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TNT will bring back 'Southland' for third season

April 26, 2010 |  1:44 pm

Cable network TNT has signed on for a third season of "Southland," the police drama that NBC cut loose late last year.

TNT, which had acquired the rights to "Southland's" first season and the six episodes  for Season Two that NBC passed on, said it has ordered 10 new episodes from executive producer John Wells and Warner Bros. The episodes will begin airing in  January.

A renewal of "Southland" by TNT was no guarantee, and it's even a little surprising because the audience for the show is much smaller than other TNT originals. According to Nielsen, the six original episodes for "Southland" averaged about 2.7 million viewers. "The Closer" is TNT's biggest hit, with almost 8 million viewers, while "Men of a Certain Age" and "Hawthorne" both average over 4 million viewers.

To do a third season of "Southland" for TNT, production costs likely will come down. Most cable shows shoot on a tighter schedule and pay lower salaries.

On the plus side, while the audience for "Southland" is smaller than that of TNT's other original shows, it also has a median age of 47, the lowest of any TNT series.

-- Joe Flint

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