In a no-brainer move, Atlanta-based TNT has renewed three of its most popular series: “The Closer,” “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Leverage.”
“Rizzoli & Isles,” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, has been a surprise breakout hit, averaging 7.1 million viewers per week. Sure, it’s only three episodes in, but TNT obviously sees enough staying power for this crime drama to give it another year. This series, based on books written by Tess Gerritsen, balances lighthearted banter with criminal procedural drama that is compatible with “The Closer.” In fact, it was the first show to ever draw more viewers following “The Closer.” (Already nixed shows such as “Saving Grace” and “Raising the Bar” failed to do that.)
TNT has committed 13 episodes of “Rizzoli & Isles” in 2011 after 10 for season one.
Kyra Sedgwick’s “The Closer,” TNT’s first huge scripted hit series since it started promoting itself as the “drama” network, is now guaranteed a seventh season. It consistently draws 7 million viewers a week for its first run Monday nights and despite its age, has yet to show signs of wear. In fact, its ratings are up over 2008.
The caper series “Leverage” starring Timothy Hutton will get a fourth season. It pulled in nearly four million viewers July 18 and July 25.
Both “The Closer” and “Leverage” will get 15 more episodes in 2011.
No word yet on the future of “Memphis Beat,” which has dropped to a relatively mediocre 3 million viewers a week after a strong start, or “Hawthorne,” which is doing a little bit worse.