TNT Keeps ‘Franklin & Bash’ on Retainer

Lawyer show second summer effort to win renewal

TNT has re-upped the underwhelming freshman buddy dramedy Franklin & Bash for a second season, ordering up another run of 10 episodes.

The series, which stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer as a pair of bro-tastic lawyers, has averaged 2.63 million live-plus-same-day viewers in the course of its first eight episodes. While far from spectacular, Franklin & Bash has been remarkably consistent; its most recent episode drew 2.34 million viewers on July 20, retaining 85 percent of its premiere delivery (2.75 million on June 1).

When seven days of time-shifted viewing are factored in, Franklin & Bash has averaged 3.9 million viewers per episode.

This marks the second TNT effort for Gosselaar, who starred in the 2008-09 series Raising the Bar. Gosselaar became a household name with his portrayal of the scheming sociopath Zack Morris on NBC’s hallucinatory 1988-94 triptych Good Morning, Miss BlissSaved by the Belland Saved by the Bell: The College Years.

TNT’s big new summer draw has been the Steven Spielberg-produced alien invasion drama, Falling Skies. The show has averaged 4.4 million viewers since bowing to 5.91 million on June 19.

Earlier this month, Turner renewed Falling Skies for a second season.

Two familiar series have been responsible for putting up the biggest numbers for TNT. The Closer returned for its seventh and final season on July 11, drawing 7.23 million viewers, while sophomore drama Rizzoli & Isles came out of the gate with an average draw of 6.38 million viewers.

With another two months to go before the 2011-12 broadcast season gets under way, cable’s new class of summer dramas has been a mixed bag. USA Network has served up two new series, bowing the legal drama Suits to 4.64 million viewers on June 23 and following up with the Callie Thorne vehicle Necessary Roughness, which drew 4.67 million viewers on June 29.

Through five episodes, Suits has averaged 4.36 million viewers, while Roughness has served up 4.32 million over the course of four installments.

As is the case with rival TNT, USA is getting its biggest turnout with returning series. The fifth season of the network’s spy thriller Burn Notice is drawing 5.1 million live-plus-same-day viewers, while the second season of Covert Affairs is averaging 4.31 million.

Meanwhile, the third season of Royal Pains has drawn 4.99 million viewers in its Wednesday night time slot opposite Franklin & Bash, while White Collar is the low man on the totem pole with an average draw of 3.89 million viewers.

Other new summer entries include: FX’s Wilfred, which has averaged 1.82 million viewers since premiering to 2.55 million on June 23; Lifetime’s The Protector, a cop drama starring Ally Walker, which has averaged 1.4 million viewers; and Torchwood: Miracle Day, which has reached just 688,000 viewers over the course of its first three episodes on non-ad-supported Starz.

While scripted dramas are cable’s prestige properties, few can lay a glove on History’s odd jobs lineup. Last week, Pawn Stars averaged 6.67 million viewers in its Monday 10 p.m. time slot, while a lead-out installment of the show drew another 6.39 million. American Pickers started the night off at 9 p.m. with an average delivery of 5.57 million viewers.

On Thursday, July 21, a new episode of Swamp People attracted an audience of 5.52 million total viewers. All told, History boasted three of the top five most-watched shows on ad-supported cable last week.