Monday night’s premiere of TNT’s new original series Rizzoli & Isles now claims the record as cable’s #1 commercial-supported series launch of all time, with 7.6 million viewers. The series, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, raced out of the starting gate after an equally strong performance for the sixth-season premiere of The Closer, which delivered 7.7 million viewers, up 7% over its fifth-season premiere on June 8, 2009. Both premieres also rank as ad-supported cable’s top series telecasts for the year-to-date among viewers and households.
“The tremendous viewer response to Rizzoli & Isles is very gratifying,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “Rizzoli & Isles is shaping up to be a great companion for The Closer, which continues to deliver extraordinary numbers in its sixth season on our network.”
Rizzoli & Isles premiered Monday at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) with 7,553,000 viewers and 5,647,000 households, making it cable’s most successful commercial-supported series launch of all time. The episode ranks a close second behind the September 2008 commercial-free debut of Raising the Bar among all series premieres on ad-supported cable. Rizzoli & Isles built on its lead-in from The Closer among key adult demos, with 2,079,000 adults 18-49 and 2,722,000 adults 25-54.
The Closer, starring Golden Globe® winner and current Emmy® nominee Kyra Sedgwick, kicked off its sixth season at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) with 7,660,000 viewers and 5,716,000 households, ranking as ad-supported cable’s top series telecast for the year-to-date in both categories. The telecast delivered strong growth when compared to the fifth-season premiere, with viewers and households up 7%. Among key adult demos, The Closer averaged 1,995,000 adults 18-49 and 2,680,000 adults 25-54.
Rizzoli & Isles brings two powerful women to TNT’s roster of strong female characters. Based on the crime novels by best-selling author Tess Gerritsen, this crime drama stars Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, good friends and sometimes partners, who together solve crimes and bust some of Boston’s most notorious criminals. Lorraine Bracco co-stars as Jane’s demanding and intrusive mother. Rizzoli & Isles also stars Lee Thompson Young, Bruce McGill and Jordan Bridges. The series comes to TNT from Warner Horizon Television and is being executive-produced by Janet Tamaro and Bill Haber’s Ostar Productions.
The Closer, which ranks as cable’s #1 series of all time, stars Sedgwick as Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, head of the LAPD’s Major Crimes unit. She is joined by the show’s four-time SAG Award®-nominated ensemble cast, including Corey Reynolds, G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Raymond Cruz, Michael Paul Chan and Phillip P. Keene. The series also stars Jon Tenney as Brenda’s husband, FBI Agent Fritz Howard; J.K. Simmons as her demanding boss, Will Pope; and Robert Gossett as the head of Robbery-Homicide, Commander Taylor. The Closer is produced for TNT by The Shephard/Robin Company, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The series was created by James Duff, who serves as executive producer with Greer Shephard, Michael M. Robin, Rick Wallace and Kyra Sedgwick.
In addition to The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles, TNT’s summer originals line-up includes the third season of Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton (Sundays at 9 p.m.); the second season of HawthoRNe, starring Jada Pinkett Smith (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.); and the debut season of the new hit series Memphis Beat, starring Jason Lee and Alfre Woodard (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.). In August, Jerry Bruckheimer’s high-octane cop drama Dark Blue, starring Dylan McDermott, returns for its second season, with Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer joining the cast.