Charlie Sheen may be negotiating to join the cast of HBO's Entourage, but in syndication, the show is nowhere near the winner that his last vehicle, Two and a Half Men, is.
HBO has asked its distribution partner, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, to pull Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage from their syndicated runs due to low ratings, confirm several key sources. Both shows, which typically air in late-night, are averaging a 0.6 live plus same day household rating. Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage will depart off-net syndication this fall, after just one season on the air.
Both shows were sold to stations in three-year all-barter deals. Stations were prepping to move both programs into even later night slots, which would drive the shows' already low ratings down further. As a result, HBO made the call to pull the shows, presumably because the pay-cable network was losing money on distributing them. While syndicating off-net shows can mean big business for producers, distributing shows to stations also incurs hefty costs, including satellite links and residual fees to the various guilds.
Also, both shows were sold on an all-barter basis, which means that revenues are based solely on a show's performance. At a 0.6 and dropping with the time-period downgrades, neither show appeared to be in a profit position.
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.