Network With The Best Writing While great writing can often lead to fantastic entertainment, it doesn’t always lead to the easy, high entertainment value of a show like American Horror Story. But we choose shows for very different reasons. Sometimes we want an easy gasp or chuckle (hello, The Big Bang Theory), but sometimes we want something a little more challenging. Sometimes we enjoy having to scratch our heads a bit before we finally get that reference on Archer. The winner in this category knows the meaning of substance.
Winner: FX Runner-up: SHO/HBO The Major Culprits: Archer, Louie, Sons of Anarchy, Justified Outliers: American Horror Story Final Rankings: 1. FX (8.7) 2. SHO/HBO (7) 3. AMC (6.8) How did that happen? There’s a great explaination for this: FX has discovered that sweet spot between high entertainment and fantastic writing. Yes, you can make a sophomoric sex joke and follow it up with a reference to Spanish conquistadors. Yes, you can defend fart jokes and make a drastic point about adult sexuality in the same episode of a show that’s technically a comedy. It’s a fine line that Showtime and HBO series attempt often, but with minimal success. AMC gets the shaft here because while Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead were fantastic this year, their small slate lost major points when we included The Killing and Hell on Wheels. And if you still don’t think FX deserves to win this category, I’ll end with yet another one-word argument: Louie.
Ratings King This one’s pretty simple. The network with the highest ratings across the board wins the prize. There’s really no dispute here, folks. It is what it is and no matter how much we may disagree, I didn’t choose these numbers, folks.
Winner: AMC Runner-up: FX The Major Culprits: Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead Outliers: Hell on Wheels, The Talking Dead Final Rankings: 1. AMC (2.6) 2. FX (2.3) 3. HBO (1.6) 4. SHO (1.1) With these cable networks, this competition is almost pointless. Almost all of their main series hover in the one to two million range per episode, but ratings performers like The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy are what tip the scales. And in this case, the ratio is what really allowed AMC to eke its way into first – the network has an almost even split between top performers and average ones, whereas the other three networks all carry a slew of series that barely squeeze out a million viewers an episode. Unlike with the networks, this Ratings King title really doesn’t seem to matter as much.