HBO has officially renewed both of its new Sunday night comedies, Girls and Veep, giving each show second seasons with 10 episode orders.
Thus far, neither show has been a huge ratings success by HBO, or indeed any, standards. What Girls has been uncommonly successful at is getting people to write articles about it. By some accounts in the week leading up to its premiere episode there were 23 articles per day written about Girls but there were only 3.1 articles per day written about Veep in the week before its premiere, which aired a week later. Girls seems to be something like a TV version of the old cliché about the Velvet Underground: Hardly anyone watches it but every one who does seems to be in the media, or at least be active on Twitter.
HBO’s business model is of course not really based on ratings but on subscriptions, On Demand viewings, DVD sales etc. so they are willing to take a chance on low rated shows which enhance the HBO “brand.” From this perspective renewing Girls, the most talked about new television show in years, is a no-brainer. And, while the amount of Girls coverage has abated slightly since the premiere, a huge amount of copy is still being generated about the show and its many controversial aspects such as its treatment of race, treatment of class, treatment of sex/gender roles, nepotism issues etc. etc.
Veep on the other hand has not been the beneficiary of enormous buzz either in the run up to its premiere or since but has actually been getting slightly better ratings than Girls, though its ratings are by no means great in their own right. Both shows are losing a huge portion of the enormous audience for Game of Thrones, which leads into them.
No comment from fans of Bored to Death, How to Make it in America or any other recent NYC-set hangout shows with ratings similar to or better than Girls which did not get renewed was available at press time.