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For "Hemlock Grove," the Path to Success Is Easier Than You Might Think

By Tim Beyers - Apr 20, 2013 at 7:00AM

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HBO's horror hit "True Blood" began with a small audience, too.

Netflix's (NFLX -3.54%) new horror show Hemlock Grove, which makes its debut this weekend, has already come under fire from some reviewers. The negative press appears to be emboldening the bears ahead of the company's April 22 earnings report. They might be acting prematurely.

Look at history. HBO's comparable horror series, True Blood, captured just 1.4 million viewers in its September 2008 premiere before going on to five seasons of award-winning performances and excellent ratings for the Time Warner (TWX) subsidiary. Season six begins on June 16.

Sources: HBO, Facebook.

All Hemlock Grove has to do is get close to these numbers with hardcore horror fans. Presuming the buzz that follows is enthusiastic enough to keep viewers engaged, Netflix could have a niche hit on its hands in the same way that True Blood has grown into a win for HBO. At the very least, you can bet Amazon.com (AMZN -2.90%) is paying close attention as it prepares to launch its own slate of self-produced programs.

Viewer ratings of Hemlock Grove look good so far. As of this writing, the 1,442 members rating the show at Netflix give it 3.9 out of five stars. The top-rated review speaks for how show-runner Eli Roth hopes to give viewers something different:

"To me, it's most important for this series to make the statement: 'If you want high school, lovey-lovey, blade martial arts, Oprah-channel-drama, than Hemlock Grove may not be for you.' ... I think it has succeeded in doing so."

Shareholders can only hope.

What's your take on Hemlock Grove? Will you watch? Please vote in the following poll and then leave a comment to let us know whether you'd buy, sell, or short Netflix stock now, and why.

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