TNT’s Dark Blue Cuffs Solid Premiere Stats

TNT on Wednesday night enjoyed another solid series launch, as the new cop drama Dark Blue drew 3.54 million viewers in the 10 p.m. time slot.

Executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s latest project retained 91 percent of its lead-in, as the second-season premiere of the Timothy Hutton vehicle Leverage scared up 3.89 million viewers in the 9 p.m. time slot.

Among the demos, Dark Blue held on to the lion’s share of its lead-in, averaging 1.63 million adults 25-54, or around 95 percent of the 1.72 million who tuned in for Leverage. The new series also delivered 1.24 million viewers 18-49, down just 8 percent from 1.35 million in the previous hour, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings estimates.

Starring Dylan McDermott, Dark Blue is TNT’s second original drama series to debut this summer. On June 16, the Turner net bowed the Jada Pinkett Smith hospital drama Hawthorne, drawing 3.83 million viewers.

With the introduction of Dark Blue to its summer slate, TNT now boasts three nights of original dramas. On Monday nights, the net stacks its franchise hit The Closer alongside sophomore courtroom drama Raising the Bar, while Tuesdays are home to Hawthorne and the third-season Holly Hunter strip, Saving Grace.

Season-to-date, The Closer is averaging 6.5 million viewers, while Raising the Bar is delivering just over half of that total, with 3.3 million. On Tuesday night, Hawthorne is drawing an average 3.3 million viewers, while Saving Grace is retaining the lion’s share of its lead-in with 3 million viewers.

“Last year, we laid out a strategy to create three nights of high-quality, original programming on TNT,” said Michael Wright, executive vp, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies. “The success of Leverage and Dark Blue proves once again what can happen when you work with the very best talent in the industry.”

TNT’s lone strike-out of the summer came last month, as the June 16 premiere of the Mark Burnett unscripted series, Wedding Day, drew a mere 853,000 total viewers. TNT has since shifted the show to Saturday mornings at 9 a.m., where it is averaging 592,000 viewers.