Nurse Jackie had the right prescription for Showtime.
Following its premiere as the top original series in network history, the Edie Falco-starrer was picked up by the premium network for a second season.
Nurse Jackie, which features the Emmy Award-winning Falco as an emergency room nurse who must juggle the complexities of her professional and family lives with the dualities of her own addictive personality, scored 1 million viewers during its June 8 bow at 10:30 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research data. The show added another 350,000 watchers during its encore at 11:30 p.m.
Network officials indicated that the second-season of Nurse Jackie, a co-production of Showtime Networks Inc. and Lionsgate, would encompass at least another dozen installments.
The series benefited from a strong lead-in from the fifth-season start of Weeds, which stars Mary Louise-Parker as the pot-selling matriarch of her family. The 10 p.m. debut reached 1.22 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. The second hit of Weeds at 11 p.m. averaged 460,000 watchers.
The combined audience of 1.68 million was Showtime's highest-rated show thus far in 2009, according to network officials.
The success of Nurse Jackie underlines the prowess of Weeds as a vehicle to help launch series for Showtime: it also served as the lead-in to Californication and Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which will begin their third seasons in September and January, respectively.