TNT's Ray Romano drama "Men of a Certain Age" turned out to have a certain appeal to viewers.
Monday's series premiere drew 5.4 million viewers, holding on to most of its "The Closer" lead-in (6.2 million). While not a record, it's still a very solid debut for the heavily hyped series, which represents a departure from TNT's crime-centric series slate.
Among key demos, "MOCA" attracted just over 2 million adults 18-49, improving on its "Closer" lead-in by 11 percent. That's also a good number, beating out the performance, for example, of last week's season finale of FX's red-hot "Sons of Anarchy."
In adults 25-54, "MOCA" notched 2.6 million viewers, up 8 percent from "The Closer." That number makes "MOCA" the top-rated basic cable series debut of the year in that demo.
The real test for "MOCA" will come in the weeks ahead. The series loses its "Closer" lead-in next month; it will also be interesting to see if the TNT audience sticks with a show that's different from most of the other dramas on the network.
Major critics were divided on the show, with many hailing it as a bold departure for the network but a few turned off by the somewhat dark nature of the show about men in their mid-life.
UPDATE: OK, so we screwed up by generalizing the media response to "MOCA" by saying "major critics were divided on the show." While a few big papers dissed the series-- most notably the Chicago Tribune and NY Daily News-- further research shows that most scribes were quite enthusiastic about the show.
"MOCA's" Metacritic.com score is a healthy 79, with the Chicago Sun-Times, Newsday, NY Post, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Time, the Wall Street Journal and the ever-cranky Tom Shales all kvelling over the series to one degree or another. Everybody still does love Ray after all.
CORRECTED 2:10 P.M. CST