Female cops rejoice! TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles” raised the bar by becoming the biggest ad-supported cable launch of all time. (Disney, which has had bigger debuts, is not ad supported.)
The cop drama starring Angie Harmon drew 7.6 million viewers, holding almost the entire audience of “The Closer” (7.7 million), which opened its sixth season Monday right before “Rizzoli And Isles.”
“The tremendous viewer response to Rizzoli & Isles is very gratifying,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in a press release. “Rizzoli & Isles is shaping up to be a great companion for The Closer, which continues to deliver extraordinary numbers in its sixth season on our network.”
Of course, the question is now: how many folks will stick around in coming weeks? TNT’s “Raising the Bar,” a legal drama starring Mark-Paul Gosselar, over Labor Day in 2008 actually drew more viewers: 7.7 million. But that show aired commercial free. Its viewership then droped off sharply and the series only lasted two seasons.
“The Closer” had its biggest season debut season three in 2007 with 8.2 million viewers, followed by 7.8 million season four, 7.1 million season five and now 7.7 million season six. Its fans are clearly consistently loyal.