tried very hard over the past two decades to improve the surfers' images, and this show isn't helping.
She also doesn't like the language used in the series, although she admits it is typical.

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