'Saving Grace' will wrap next summer

TNT wanted full fourth season, but studio declined

The run of TNT's drama series "Saving Grace" will come to an end with a nine-episode final season slated to air next summer.

Originally, the cable network had ordered a typical split 15-episode third season -- nine to run this summer and six in the winter.

TNT now has ordered three more episodes, which will be added to the six earmarked for winter, and the nine episodes will run next summer.

It is understood that TNT offered "Grace" producer Fox TV Studios a full-blown fourth-season pickup, but the studio declined to accept it for financial reasons.

"Grace" is an expensive drama fronted by an A-list talent, Oscar winner Holly Hunter.

Faced with the possibility for an abrupt end to the show, known for its woven story lines, TNT decided to order the extra episodes that would tie up all the loose ends. The network also opted give the show a proper sendoff in the summer, when cable series do much better.

TNT programming chief Michael Wright said he was sad to see "Grace" go.

"It's been a fantastic beacon for the network, which has both challenged and entertained viewers in ways few other shows on television ever dare," he said.

Wright said the network was more than happy with the show's ratings performance this summer. The third season of the series, slated to wrap Tuesday, has averaged more than 3.5 million viewers.

Created by Nancy Miller, "Grace" stars Hunter as Grace Hanadarko, a high-spirited detective who holds nothing back, on the job or in her personal life. The role has earned Hunter two Emmy nominations.

Kenneth Johnson, Leon Rippy, Yaani King and Laura San Giacomo co-star on the show, which Miller is exec producing with Gary A. Randall and Artie Mandelberg.