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TNT has rescued NBC’s canceled sophomore drama “Southland.”
In a rare industry move, a cable network has picked up a discarded broadcast series. TNT has obtained the exclusive rights to run the six unaired episodes of “Southland” that were on NBC’s fall schedule before the broadcaster unexpectedly axed the show two weeks before its premiere.
TNT will air all 13 produced episodes of Warner Bros. drama, including its seven-episode first season when it premiered as NBC’s midseason replacement last April. TNT will then decide whether to commission additional episodes.
“Southland” will make its TNT debut on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 10 p.m.
By only committing to episodes that have already been produced, the deal minimizes TNT’s financial risk and allows the cable network to evaluate the success of the show before investing in a re-start of production.
“This is a great win for fans of ‘Southland’ and a perfect opportunity to introduce the series to new viewers,” said Steve Koonin, president of TNT.
As first reported by THR’s Nellie Andreeva, the TNT pickup has been anticipated for weeks.
NBC purportedly canceled the drama because the new episodes were “too dark” for the network, especially with 10 p.m. weekday time slots now occupied by “The Jay Leno Show.” Another factor was the show’s ratings, which left NBC with little faith that the drama would survive its tough Friday time period.
But as shows like Monday night’s freshman drama “Trauma” struggled, some in the industry criticized NBC for not giving the show a chance to survive, particularly given Wells’ long history with the network as the showrunner of “ER.”
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