Watch NBC’s “Kings,” Or I’ll Shoot This Dog

Last Sunday, I pleaded with you, the readers of Premium Hollywood, to watch the premiere of NBC’s “Kings,” describing it as “an epic drama with the kind of scope that you rarely see on television in series form” and assuring you that “it needs to be a hit right out of the box, lest it be canceled without ever having a chance to build on its concept.”

How did that request pan out?

Well, I think the opening sentence of the Hollywood Reporter’s piece – “NBC’s ‘Kings’ had a devastating premiere Sunday night.” – says it all, doesn’t it? (Actually, the headline did a pretty good job in its own right: “NBC’s ‘Kings’ dethroned in ratings.”) To borrow a line from another great yet under-appreciated series, the facts were these: the premiere of “Kings” drew only 6 million viewers and was the lowest-rated program between 8 and 11 p.m. on a major broadcast network.

The ever-snarky but nonetheless generally well-informed Nikki Finke over at L.A. Weekly‘s Deadline Hollywood Daily wasn’t afraid to lay the blame for the series at the feet of NBC’s long-suffering executive, Ben Silverman:

I’m told NBC Universal spent a whopping $10 million on Sunday’s two-hour opener for ‘Kings’ and another $4 million per episode. That’s a staggering amount of money to lavish on any drama series, especially one that’s a bomb. Nor does Jeff Zucker have anyone to blame but himself for this disaster. Because I hear that Ben Silverman was hands-on. ‘Kings’ was supposed to move into the Thursday 10 PM ‘ER’ slot (once coveted when the network was still Must-See TV) but has now been banished to Sunday at 8 PM where it can’t do any harm since no one is watching NBC that night anyway. This latest failure follows NBC’s derivative restaurant reality series ‘The Chopping Block,’ also receiving a pathetic 4 share in 18-to-49 demos for its debut Wednesday. No wonder Ben has less and less to do with programming — which was why he was hired in the first place — and more and more to do with liaising with advertisers.

Y’know, I’d say, “Ouch,” but it’s not like this is anything even remotely close to the worst thing Ms. Frinke has had to say about Mr. Silverman.

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Greetings to the New Show: “Kings”

Mark my words: you need to tune in for the premiere of “Kings” tonight. It’s an epic drama with the kind of scope that you rarely see on television in series form – executive producers Michael Green, Francis Lawrence, and Erwin Stoff have literally created a new world, one which provides them with the opportunity to offer tales of war and love without offending any existing countries – and it needs to be a hit right out of the box, lest it be canceled without ever having a chance to build on its concept.

If you’ve seen the commercials for the series (and if you’ve watched NBC for more than about fifteen minutes at any point in the last few months, you surely must’ve caught at least one), then it’s probable that at least one familiar face has leapt out at you: Ian McShane, late of HBO’s “Deadwood.” McShane plays King Silas Benjamin, leader of a land known as Gilboa, which, despite being an obvious monarchy, looks suspiciously like America. When “Kings” opens, Silas is preparing to address his subjects, and when he embarks upon his speech, we’re introduced to some of those who are watching it at home, including a young man named David Shepherd (Chris Egan). Unfortunately, despite the optimism within Silas’s speech, we soon fast-forward to two years later, when David and many other men of Gilboa are in the midst of fighting in Gilboa’s war against the neighboring nation of Gath.

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