TNT picks up second season of Romano series

TNT has renewed Monday night drama “Men of a Certain Age” for a 10-episode second season.

“Men,” starring Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula, launched Dec. 7 to 6.7 million viewers and the highest ratings for a basic cable series premiere in 2009 (overall and in the 25-54 demo).

“‘Men of a Certain Age” has been embraced by viewers and critics alike, making our decision to renew an easy one,” said Michael Wright, exec veep and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies.

In its most recent airing Monday, the series drew 2.9 million viewers, but Wright told Daily Variety he was not bothered by the attrition, citing the fact that “Men” had TNT stalwart “The Closer” as its lead-in for earlier episodes and noting that the skein’s numbers in the 25-54 demo are growing.

Wright said he was also gratified at the success of what was in some ways a “flyer” for TNT. Rather than being an obvious genre show, “Men” is a show about everyday people.

“I think people got it — people really, really got it — and got it in a nuanced way,” Wright said. “Our bread-and butter programming tends to be very specific, character-based, populist-themed, franchise dramas. And I say that with enthusiasm — whether it’s ‘Leverage,’ ‘The Closer,’ ‘Hawthorne’ — they live in that space.”

“This show does not conform to that. But what it does have in common with those shows (is) that sort of everyman spirit. … At the center of every TNT drama, there is sort of a populist hero.”

It has not been determined whether the second season of “Men” will again launch in December or sooner. The series’ first season of 10 episodes wraps up Feb. 22.

I think you want to weigh the merits of keeping the momentum of the show against protecting its creative integrity,” Wright said with regard to scheduling, “giving (the writers) time to do what they want to do.”

Men” was co-created by Romano and “Everybody Loves Raymond” teammate Mike Royce, who exec produce with Rory Rosegarten and Cary Hoffman.

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