×
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.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Emmy Contenders 2019

    Emmys 2019: Critical Last Looks on 'Game of Thrones,' 'Fleabag,' More Contenders

    With only days to go before the 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, the final voting have long since been cast and counted. But hopes still abound for favorite series and performers. Here, Variety’s television critics look at the leading races, who’s going into the final stretch with some real heat and what they hope will [...]

  • Set di "Gomorra 4", regia di

    Italian Commissions Offer Big Incentives for TV Productions

    Italian TV is traveling around the world as never before, and giving audiences a deep dive into the country’s locations. They range from storied cities such as Rome, Venice, Naples and Milan to classic countryside backdrops, including Tuscany and Umbria. There is also the southern sensuality found in Apulia and Sicily, and, of course, the [...]

  • DOWNTON ABBEY

    TV Ratings: NBC's 'Downton Abbey' Special Less Than Grand

    NBC aired its “Return to Downton Abbey: A Grand Event” special Thursday night to mark the release of the new “Downton Abbey” movie. However, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) and co. would probably turn up their noses at the 0.4 rating and 2.8 million viewers the special achieved last night. It was beaten in the [...]

  • Glow Netflix Emmy Comedy Race

    'GLOW' Renewed for Fourth and Final Season at Netflix

    The final bell is ringing for “GLOW.” The Netflix series has been renewed for Season 4, which will also be the show’s last. Series creators, executive producers, and showrunners Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch will return in those roles for the final season, along with executive producers Jenji Kohan, Tara Herrmann, and Mark Burley. The [...]

  • Halsey, Ashley Nicolette Frangipane. Singer Halsey

    Emmys: Halsey to Sing In Memoriam Tribute at Sunday's Ceremony

    Pop star Halsey has been tapped to perform during the Emmy Awards on Sunday, while comedians Adam Devine and Thomas Lennon will also contribute to the telecast. With no Emmy host this year, producers Don Mischer Prods. and Done+Dusted are relying more on presenters and other contributors to keep the show moving, Halsey, whose hits [...]

  • Bianna Golodryga CBS News

    Bianna Golodryga Joins CNN in Full-Time Role

    Sometimes, it pays for news anchors to take root in more than one organization. When Bianna Golodryga joined CBS News in the fall of 2018, she carved out a unique role for herself. She would work as a co-anchor on “CBS This Morning” while maintaining a position she had already established as a contributor to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content