You're smart enough to know that "likable" and "universally liked" are not the same thing.
I love the point in the conversation where Mike contradicts himself, doesn't realize it, and just keeps arguing because fuck you that's why.
And calls everyone else trolls.
Yeah. When he has to argue that Fox is successful because it's likable, there's not much left of his original theory. To summarize the current version: shows contain characters that are likable to some group of people and the larger that group, the more financially successful that show will likely be. Someone give him a network to run. These HBO executives don't have a clue.
Also, don't most fans of the Wire, Deadwood, the Sopranos and on and on tend to like the characters, even when they're villains? What is likable to Mike? Wanting to hangout at a BBQ listening to the new Journey album?
Also, how many sitcoms fail year after year despite having likable characters? And what about well-remembered dramas like My So Called Life or Freaks and Geeks, how far did their niceness get them?
Mad Men doesn't have any zombies or action in it, so a huge portion of the potential American audience is not going to be interested in it. It's still a successful show. It's not as dumbed down as The Walking Dead, so that'll reduce its potential viewership, as well.
It amazes me that when there's more variety on TV than at any time during its miserable LCD history, someone actively wants to return to the old views that kept its content so limited. What next from Mike, we shouldn't have continuing storylines because they decrease viewership? Remember the good old days of Charlie's Angels and the Bionic Man? Oh yeah.