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TNT Arrives at No. 2 In Ratings Behind USA For 2009: Renews Dark Blue, Hawthorne

sg_tnt_darkblueTNT was pretty flat for the year with total viewers and in the demographic. While the network’s “big show” The Closer continues its strong pace, the network’s new programs have been, oh let’s just say, modest performers thus far.

Cop show Dark Blue starring Dylan McDermott and executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, along with medical drama Hawthorne starring Jada Pinkett Smith, earned second-season renewals. The ensemble program Men of a Certain Age, which debuted this month, has performed respectably and drew favorable audience scores.

The reviews of Men of a Certain Age, which follow three well-known actors, Ray Romano (as Joe), Scott Bakula (as Terry), and Andre Braugher (as Owen) are solid and that bodes well for the network. TNT is placing high hopes on the series to re-energize a declining viewership. Known for its crime series, Bones, Dark Blue and The Closer for example, TNT is venturing into newer territory with a series about three men who are, “acutely aware that their best days are long behind them, and that the days ahead are about managing expectations and solving the latest mortifying problem.”

Easily, the biggest surprise of the year for TNT was the cancellation of the Emmy-nominated Holly Hunter vehicle, Saving Grace, after four seasons on the network. The show was killed, not by TNT, but by producer Fox Television Studios. Fox pulled the plug on Grace because it wasn’t doing much biz internationally or on DVD. The program’s situation reflects the tricky balance the biz faces as more and more outlets produce originals. “We were very happy with the show creatively and happy with its ratings, but it’s not returning after its fourth season for business reasons,” says Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies.

TNT is owned by Time Warner Inc. E! Entertainment Television is owned by Comcast Entertainment Group.

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