Slow Start Doesn’t Mean Doom for Girls

1424276811 Slow Start Doesnt Mean Doom for Girls

Lena Dunham (Getty Images)

Girls, the ultra-buzzy new HBO series, didn’t do as well as its intense presence on your Twitter feed might have indicated–its 872,000 viewers make it a stronger performer than, say, its Sunday night comedy predecessor, Ricky Gervais’s Life’s Too Short (with 810,000 viewers), but a weaker one than its lead-in, the season finale of Eastbound and Down (with 1.1 million viewers).

As we previously reported, though, ratings are not a primary concern for HBO, which seeks to establish a series of niche programs whose devoted fans will keep HBO for that show alone. The network’s president, Sue Naegle, told us that the low-rated Enlightened (which got about a fourth of Girls‘s ratings) was renewed for a second season because it helped define the HBO brand. “I don’t think that show could exist any other place,” she said.

“With Girls and [new comedy series] Veep, I’m not putting extraordinary pressure on the shows to perform in a way shows in the past have.” If Girls is the new Sex and the City, as many have alleged, it doesn’t need to be in terms of Nielsen families in order to ensure Lena Dunham remains gainfully employed.