We're over a day late with this news, but TNT's new Stephen Bochco produced Raising the Bar set arecords in both households and total viewers for a series premiere on an advertising supported cable network. Ironically, it set the ad supported network record without running any commercials at all, but TNT's The Closer did that its first few seasons too.
"Bar" drew 7.735 million viewers, breaking the previous record set by USA's The 4400 in 2004 which had 7.407 million. "Bar" was on in 5.709 million households, topping the previous record for a series premiere by TNT's own launch of The Closer in 2005. The old record was 5.259 million households. Basically, "Bar" almost three million more viewers than 90210 series premiere (not to mention more than 4 million more than the season premiere of Gossip Girl, which makes me ashamed that we're just getting around to posting these numbers!
"Bar" also ousted USA's In Plain Sight for best series premiere of the season and drew 2.837 million adults 18-49. Below is the full press release from TNT:
7.7 Million Viewers Watch Premiere of TNT's RAISING THE BAR, Setting Record as Ad-Supported Cable's Biggest Series Launch of All Time
New Steven Bochco Series Also Stakes Claim as Ad-Supported Cable's Top New Series Launch For the Year-To-Date among Key Adult Demos
TNT got the fall television season off to a roaring start with Monday the launch of its newest original series, RAISING THE BAR. A record-setting 7.7 million viewers and 5.7 million households tuned in last night to the premiere episode, making it ad-supported cable's #1 new series launch of all time, according to Nielsen Cable Fast Nationals. The series also garnered 2.8 million adults 18-49 and 3.5 million adults 25-54, making it ad-supported cable's top new series launch for the year-to-date.
"We are proud RAISING THE BAR is off to such a strong start, with a record-breaking series premiere, said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "RAISING THE BAR is an important part of TNT's ongoing plans to take on broadcast networks by increasing our lineup of high-profile, original series. With the strength of the TNT brand and three solid, broadcast-level hits in RAISING THE BAR, THE CLOSER and SAVING GRACE, we are well on the way to achieving our goals.
"The outstanding launch of RAISING THE BAR shows that great things can happen when you work with the best in the business, said Michael Wright, senior vice president in charge of the Content Creation Group for TNT, TBS and TCM. "There's no question that Steven Bochco is among the top talents in television. Working with David Feige and a spectacular cast and crew, Steven has created a series that resonates with TNT's audience of drama lovers.
The commercial-free premiere of RAISING THE BAR received strong support from its lead-in, THE CLOSER, which is averaging 7.2 million viewers for the season-to-date and continues to rank as ad-supported cable's #1 series of all time.
Ratings highlights for last night's series launch of RAISING THE BAR include:
RAISING THE BAR scored a 5.9 coverage household rating/5.0 national household rating.
The series premiere was watched by 7,735,000 viewers and 5,709,000 households, ranking as ad-supported cable's #1 new series launch of all time in those categories.
The telecast also scored 2,837,000 adults 18-49 and 3,471,000 adults 25-54, ranking as ad-supported cable's top new series launch for the year-to-date.
In setting a new series launch record, RAISING THE BAR outpaced the 2005 series launch of TNT's THE CLOSER among households (5,259,000) and the 2004 series launch of USA's The 4400 among viewers (7,407,000).
In ranking as ad-supported cable's top new series launch for the year-to-date, RAISING THE BAR supplanted USA's In Plain Sight among viewers (5,253,000); households (3,809,000); adults 18-49 (2,298,000); and adults 25-54 (2,567,000).
RAISING THE BAR is executive-produced by Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, LA Law) and stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar (NYPD Blue), Gloria Reuben (ER) and Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle). The drama series follows the lives and cases of young lawyers who work on opposite sides the public defender's office and the district attorney's office as well as those who sit in judgment on their cases.
RAISING THE BAR co-stars Teddy Sears (Ugly Betty), Melissa Sagemiller (Sleeper Cell), Currie Graham (Boston Legal), J. August Richards (Conviction) and Jonathan Scarfe (Into the West). Created by Bochco and lawyer/writer David Feige (author of Indefensible), it comes to TNT from ABC Studios and Bochco Media, with Bochco serving as executive producer. Bochco and Feige wrote the story for the pilot episode, and Feige wrote the script. The pilot was directed by Jesse Bochco (The Closer), who also serves as co-executive producer.
Turner Network Television (TNT), television's destination for drama and one of cable's top-rated networks, offers original series, including the acclaimed and highly popular detective drama The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick; Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter; Raising the Bar, starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Gloria Reuben and Jane Kaczmarek; Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton; and Trust Me, with Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh. TNT is also home to powerful one-hour dramas, such as Bones, Cold Case, Law & Order, Without a Trace, ER and Charmed; broadcast premiere movies; compelling prime-time specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is available in high-definition.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.