Though NBC has axed Southland before its second season could premiere, the producers aren’t giving up on it. They just need to find the drama a new home.
If you weren’t watching last season, Southland revolves around a bunch of cops on the LAPD. Armed with their experience and firearms, they take on all manners of problems on the streets of Los Angeles. The series stars an ensemble of both new faces and TV veterans like Benjamin McKenzie, Kevin Alejandro, Arija Bareikis, Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, Regina King, Michael McGrady, Tom Everett Scott, Emily Bergl, Patrick Fischler, Lex Medlin, C. Thomas Howell, Emily Swallow, Carla Jeffery, Lori Alan, and Roxana Brusso.
Southland made a decent debut last season but viewership cooled as the season progressed. NBC renewed it for a second season even though the programmers knew they didn’t have an appropriate place for it on the schedule. After looking at some of the second season episodes, the network execs decided they were too dark for network TV and pulled the plug. Executive Producer John Wells pledged to shop the series to other outlets.
According to the LA Times, Southland was pitched to A&E but they passed on it. The cable channel runs its own dark dramas but is partially owned by NBC so there could be political reasons. It’s a similar situation for USA though Southland’s much darker than their usual programming like Psych and Monk.
A move to FX would have the opposite problem. While the cable channel runs its own gritty programming, FX shows go much further than Southland. AMC could be an alternative but they tend to run more artistic original programming like Mad Men. Pay channels like HBO and Showtime favor shows with offbeat premises and likely wouldn’t touch a network’s castoffs.
Most agree that TNT is Southland’s best chance at a second life. Warner Bros. TV produces the cop drama and TNT is owned by Turner. Both fall under the Time Warner corporate umbrella.
THR is reporting that TNT and Warner have held discussions and that they are “advancing.” In a statement, TNT said, “We continually look at all programming opportunities that fit our portfolio of brands.”
Though any channel is reluctant to take another’s leftovers, the acquisition could make sense for TNT. They regularly air original cop-based programming like Saving Grace (which was recently cancelled). The channel’s most recent offering, Dark Blue, hasn’t been a big success and its fate hangs in the balance. TNT could opt to replace Dark Blue with Southland which already has some viewer recognition and has attracted some decent press.
TNT could also likely get a good deal on the series. Six episodes have already been shot and paid for so Warners would likely offer the cable channel a discount on the 13 episode season.
If they took the deal, TNT would be a hero to Southland fans but it remains to be seen if that would translate into real numbers. Fans have worked to get shows renewed in the past but only a percentage have shown up to watch the fruits of their labor.
What do you think? Would you follow Southland to TNT?