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Mob City‘s fate has been revealed.
Based on John Buntin‘s book L.A. Noir, the drama reunited Darabont with Walking Dead alums including Jon Bernthal and Jeff DeMunn. In a bid to draw eyeballs in the typically low-rated holiday season, TNT scheduled and promoted the six-episode drama as an “event” series, double-pumping episodes on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. for three weeks.
The strategy didn’t pay off as the Turner-owned cable network had hoped, with the series opening to a soft 2.3 million total viewers on Dec. 4, south of other bows on the cabler. The second airing drew 1.39 million viewers with the fifth and sixth episodes dipping to 1.35 million. Despite heavy promotion during TBS’ Major League Baseball playoffs and a massive marketing campaign that included Darabont making several inflammatory remarks about his experience with AMC, the series averaged 1.68 million total viewers over its three-week run.
Darabont — who praised TNT’s scheduling — told THR ahead of Mob City‘s premiere that he hoped the series would have a run similar to AMC’s The Walking Dead, whose freshman season consisted of six episodes before growing to 12 for season two.
“We were never really geared to be a limited miniseries,” he said. “Think of this as a half a season. Just like when we started The Walking Dead, that was six episodes — a half a season. It’s just the way they’re airing it has created this impression that it’s a different kind of thing. It’s not. We shot these as individual hours just like any hour of television show.”
Season one of the period drama that explored the LAPD’s pursuit of the mob and co-starred Ed Burns,Milo Ventimiglia and Neal McDonough and ended on a big cliffhanger.
“The whole idea was if there is a second season, if we earn an audience, they will give us a more typical order,” Darabont said. “Just like Walking Dead. The idea of doing six to start is brilliant. I don’t know if we invented that with Walking Dead, but we might have. It gives the filmmaker a chance to prove his case with the audience more than just a pilot. You can’t really tell anything from a pilot. With six, you can really make your case and the network can give you the opportunity to do that without committing their resources for a full season. It’s a great way to launch something.”
TNT, meanwhile, will launch high-profile dramas The Last Ship (from Michael Bay), Legends (from Homeland‘s Howard Gordon) and Murder in the First (from Steven Bochco) in 2014. The freshman dramas join a programming slate that also includes Dallas, Falling Skies, Franklin & Bash, Perception, Rizzoli & Isles and Major Crimes.
On the pilot side, TNT has Burns’ Public Morals, Agent X with Sharon Stone, Guilty By Association and Proof, among others, all currently casting amid the crush of broadcast pilot season.
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