Last week, NBC and 16 million viewers said goodbye to the venerable medical drama, ER. This week, the network debuted a new show co-produced by ER’s John Wells. So, how did Southland stack up?
Southland is police drama that’s billed as a raw and authentic look at Los Angeles as seen through the eyes of the men and women of the LAPD. In the pilot, we meet John Cooper (Standoff’s Michael Cudlitz), a seasoned and no-nonsense cop who’s assigned to guide a young rookie named Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie from The O.C.). Others in the cast include Regina King (Leap of Faith), Tom Everett Scott (Grace Under Fire), Michael McGrady (Day Break), Kevin Alejandro (Shark), Shawn Hatosy (Felicity), and Arija Bareikis (Crossing Jordan).
NBC certainly needs a hit and hasn’t had much luck lately with the likes of Kings and The Chopping Block. It appears however that the peacock network may have some success with Southland. There are plenty of crime dramas on television right now but not many take the “gritty” approach. Critical reception for the show has been positive overall and viewers seem to agree.
Last night’s premiere attracted 9.72 million viewers with a 3.2/9 rating/share in the 18-49 demographic. Southland was in second place for total viewers in the timeslot (behind CBS’ Harper’s Island) and drew almost three million more than its lead-in, 30 Rock. More importantly, the cop drama was first in the all-important demo.
While the number of viewers of many new dramas have been declining in their second half hour, Southland actually grew by over half a million. That’s a good indication that viewers will return next week and may even bring a friend or two.
Southland also looks pretty good when compared with former timeslot occupant ER. It outperformed most of the medical drama’s final season in total viewers and essentially matched it in the demographic.
Though NBC was surely hoping for better, these ratings are certainly a positive sign. The struggling peacock network could certainly use it. So, what do you think? Is it a keeper or headed for cancellation? If you tuned in, will you return next week?
Image courtesy NBC.