You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TNT stays in ‘Southland’

Cabler renews hyper-realist cop drama

A few weeks ago, “Southland” appeared to be bound for the brilliant-but-canceled list.

But word spread late last week that TNT and Warner Bros. TV were hunkered down on a renewal deal that was made official on Monday. The hyper-realist cop drama, shot almost entirely on location on the mean streets of L.A., will be back in January for a 10-episode third season.

Michael Wright, exec veep of programming for TNT, TBS and TCM, said the ratings performance for the John Wells Prods. drama was respectable enough to secure a renewal, but its high quality and distinctive storytelling style put “Southland” over the top from a TNT programming and strategy perspective.

“The ratings were not terrible, nor were they fantastic,” Wright told Daily Variety . “But this is an excellent TV show — expertly written, directed, produced and acted and it is a perfect fit with the TNT brand and the rest of our lineup.”

Wright noted that “Southland” ranks as the youngest-skewing of TNT’s original skeins with a median age of 47. In the cabler’s target demo of adults 25-54, the show easily outperformed the network’s primetime average (950,000 viewers vs. “Southland’s” 1.4 million) during its six-episode second season that wrapped April 6. Overall, “Southland” averaged 2.7 million viewers for its second-season segs.

Moreover, DVR viewing patterns indicate that the show has an extremely loyal following among viewers who watch on their own timetables.

The performance bar for “Southland” was high because it came to TNT on the heels of getting scrapped by NBC — just a few weeks before its second season was to bow last October (back when Jay Leno was occupying the Peacock’s 10 p.m. weekday real estate).

TNT swooped in and relaunched the show in January, starting with the first-season episodes that aired last spring on NBC followed by six fresh segs. The conventional wisdom was that “Southland” was a ratings disappointment for TNT. But that was news to Turner execs.

If you’re in the business of scripted television, you want a show like this,” Wright said.

The beat cops ensembler is told largely from the perspective of a rookie patrol cop, played by Ben McKenzie, as he learns the ropes from his street-wise partner played by Michael Cudlitz. But the storylines quickly broadened out to encompass a wealth of supporting characters, played by Regina King, Kevin Alejandro, Arija Bareikis, Shawn Hatosy, Michael McGrady and Tom Everett Scott.

Ann Biderman (“Public Enemies”) created “Southland” and exec produces with Wells and Christopher Chulack. Chulack established the show’s signature 360-degree shooting style, much of it done with hand-held cameras, and continues to helm most of the segs.

More TV

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Blake Jenner What If TV Show

    'What/If' Star Blake Jenner on Creating Chemistry With Jane Levy, Renee Zellweger

    Blake Jenner first rose to fame in 2012 when he won “The Glee Project” and therefore earned a role on “Glee” proper. In the years since, though, he graduated from teen heartthrob status to meatier, edgier roles in films such as “American Animals” and now the Netflix limited series “What/If,” in which he stars opposite [...]

  • Mario Lopez Candy Crush

    Mario Lopez, Seth Kurland Set Latinx Family Comedy Series at Netflix

    Mario Lopez and Seth Kurland are teaming up for a new comedy series at Netflix. Variety has learned that the streamer has given a 16 episode order to the multi-cam comedy “The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” co-created by Lopez and Kurland. In the series, when Ashley Garcia — the world’s only 15-and-a-half-year-old robotics engineer [...]

  • HBO logo

    TV News Roundup: HBO Announces Recipients of 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship

    In today’s roundup, Fox Nation announces a fresh slate of programming for the summer and HBO announces the recipients of its HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. DEVELOPMENT: HBO has announced the recipients of its 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. The eight writers selected out of the 3,000 submissions will participate in an 8-month program of master classes and [...]

  • Big Bang Theory

    'Big Bang Theory,' 'Manifest' Among Top Live+7 Gainers of 2018-2019 Season

    With 2018-2019 broadcast season wrapping up, certain shows stand head and shoulders above their competition in the Nielsen Live+7 rankings. Live+7 data is currently available only through May 5, but the top dogs will likely see little change once the final numbers are in for the traditional September-May season. The top gainer in adults 18-49 [...]

  • Anna Kendrick Paul Feig

    Anna Kendrick, Paul Feig Team for Comedy Anthology Series at WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Anna Kendrick and Paul Feig are coming to the WarnerMedia streaming service Variety has learned that the upcoming streamer has ordered the romantic comedy anthology series “Love Life,” the first season of which will star Kendrick with Feig executive producing. WarnerMedia has ordered a 10-episode first season of the half-hour series. Lionsgate Television and FeigCo [...]

  • Jon Feltheimer

    Lionsgate Posts Loss, Underperforms Wall Street Expectations

    Lionsgate has posted a quarterly loss and its revenues and operating income have come in under Wall Street projections, despite growth from its premium cable channel, Starz. The studio reported a net loss of $24 million, or 11 cents a share, with adjusted operating income of $103 million for its fourth fiscal quarter ended March [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content