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The awful truth

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10 shows whose ratings don't quite match the hypeBy Kenny HerzogSpecial to MSN TVEven if television's earliest offerings were retro-fit around commercial ads, the medium has taken creative leaps and bounds in the decades hence. As has often been suggested, the past several years in particular have boasted something of a renaissance for the medium. In a post-"Sopranos" world, the likes of "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men" and "Louie" have stormed basic cable with critically lauded programming, and even the major broadcast networks have gotten in the act via meaty dramas a la "The Good Wife" and beloved sitcoms such as "Parks and Recreation." Naturally, the subscriber-based heavies (HBO, Showtime, et al) have continued to lead the way for bold and innovative series, and they still mostly lord over Emmy night thanks to "Homeland," "Boardwalk Empire" and their peers.But from the business end, there's a tradeoff to all this conceptual freedom: For every artsy series that's a ratings hit, there are several quirky or cinematic shows whose viewership numbers don't quite match their social-media buzz and status as cult lightning rods. Hell, there's even the odd reality franchise that simply doesn't pull its weight in the Nielsens anymore, no matter how many blogs give it lip service. In a sense, just because something's hot around the watercooler in this digital age doesn't mean it's burning up the competition.Below are 10 beloved series that either just wrapped up, or are in the midst of, multi-season runs, despite rather unimpressive empirical revelations about their audience shares.Bing: More about 'Enlightened' | More about 'Cougar Town'Want more TV? Be sure to follow MSN TV on Facebook and Twitter(HBO/TBS/HBO)
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