Scoop: Don't Look for TNT to Expand Length of Existing Southland episodes

Categories: Cable TV

Written By

November 2nd, 2009

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On Monday Michael Ausiello posted a story that TNT might expand the existing episodes of Southland:

More good news on the Southland front: On the heels of this morning’s confirmation that TNT will run all 13 Southland episodes (including the six season 2 episodes that NBC never aired), comes word that the cable net may pad the seven season 1 eppys with never-before-seen bonus footage.

According to my go-to guy at Southland, Michael Cudlitz, “It’s my understanding that the actual episodes will have more airtime on TNT, so I believe they will be going back in and [adding] content. They’ll have the opportunity, and, in my opinion the need, to open up the [initial seven] episodes a little bit.”

It's not clear to me where Mr. Cudlitz got his understanding that there would be more airtime on TNT.

Southland episodes are about as long as recent episodes of  The Closer, Saving Grace, Dark Blue and Leverage

I did the unthinkable!  I actually looked up the run times for some TNT shows and for Southland minus any commercials and promos.  Just opening and closing themes/credits and show content.  You can head to iTunes and do it yourself if you don't trust me.

I looked at the run times for season five of The Closer.  I also looked at Saving Grace. It looks like the episodes used to be a bit longer but that both The Closer and Saving Grace now strive to come in at 43 minutes and 10 seconds.  Most of Leverage's episodes came in at exactly 43:14.  Dark Blue liked to hover around 43 minutes, too.  Outside of the pilot, all the episodes in season one of Dark Blue were 43:10 or less.

Five out of the last six episodes of  Saving Grace were exactly 43:10 and four out of the five last episodes of Season Five of The Closer were 43:10, with the other 43:11.

Four out of the seven episodes of Southland from last spring were either greater than 43:10 or within 7 seconds of it.  Two of the remaining three episodes 42:19, and the other one was 42:39.

Would it even be worth adding edited out content back in?

So it mostly looks like TNT would have to give up ad time to expand Southland.   Perhaps there is some bang for adding in some "never before seen footage" but between what looks like would be less advertising and the cost to do it, I can't see them doing that.   Unless TNT perceives a much bigger bang for "39 seconds or so of never before seen footage of Southland per episode!" than I do.  And, that's always possible...

 
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