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TNT to Wrap Up The Closer

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Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson will slam the junk-food drawer shut in 2011.

TNT on Friday (Dec. 10) announced it would wrap up its top-rated original drama franchise, The Closer, with a seventh and final season. Production of the 15-episode capper will begin in the spring.

The network said the decision to end the series was made by Closer star Kyra Sedgwick, who this summer won her first Emmy Award (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama) for her portrayal of the steely-eyed fussbudget.

“I cannot fathom how difficult it will be to say goodbye to the incredible family we’ve created on the Closer,” Sedgwick said, by way of announcing the decision. “I want to thank TNT and Warner Bros. Television, as well as the incredible fans of The Closer, for all of their unwavering support over the last seven years.”

This is not the first time that TNT has said it agreed to wrap up an original series based on the wishes of its top talent. In 2009, the Turner network announced it was folding the tent on the Holly Hunter strip Saving Grace after three seasons (46 episodes).

The loss of The Closer could punch a ragged hole in TNT’s prime-time lineup. After premiering to 7.03 million viewers in June 2005, the show went on to become ad-supported cable’s most-watched scripted series of all time. The season three finale drew a record 9.21 million total viewers, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data; upon application of seven days of playback, that delivery grew 8 percent to 9.95 million.

This summer, The Closer averaged 7.92 million total viewers, of which 2.77 million, or 35 percent, were members of the target 25-54 demo. The sixth season of the procedural served as an apt launching pad for the new Boston cop show Rizzoli & Isles, which averaged 8.1 million viewers in the lead-out Monday 10 p.m. slot.

“It’s impossible to fully express our appreciation to Kyra Sedgwick, series creator James Duff and all of the other talented people who brought The Closer to TNT viewers,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. “The Closer was a pivotal series in setting a new course for TNT’s original programming, while also serving as a prime example of the storytelling strength possible on cable television.”