‘Closer’ premiere breaks cable record

TNT show brings in 8.8 million viewers

TNT’s “The Closer” did it again, chalking up more total viewers — 8.8 million — Monday night at 9 than any other original-series telecast in the history of ad-supported cable.

The network hoped that most of these viewers would hang around to catch the 10 o’clock premiere of TNT’s new scripted medical series “Heartland,” starring Treat Williams. But “Heartland” held onto less than half of its “Closer” lead-in, a total of 4.3 million viewers.

In isolation, 4.3 million is an excellent sampling for a new series, and Turner Entertainment Networks prexy Steve Koonin said the episode ran afoul of a high-rated one-shot “Dateline” hour on NBC featuring Matt Lauer’s interview with Prince William and Prince Harry, the sons of Princess Diana.

By contrast, “Closer,” which stars Kyra Sedgwick as a tough, offbeat L.A. police chief, broke its own record and delivered 11% more adults 18-49 than last season’s “Closer” premiere and 6% more adults 25-54. It didn’t hurt that the premiere “Closer” hour ran commercial-free, sponsored by Toyota.

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