Though the early renewal comes right after the show’s lowest ratings came in for its fifth episode last night, the pickup comes as no surprise, given Lopez’s star power and “Shades of Blue” still-strong performance as one of NBC’s biggest debuts in recent years.
In its first three telecasts, “Shades of Blue” averaged a 2.5 rating in 18-49 and 11.2 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen’s “live+3” estimates, standing as one of the most time-shifted programs on television during this time. Thanks in part to no competition from ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Shades” gave NBC its first Thursday-at-10 wins with in-season regular programming over original competition on ABC and CBS since March 2010 in the demo and since March 2008 in total viewers.
“We want to thank Jennifer, who is the hardest-working woman we know, for her incredible efforts as both the star and producer of this show, as well as well as our other amazing producers and cast for all their tireless work in creating one of the most compelling dramas on television today,” said Jennifer Salke, NBC’s entertainment president. “We’re so excited to find out where this story will lead and have them raise the stakes even higher in what we know will be a fantastic second season.”
NBC did not announce the number of episodes for the second season, though the first season landed a straight-to-series 13-episode order back in early 2014. With Lopez’s busy schedule — juggling her film career, music career, “American Idol” (though that wraps this spring) and now her Las Vegas residency — it seems likely the sophomore season would have a similar episodic count to accommodate the star.
Lopez stars alongside Ray Liotta in the cop drama, in which she plays Harlee Santos, a single mother and detective at the heart of a tight-knit crew of Brooklyn detectives, led by enigmatic Lt. Matt Wozniak (Liotta), who often leads the team to step outside the limits of the law in order to effectively protect their precinct and their own. Drea de Matteo, Dayo Okeniyi, Vincent Laresca, Hampton Fluker and Sarah Jeffery round out the cast, in addition to recurring guest star Santino Fontana.
Lopez pulls double duty as an exec producer, along with Ryan Seacrest, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Nina Wass, her longtime manager Benny Medina, showrunner Jack Orman and show creator Adi Hasak. Barry Levinson directed the first two episodes of the first series.
The renewal marks the third freshman series to land an early pickup at NBC, joining another female-led drama, “Blindspot,” plus “Chicago Med.” Also already renewed for the 2016-17 season at NBC: “The Blacklist,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.”
“Shades of Blue” hails from Universal Television, Nuyorican Productions, EGTV, Ryan Seacrest Productions and Jack Orman Productions.