TNT first saved “Southland” from death after NBC canceled the L.A.-based drama last year and aired the six episodes that NBC had not used before axing it.
After studying the ratings for the show on TNT this winter, the Atlanta-based network has decided to give the show a third season.
The six new episodes averaged 2.1 million viewers on TNT (2.7 million if you count DVR usage up to seven days.) That isn’t as good as shows such as “Leverage,” “Hawthorne” or “The Closer” but was obviously good enough for TNT.
One key fact: “Southland” drew the youngest audience of any show on TNT with a median age of 47. And advertisers like it young.
“This is not a charity renewal,” said Michael Wright, who oversees programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies. “It wasn’t wildly impressive. Nor was it bad. It did okay. But when you add to that, it’s simply a fantastic show. We’re thrilled to bring them back.”
He said the show will be back on a level that will enable it to maintain its quality (although cable shows are known to be shot at lower budgets than those on the broadcast nets.). “It will be indistinguishable form what you’ve seen before,” he said.
The ten new episodes are set to air starting January 2011.
The drama fits TNT well, with a dark, cinema verite feel that has built up a strong fan base and critical plaudits.