Exclusive: TNT Close To Ordering Fifth Season Of Southland

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Exclusive: Executives at TNT are extremely happy with the ratings for Southland and are close to renewing the series for a fifth season, sources at the network confirm exclusively to TVWise.

The drama series from Ann Biderman and produced by John Wells (The West Wing, ER) follows the day-to-day lives of a group of police officers working for the Los Angeles Police Department. The series stars Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, Benjamin McKenzie and Regina King with Lucy Liu joining the cast this season in a recurring role.

There are still three episodes left to air in the show’s ten episode fourth season, but I’m being told that, at this stage, a renewal is a mere formality. The only issue that needs to be resolved is the number of episodes to be ordered for next season. I’m told that series producer, Warner Bros. Television, wants a longer season (13 – 15 episodes), however TNT tends to reserve such a large order for top performing series such as The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles.

Even so, given the series performance in the ratings, the news that TNT is looking to lock down a fifth season comes as no surprise especially with the series frequently drawing a 0.6 rating against robust competition from the broadcast networks.

While this season’s premiere episode drew in a mere 1.76 million viewers and a 0.6 rating in live+same day, down a tenth in the demo from the show’s third season premiere, time shifted viewing (live+3) rose those numbers to 2.4 million total viewers and 1.1 million viewers in the 18-49 demo (up from 0.78 million in live+same day). Season to date Southland has averaged (in live+same day) 1.86 million viewers and a 0.6 rating, posting gains of 5% among adults 18-49 and 3% among adults 25-54 compared to last year.

The network is expected to formally renew the series for a fifth season in the coming weeks.