Cable drama is set to end its third season Tuesday — the first 13 episodes were split into two seasons — and with stellar critical support and ratings that are nowhere near cable’s best, but solid and consistent enough that the Turner net can tolerate, all indications are the skein will be making a return engagement. TNT is likely to make an announcement in the near future.
While ratings have never been particularly strong for “Southland,” except at the very beginning of its run, they’re far from abysmal. Show is averaging 2.9 million viewers, which is a 5% increase from the previous season. In the 18-49 demo, 1.3 million are tuning in each week.
TNT is able to continue with skeins such as “Southland” and, similarly, Ray Romano‘s “Men of a Certain Age,” because its procedurals do extremely well and are huge profit centers. “Rizzoli & Isles” opened to 7.5 million viewers in July and Kyra Sedgwick starrer “The Closer,” which is nearing the end of its run, continues to be a top performer.
The ensemble cast for “Southland” runs very deep and TNT is hoping for some Emmy traction this time around — either as a drama series or in the supporting acting categories. Many have praised the perfs of beat cops Michael Cudlitz and Ben McKenzie, as well as LAPD detectives Regina King and Shawn Hatosy.
“Southland,” which comes from Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Prods., originally aired on NBC in 2009, but the Peacock, under the Ben Silverman regime, felt that despite strong critical support, it wasn’t delivering enough eyeballs to keep it on air. In the 2008-09 season, “Southland averaged a 2.8 rating/8 share in the 18-49 demo, and 8.4 million viewers and won the time period in its first two weeks.
To be fair to NBC, those numbers would eventually fade, however, and in one of those rare situations where one network picks up another network’s cancellation, “Southland” moved from broadcast to cable.
“We hit the benchmark are very proud of this past season,” said a source close to the show. “My hope is that TNT will tell us sooner rather than later that we’re coming back.”
Wells and Christopher Chulack are exec producers.