TNT’s ‘The Closer’ and ‘Raising the Bar’ show signs of summer softening


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TNT can still round up a big audience for its summer shows, but the season premieres of ‘The Closer’ and ‘Raising the Bar’ hint at the first signs of viewer fatigue.

‘The Closer,’ the network’s hit crime drama with Kyra Sedgwick, opened its fifth season Monday with an average of 7.1 million total viewers, according to early data from Nielsen Media Research. That’s the largest audience for a scripted show on basic cable so far this year. But it’s also down 9% from the series’ Season 4 premiere last July and the worst performance for any ‘Closer’ season opener since the year the show launched, 2005.


Meanwhile, ‘Raising the Bar,’ the legal drama from legendary producer Steven Bochco, looks to be in trouble. The September premiere drew 7.7 million viewers, a record for basic cable. But the Season 2 bow delivered just 3.6 million, for a stunning 53% decline.

TNT’s summer rollout continues next week with the series launches of Mark Burnett’s reality show ‘Wedding Day’ and the hospital drama ‘HawthoRNe,’ plus the Season 3 premiere of ‘Saving Grace’ with Holly Hunter. And on July 15 comes the Season 2 premiere of ‘Leverage’ with Timothy Hutton and the series launch of Jerry Bruckheimer’s ‘Dark Blue.’

— Scott Collins