EXCLUSIVE: TNT is not ready to close the book on The Closer. We hear that the cable channel is contemplating ways to extend the hit crime drama starring Kyra Sedgwick, including ordering additional episodes with Sedgwick and continuing the show without her, with another character (Mary McDonnell’s Capt. Sharon Raydor, perhaps?) stepping up on the existing series or launching a new spinoff series.
Among the scenarios currently discussed at TNT is super-sizing the 15-episode seventh and final season to 21-episodes with an order for 6 extra episodes. That, of course, is contingent on a deal with Sedgwick, whose contract is up at the end of Season 7. Additionally, the cable network is eying a possible 9-episode order for a new series, either The Closer sans Sedgwick in the mold of the transition on NBC’s comedy The Office after the pending exit of star Steve Carell, or a spinoff series featuring characters from The Closer in a new setting. (The latter will probably be a little easier to pull off as Sedgwick plays the title character in the original series.) Two years ago, TNT took a stab at launching a Closer spinoff called The Fixer, about a professional fixer and his daughter, which was to feature two characters from the original series, G.W. Bailey’s Det. Provenza and Tony Denison’s Lt. Flynn.
It is understandable for TNT to try to extend its flagship show, which remains the most watched basic cable series of all time and this summer helped launch TNT’s most promising series since The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles. (Some say the network may have jumped the gun too soon with the end-of-series announcement on The Closer in early December.)
Additionally, a potential order for 6 more episodes of The Closer along with 9 for a successor series would make a combined 15-episode run, giving TNT another full season to play with that would include a highly-rated 6-episode conclusion of The Closer starring Sedgwick segueing into the show without her. Sedgwick, who in August won her first Emmy for playing Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson, had said that she wanted to move on after the end of her current contract for The Closer.
This is a shocker. TNT’s flagship series The Closer is coming to an end with next year’s seventh season as its last. This was not a result of contract negotiations gone bad. The contract of star Kyra Sedgwick is up at the end of Season 7 and, like The Office‘s Steve Carell, she decided to move on. Unlike The Office, TNT and The Closer producer Warner Bros. TV opted to end the series with their star leaving. But The Closer is much more of a single-lead show than The Office. “Kyra is The Closer, it’s like continuing The Mentalist without Simon Baker,” one insider noted. Sedgwick, who has been commuting from New York where she lives with her family to Los Angeles where The Closer films, is certainly leaving on a high note. She just won an Emmy for The Closer in August. Also in the summer, the show helped launch TNT’s most promising new series since The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles. That would probably soften the blow to TNT from losing its signature series. The Closer remains the most watched basic cable series of all time and, in its sixth season, which is still underway, it went up from Season 5 in the ratings, a rare feat for a veteran series. Here is TNT’s release:
TNT’s long-running, breakout hit THE CLOSER will wrap up its phenomenal run with a final season in 2011. The difficult decision to conclude the series with season seven was made by Kyra Sedgwick, the Emmy-winning star of THE CLOSER.
“It’s impossible to fully express our appreciation to Kyra Sedgwick, series creator James Duff and all of the other talented people who brought THE CLOSER to TNT viewers,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. “THE CLOSER was a pivotal series in setting a new course for TNT’s original programming, while also serving as a prime example of the storytelling strength possible on cable television.”
“I cannot fathom how difficult it will be to say goodbye to the incredible family we’ve created on THE CLOSER,” Sedgwick said. “I will always be grateful to James Duff for his love and friendship, as well as for creating such a rich and complex character who I have loved living with year after year. Mike, Greer, Rick and all of our outstanding cast and crew are forever in my heart. I want to thank TNT and Warner Bros. Television, as well as the incredible fans of THE CLOSER, for all of their unwavering support over the last seven years.”
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