The crime drama "Murder in the First" scored the biggest audience for a TNT series premiere in two years, which bodes well for a network that has recently struggled with new shows.
Created by Steven Bochco, of "NYPD Blue" fame, and Eric Lodal, "Murder in the First" averaged 3.8 million viewers for its 10 p.m. premiere, according to Nielsen, making it the most-watched new basic cable show launch this year. Counting its encore, the premiere was watched by 4.9 million total.
The series opener followed a particularly strong result from the Season 3 debut of
The strong numbers are a welcome result for the cable channel's parent company,
Last week, Turner's new chief, John Martin, sent a blunt memo to employees laying out the challenges facing the unit, writing that it has not "kept pace with the competition or, just as important, with our own high expectations."
The TNT body count includes the noir drama "Mob City," from "Walking Dead" creator Frank Darabont, which was canceled in February after posting weak numbers. Last year's summer effort "King & Maxwell" was dropped after one season.
TNT is betting heavily on its scripted series this summer, with nine originals on the slate, including Season 5 of