×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Monday Mornings’ stumbles for TNT

Kelley drama draws just 1.34 million for premiere

Sometimes the patient just can’t be revived.

TNT has suffered a big miss with “Monday Mornings,” the David E. Kelley medical drama that bowed Monday to anemic ratings. And that belly flop followed last week’s DOA premiere of drama “Do No Harm” on NBC.

The spectacularly bad numbers posted by two network shows in quick succession offer a sobering reminder that even in an era of declining expectations for new series, the danger of fumbling from the get-go — call it the “Lone Star” syndrome — is ever-present.

“Monday Mornings” opened to just 1.34 million viewers, according to Nielsen, including 472,000 adults 25-54 — one of the smaller audiences in memory for such a high-profile scripted cable drama. “Do No Harm” debuted last Thursday in the 10 p.m. hour to a tiny 0.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 3.1 million viewers overall — the first time a broadcast series had opened to a sub-1 demo rating.

The minuscule turnouts for “Monday Mornings” and “Do No Harm” indicate that target auds for those shows had little awareness of them, and worse, no interest in their concepts. With so much media attention and social media chatter focused on TV these days, it’s likely that the first many prospective viewers heard of either show came from the discussion of their weak openings.

Industry insiders speculated that both shows were handicapped by generic-sounding titles and lack of promotable star power, although Kelley’s renown as a series creator was heavily touted in TNT’s marketing effort.

Also, TNT was probably counting on being able to give “Monday Mornings” a stronger lead-in, but the second season of “Dallas” isn’t performing all that well, either. Monday’s second episode of the season drew 2.32 million viewers, of which 917,000 were adults 25-54.

Even with these lower numbers, “Dallas” is more than doubling what TNT was doing on Mondays at this time a year ago.

“Dallas” opened to a huge 6.86 million viewers last June and settled into a sizable average audience for the duration of the season, and picking back up again with 4.29 million for its finale in August. But this season’s opener drew 2.98 million, and Monday’s second seg lost more than 600,000 viewers.

The second season could be hurt by the recent death of Larry Hagman, who portrayed the iconic J.R. Ewing on the show, including some episodes still to air this season. “Dallas” also has the tougher task in its second season of airing in January up against top-drawer competition on the broadcast networks instead of the reality and repeats they serve up in the summer.

In recent years, TNT was able to use “The Closer” to funnel viewers into new shows, but the crime drama wrapped last year. In 2012, TNT introduced both “Perception” (5.60 million) and “Major Crimes” (7.18 million) behind “The Closer.”

The industry surprise at the woefully low turnout for “Monday Mornings” is a sign that TNT has joined TV’s big leagues. Plenty of mid-tier cable networks would be happy to draw more than 1 million viewers in primetime.

Moreover, opposite the “Monday Mornings” bow, NBC’s other midseason drama, “Deception,” settled for a 1.1 rating in adults 18-49 in its fifth airing.

More TV

  • Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna'Jane

    Rachel Bloom on the 'Beautiful Mystery' of the 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Series Finale

    While four seasons of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” have explored musical genres from boy bands to country, the one type of music series co-creator and star Rachel Bloom admits the show will not explore before the end is Rebecca’s own style. “Basically the idea is that part of the music in her mind is her looking inside [...]

  • Netflix's Lisa Nishimura Named Indie Film,

    Netflix's Lisa Nishimura Named Indie Film, Documentary Features Head

    In the wake of Bela Bajaria’s recent move to lead Netflix’s international non-English original TV series, the online streamer is shuffling its leadership team to more clearly distinguish between development of its English and non-English language content. As a result, Netflix has elevated Lisa Nishimura to vice president of independent film and documentary features, a [...]

  • Family Guy Bob's Burgers

    Fox Entertainment Lays Out Programming Slate in Post-Disney Merger Sizzle Reel (Watch)

    Fox Entertainment unveiled a new sizzle reel on Wednesday night in the wake of the Disney-21st Century Fox merger officially closing, with the broadcaster touting its current series roster. The video features both scripted and unscripted programming across Fox’s lineup. Among the shows featured are legacy series like “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and “Empire.” In [...]

  • Katherine Heigl

    Katherine Heigl Cast as Lead in CBS Comedy Pilot

    Katherine Heigl has been cast as the female lead in the CBS comedy pilot “Our House,” Variety has learned. The show centers around a devoted mom (Heigl) and dad, who are committed to raising their children with the love and support the mom never got as a kid, but discover how difficult that is with her insane [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Lee Daniels

    Lee Daniels Reveals the 'Empire' Team's 'Anger' and 'Sadness' at the Jussie Smollett Fallout

    In a video posted to his Instagram Wednesday afternoon, “Empire” creator Lee Daniels has let everybody know how he feels about the Jussie Smollett “incident.” “These past couple of weeks have been a freakin’ rollercoaster,” Daniels said in the video. “Me and my cast have experienced pain, anger, sadness and frustration, and really don’t know [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    WGA Leaders to Meet With Showrunners on Agency Packaging Fight (EXCLUSIVE)

    WGA leaders are set to meet Wednesday night with a group of showrunners who are raising concerns about the guild’s handling of negotiations with talent agents over the issue of packaging fees and agency-affiliated productions. The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at WGA West headquarters. WGA West president David Goodman is expected to attend. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content