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2001 - February

'Folk Finds Audiences, but not the Hype'
by Paula Bernstein
February 26th, 2001

As the third season of HBO's "The Sopranos" is set to launch, viewers may be prompted to ask whatever happened to pay cable's other super-hyped series, "Queer as Folk."

Surprise: It's still running.

After debuting on Showtime in December with much fanfare, the provocative skein about a group of gay male friends has failed to become the next big water-cooler show.

But while it lacks buzz, it has quietly hit its stride with auds.

Showtime's massive marketing campaign paid big Nielsen dividends as the show scored a 4.5 rating in cable homes in its primetime premiere. For the season, it's delivering a 3.4, up 89% over "Hoop Life," the basketball drama that aired in the timeslot a year ago -- not near "Sopranos'" gargantuan numbers, but still impressive.

While a Showtime rep says it's too soon to talk about renewing the series, it's nearly a shoo-in with Nielsen numbers like that.

The rep says Showtime is "very happy with the way `Queer' is performing." Now if only people would start blabbing about it.