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TNT Renews ‘Southland’

John Wells’ NBC-refugee cop drama given a third season

Cop drama “Southland” continued its improbable survival saga Monday, with TNT committing to a third season of the John Wells-produced series.

The cable network has ordered 10 new episodes and has targeted a January 2011 premiere date.

“‘Southland’ is a challenging, visceral show that engages viewers with its immersive style, provocative storylines and complex characters,” said Michael Wright, executive VP, head of programming, for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies. “These qualities have made ‘Southland’ a favorite among critics and appointment viewing for an extremely loyal audience.”

Created by Ann Biderman (“NYPD Blue”) and produced by Warner Bros. Television, “Southland” was cancelled by NBC last year, when the network ceded its 10 p.m. hour to Jay Leno.

TNT then acquired the series, paying a per-episode license fee of around $1.5 million, only slightly less than NBC’s rate.

TNT encored the first season of the gritty LAPD-focused show, before commencing the six-episode second season in March.

“Southland” has averaged 2.7 million total viewers and 1.4 million adults 18-49 for TNT, with total audience swelling 50 percent for Live Plus Seven viewing.