EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of TNT’s renewal of Perception for a third season, the series’ co-creator/executive producer Ken Biller has signed a new, two-year oevrall deal with ABC Studios, the studio behind the drama series starring Eric McCormack. Under the pact, Biller will continue as executive producer and showrunner of Perception as well as develop new projects for network and cable. “Ken’s been part of the ABC family for many years, and we’re thrilled to keep him in the fold,” said ABC Studios EVP Patrick Moran. Before co-creating Perception with Mike Sussman, Biller, repped by CAA and Steve Berson, co-developed and executive produced ABC Studios’ cult syndicated fantasy series Legend Of The Seeker. “I love making television, so I’m really grateful for the opportunity to keep working at ABC Studios,” Biller said. His other series credits include ABC/ABC Studios’ Six Degrees as well as NBC’s E-Ring, Fox’s North Shore, the WB/CW’s Smallville and UPN’s Star Trek: Voyager. His current development for ABC Studios includes a one-hour action drama, Dirty Work, at TNT.
TNT has ordered 15-episode new seasons of three of its highest performing original summer series, Rizzoli & Isles, The Closer spinoff Major Crimes and Perception, for next summer. The three join recently renewed Falling Skies. No decisions have been made yet on freshman King & Maxwell and Franklin & Bash, whose future is uncertain, as is that of the 2 reality series TNT launched in the summer, The Hero and 72 Hours.
The four renewed TNT dramas rank among basic cable’s Top 10 series with total viewers this summer, with Rizzoli & Isles leading the pack at No.1. Falling Skies and Rizzoli & Isles are two of basic cable’s Top 5 dramas with adults 18-49. “With the renewals of Rizzoli & Isles, Major Crimes, Falling Skies and Perception, TNT has built an incredibly strong arsenal of scripted series,” Michael Wright said. “And it’s only going to get stronger with the addition of Mob City and the return of Dallas this winter, not to mention the debuts of The Last Ship and Legends next summer.”
EXCLUSIVE: TNT drama Major Crimes is getting its upcoming second season supersized. The network has ordered four additional episodes from The Closer spinoff, bringing its second season order to 19 episodes. That is almost twice the size of Major Crimes‘ first season, which consisted of 10 episodes. Additionally, another TNT drama going into its second season, the Eric McCormack starrer Perception, has received a pickup for one additional episode, bringing its Season 2 order to 14 episodes. Major Crimes’ second season debuts on June 10, Perception‘s on June 25. Major Crimes‘ debut, which aired immediately after the blockbuster series finale of The Closer last August, drew 9.5 million viewers, a new record as basic cable’s most-watched series launch ever. With an average audience of nearly 7 million, Major Crimes’ first season ranked as cable’s No. 1 new series for last year.
TNT has tweaked the premiere dates for four of the nine original series (scripted and unscripted) it is running this summer. The change is biggest for Franklin & Bash, whose third season will launch June 19 instead of the previously announced July 24. The show, starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer and new female lead Heather Locklear, will start with a two-hour season opener. Other three series’ launch dates will be shifted by a week: The fourth season of Rizzoli & Isles and the second season of Perception will start June 25 instead of June 18, and new unscripted series Cold Justice will premiere September 3 instead of August 27.
TNT has ordered a second season of Perception, its freshman drama starring Eric McCormack. Perception, produced by ABC Studios, currently ranks second behind TNT’s just launched Closer spinoff Major Crimes among basic cable’s top new scripted series this year. The network has ordered 13 episodes for season two, which is slated to air in 2013. “Perception has captured the imagination of TNT’s audience of armchair detectives with wonderfully intricate cases, emotionally charged situations and, of course, a terrific cast led by Eric McCormack,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright.
Perception, which airs Mondays at 10 PM, is averaging 7 million viewers (Live + 7), with 1.8 million adults 18-49 and 2.3 million adults 25-54. It centers on Dr. Daniel Pierce (McCormack), an eccentric neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia who is recruited by the FBI to help solve complex cases.
The premiere of ABC’s nine-week run of Good Afternoon America drew 1.923 million total viewers and 359,000 women 18-49 on Monday, according to fast national data released today. The one-hour extension of Good Morning America hosted by Lara Spencer and Josh Elliott improved on the season average of its predecessor, the canceled The Revolution, by 40% in viewers and 21% in the demo.
Meanwhile, on TNT, the final season opener of The Closer drew 6.1 million viewers and 1.2 million adults 18-49, followed by the series premiere of the drama Perception, which drew 5.6 million total viewers to rank behind the network’s Dallas as cable’s best series bow numbers year-to-date.
As it picked up drama pilot Perception to series today, I hear TNT passed on the other two pilots that had been in contention: Mike Robe’s Bird Dog, about a father-daughter cop team, and Allan Loeb’s untitled project based on Marshall Karp’s novel The Rabbit Factory. The single series order to come out of the three pilots leaves some shelf space as TNT is yet to receive the two highest-profile pilots from this batch: the Dallas reboot, which is in pre-production, and the Robert Redford-produced Generations, which is in early stages of casting.
TNT just announced that it has picked up drama pilot Perception to series with a 10-episode order and has renewed cop drama Southland for a fourth season, also with a 10-episode order.
Perception, which will premiere next year, stars Eric McCormack as a neuroscientist who works to solve complex criminal cases. Also starring in the ABC Studios-produced series are Rachael Leigh Cook, Arjay Smith and Kelly Rowan. Perception was created by executive producer Kenneth Biller and co-executive producer Mike Sussman, with McCormack serving as producer. Alan Poul directed and served as executive producer for the pilot. “When we saw the pilot for Perception, it confirmed what we thought from the first pitch: It’s a perfect fit for TNT’s original series lineup,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright. “With its blend of intensity, emotion, humor, smart storytelling, sharp direction and a buzz-worthy performance from Eric McCormack, Perception is a hugely entertaining show we believe TNT viewers will love.”
Southland, which wrapped up its third season March 8, stars Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, Regina King and Ben McKenzie. The series has averaged 2.9 million viewers this season, up 6% compared to Season 2. Southland, which started off on NBC, hails …
Eric McCormack seems headed back to TNT’s primetime. Word is that TNT is closing in on a series order for the drama pilot Perception starring the Will & Grace alum. The project, from ABC Studios, centers on Dr. Geoffrey Pierce (McCormack), an eccentric, frequently erratic and brilliant university professor in neuropsychiatry who helps the FBI solve complex cases working with sexy, sharp-tongued and smart FBI agent (and his former student) Kate Rossi (Rachael Leigh Cook). Kenneth Biller and Mike Sussman co-wrote the pilot, which was directed by Alan Poul. Perception is one of four pilots ordered by TNT last fall along with Dallas, Bird Dog and an untitled project from Allan Loeb. It was the first one to cast its lead. McCormack previously starred in TNT’s ad-agency drama Trust Me. Meanwhile, TNT is close to renewing cop drama Southland for a fourth season.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip co-stars Steven Weber and D.L. Hughley are reuniting on TNT. Weber and Hughley have been tapped as the two leads of TNT’s untitled pilot from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps writer Allan Loeb. In other TNT pilot casting, Arjay Smith has landed a lead role opposite Eric McCormack in the network’s drama Perception.
Based on Marshall Karp’s novel The Rabbit Factory, the Lionsgate TV-produced Allan Loeb project centers on recently widowed police Detective Mike Lomax (Weber) and his newly married partner, Terry Biggs (Hughley), who delve into a world of mystery, intrigue and occasional hijinks. Lomax, who continues to receive humorous and heartfelt weekly letters from his wife a year after her death, tries to navigate the singles world while also maintaining his pedigree as one of L.A.’s finest. Loeb wrote the pilot script and is executive producing with Steven Pearl. Ken Topolsky is co-executive producing. Weber, repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment, is already in business with TNT. He has a 3-episode arc on the network’s upcoming sci-fi series Fallen Skies. Hughley, who has an arc on TBS’ upcoming comedy series Glory Daze, is with ICM and 3 Arts.
Following some pretty intense final negotiations, Eric McCormack has closed a deal to return to TNT as the star of the network’s pilot Perception. The Will & Grace alum will play the lead in the project, Dr. Geoffrey Pierce, an eccentric, frequently erratic and absolutely brilliant neuroscientist who helps the FBI solve complex cases. Kenneth Biller and Mike Sussman co-wrote the pilot, which is produced by ABC Studios. McCormack will serve as producer. At TNT, McCormack previously toplined ad agency drama Trust Me.