TNT’s ‘Rizzolli & Isles’ sets cable series launch record: 7.6 million

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TNT said that the premiere of drama “Rizzoli & Isles” became the No. 1 ad-supported series launch ever, drawing 7.6 million viewers.

Really. “Rizzoli & Isles.”

This is not to denigrate the program (though I’m no fan of its clunky title), but rather just to wonder aloud why this show has risen above all others. The answer, it would seem, is that TNT has simply become, among other things, a ever-stronger magnet for audiences, particularly in the female demos.

Starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, “Rizzoli & Isles” benefited from a lead-in from the sixth season premiere of “The Closer,” which drew 7.7 million, 7% more than the Kyra Sedgwick starrer’s season five premiere 13 months ago. These two broadcasts rank at the top of ad-supported cable’s top series telecasts among viewers and households in 2010.

As much as “Rizzoli” raised the bar, it ranks behind “Raising the Bar” when it comes to all-time series launches on ad-supported cable, but the premiere of “Bar” itself aired commercial-free.

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