TNT took Tuesday to new cable audience heights with season debuts of original series Rizzoli & Isles and Franklin & Bash.
The third-season debut of Rizzoli & Isles averaged 5.62 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. TNT officials said the installment was basic-cable's top Tuesday premiere ever for an original scripted drama series. Included in that total were 1.54 million persons 18 to 49 and 1.9 million adults 25 to 54.
The show, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as a distaff crime-solving duo with differences, provided a significant lead-in for the second-season debut of barrister-buddy skein Franklin & Bash, which averaged 3.07 million watchers, 12% more than the 2.74 million who tuned in the series bow on June 1, 2011. The series, starring Breckin Meyer as Jared Franklin and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Peter Bash, played before1.09 million 18-to-49 watchers and 1.25 million adults 25 to 54.
Both series delivered across-the-board growth for TNT when compared to the launch of last summer's Tuesday night lineup on June 14, 2011. Rizzoli & Isles outdelivered last year's 9 p.m. season premiere of Memphis Beat by 86% among viewers, 64% among persons 18 to 49 and 76% among adults 25 to 54. For its part, Franklin & Bash beat last year's season premiere of Hawthorne at 10 p.m. by 19% with viewers, and 13% and 18% in the aforementioned demo group, respectively. Memphis Beat and Hawthorne were cancelled.
While Rizzoli & Isles may have set the table for fortifying Franklin & Bash, its third-season premiere audience declined 12.5% from the 6.4 million watchers for its sophomore-season starter on July 11, 2011, which benefited from the lead-in of The Closer, which drew 7.2 million viewers.
The prior year, Rizzoli & Isles marked the biggest debut in ad-supported cable history, when it captured 7.6 million watchers, retaining 99% of The Closer's 7.7 million watchers on July 11, 2011.