Southland is without a doubt one of TNT’s most critically-acclaimed (and overlooked) dramas. But this recent season of Southland has showed TNT executives why it was a smart idea to rescue the cancelled drama from from NBC.
For the past two seasons that TNT has produced Southland – seasons three and four – the cable net has only ordered 10 episode per season, a couple of episodes shy of the cable industry standard of 13 episodes. Southland executive producers John Wells, Christopher Chulack, and Jonathan Lisco are looking for that to change with season five. The producers, and Warner. Bros TV are looking to produce 13 episodes next season while TNT is still looking to produce 10. Why not just produce 13?
Southland is already an incredibly cheap show to produce (I expect), since TNT and Warner Bros. TV had to financially cut back a lot in the show’s transition from NBC to TNT to make this drama work for cable. Half of the original cast has been axed, and the production/cinematography on the show has changed to fit the tight budget that has been given, without sacrificing the show’s quality.
Another reason a couple extra installments of Southland should be ordered are the ratings, which have been well this season. Season four ended in March, averaging 2.9 million viewers per week, 1.3 million of those viewers are in the 18-49 demo. These numbers were up compared to season three. If ratings are up and the budget remains low, why not just produce three more episodes?
The official announcement of the fifth season of Southland should be announced sometime this week, according to Variety. The next big task at hand now is working out how many episodes will be airing next year. I’m rooting for 13 episodes.