NBC may not have wanted “Southland,” with its positive reviews and shrinking audience, but TNT will be happy to collect the network’s table scraps.
As has been expected since NBC unceremoniously yanked “Southland” from its Friday schedule, TNT has obtained rights to the already-shot episodes.
That means that TNT has acquired seven Season One episodes of “Southland” and six Season Two episodes, but it’s important to note that the cable network has made no additional commitment for episodes beyond those 13.
“This is a great win for fans of ‘Southland’ and a perfect opportunity to introduce the series to new viewers,” states Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. “It’s also another outstanding example of how TNT has established itself as the go-to place for the best dramas on television.”
TNT will air “Southland” on Tuesdays in that pesky 10 p.m. drama slot that no longer exists on NBC. The series premiere (i.e. an episode that already aired on NBC) will kick off the run on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Produced by John Wells, “Southland” launched in the spring following the series finale of “ER” and drew 9.7 million viewers. The series was unable to sustain that audience and “Southland” was very much on the bubble when NBC picked it up and shuffled it off to Friday nights. The first sign of trouble came when NBC pushed back the “Southland” premiere to late October, before pulling it several weeks later.
As soon as NBC decided not to air the remaining six episodes of “Southland” — rumors attributed the decision to the dark tone not being a match for the 9 p.m. hour, though ratings were a more reasonable explanation — TNT was reported as a likely home, since “Southland” comes from corporate sibling Warner Brothers TV. TNT also has a stronger recent track record with character-driven procedurals — think “The Closer” or “Saving Grace” — than NBC does.
“We are extremely pleased that TNT has acquired all 13 episodes of ‘Southland,’ giving devoted fans the opportunity to watch a show that they passionately support,” states Peter Roth, president of Warner Bros. Television.
Adds Wells, “We’re delighted that TNT has stepped forward to pick up ‘Southland.’ We are all extremely proud of the show.”
“Southland” features an ensemble that includes Ben McKenzie, Michael Cudlitz, Regina King, Tom Everett Scott, Kevin Alejandro, Michael McGrady and Arija Bareikis.