So the folks behind the recently canceled "Southland" are working the phones today, hitting up every cable network they can think of that might be interested in the cop drama.
First on everyone's list for taking the departed NBC drama is TNT. For starters, "Southland" is produced by Warner Bros., which like TNT is owned by Time Warner, so there is a family connection. Second, while "The Closer" is still going gangbusters for TNT, the network recently lost "Saving Grace," and its other dramas, including "Dark Blue," have not been setting the world on fire.
While "Southland" certainly would be a good fit on TNT, it remains to be seen if the network would want to buy someone else's castoff. With six episodes of "Southland" already in the can, TNT may be able to negotiate a decent price, and since Warner Bros. will already be getting paid for those shows by NBC, it might be willing to cut a slight break on the license fee. Then, if the show were a success for TNT, it could ask for more money. NBC was paying about $1.5 million per episode for the show, people close to the production say. That is not a huge fee for a cash cow like TNT.
Another likely network would be A&E. However, we're told A&E has already passed. And A&E is partially owned by NBC, so that might have been a problem politically even if it did want it. USA Network is totally owned by NBC and "Southland" is much too dark for them, so that's out.
That brings us to AMC, home of "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad." They like to spend money there, but everyone thinks they are the new HBO, so they might not want to sully their image with a show from a (cough) broadcast network.
FX already has a ton of programming, and while "Southland" may be gritty (there's that word again) for NBC, it's "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" for FX.
People will say it should go on HBO or Showtime, but it's not nearly quirky enough.
So unless Food Network or The Weather Channel (whoops, that's NBC again) want to go in a completely different direction, the only real candidate out there may be TNT.
Let's see if blood is thicker than money.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: "Southland" Credit: Richard Foreman/NBC Universal