Advertising Age has an article, specifically focused on Time-Warner/Turner’s programming for TBS and TNT, that takes a close look at TNT’s The Closer.
“The Closer” is by far TNT’s best performer, with its first-run original episodes drawing an average of 6.83 million live-plus-same-day viewers between July 28, 2008, and Feb. 23, 2009, according to Nielsen. The first season of “Leverage,” starring Timothy Hutton as a sort of modern-day Robin Hood, drew an average of 3.14 million. The second season of “Saving Grace,” starring Holly Hunter as a troubled cop, drew an average of 3.64 million. In contrast, CBS’s hit sitcom “Two and a Half Men” drew about 14.56 million viewers the week of March 30. (Of course, many of broadcast’s lesser lights don’t draw anywhere near these numbers. A recent episode of CW’s “Gossip Girl” drew an average of 2.1 million viewers.)
Man, some people will do just about anything to get in a Gossip Girl reference!
But the main thrust of the article is that Turner is expanding original programming while the likes of NBC are scaling back prime-time (AKA five hours a week of Jay Leno). Despite the way Advertising Age ran the headline — which gave the premise that effectively cable advertising buys for shows like The Closer are bargains compared to their broadcast network cousins, the article doesnt seem to delve very into that subject, until the closing paragraph.
One media buyer said Turner should broaden its outlook, and realize its original shows could draw ad dollars from other venues, too. “I understand Turner’s strategy of going after broadcast dollars and respect that that’s the completion they want to compare themselves to and the competitive set they want to be in,” said Shelley Watson, senior VP-director of entertainment at independent agency RPA.