Analysis: HBO, Showtime, Starz (TCA Video)

With about 28.5 million subscribers, HBO remains the leader in pay cable—although those numbers are down versus a year ago. Runner-up Showtime claims 18.2 million subscribers, while Starz has 17.3 million. Horse races aside, all three networks run original programs that have struck a chord with viewers.
HBO had a banner year, with True Blood’s 3rd season finale drawing just under 5.5 million viewers. Meanwhile, Boadwalk Empire opened to strong numbers, not to mention a couple of Golden Globe awards—Best TV Drama and Best Actor in a TV Drama for Steve Buscemi.
Next up is the fantasy series Game of Thrones and the miniseries Mildred Pierce.

Second-place Showtime has just launched two new series, both of which premiered to solid ratings: Shameless, starring William H. Macy (Fargo); and Episodes, starring Matt LeBlanc (Friends). And, after running Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Starz just launched prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Coming up are Camelot and Torchwood: The New World.
In AdweekMedia’s fifth and final installment of its TCA cable roundup, Adweek’s Marc Berman and Alan Frutkin look at the programming slates of all three pay-cable networks.

For all of Berman and Frutkin’s latest analyses (and all rest of the post-TCA coverage), go here.

Click below for the pay-cable roundup: