TNT raises Bar, saves Grace

By Tim Surette

Sep 18, 2008

Original programming is going just fine at TNT, thank you very much. The network launched in 1988, but only got the hang of producing new shows in the last few years.

After a series of missteps--anyone remember Saved or Wanted?--TNT is two-for-two with new programming, not including its stellar The Closer. Saving Grace was received positively when it debuted in 2007, and Raising the Bar has done just fine this year.

Okay, Raising the Bar has done more than "just fine." Its premiere episode drew 7.7 million viewers (a record for ad-supported cable, says The Hollywood Reporter) and is averaging a plump 5.5 million per episode after just three shows.

So what's a network to do? Renew it, of course.

TNT handed out new 15-episode season orders to both Raising the Bar and Saving Grace earlier this week, giving the network three original programs to build its empire on. As if Ted Turner needs more.

Raising the Bar stars a funny-haired Mark-Paul Gosselaar (I won't mention he was Zack in Saved by the Bell...ooops!) as a public defender and Melissa Sagemiller (drool...) as the prosecuting attorney who is obviously having an affair with Gosselaar's character.

Holly Hunter headlines Saving Grace as Grace Hanadarko, a troubled Oklahoma City cop who gets some life lessons from an angel.

Both Raising the Bar and Saving Grace will return for its third season next year.

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  • tryptz May 23, 2009

    they all not believable not as overworked underpaid public defenders or as city prosecutors either. script drifts off into pontificating, casting pretty poor either that or the actors just not good at all.
    'sigh', wish someone put them out of their misery. its bound to happen soon i guess

  • tryptz May 23, 2009

    they all not believable not as overworked underpaid public defenders or as city prosecutors either. script drifts off into pontificating, casting pretty poor either that or the actors just not good at all.
    'sigh', wish someone put them out of their misery. its bound to happen soon i guess

  • claymore2211 Feb 28, 2009

    I'm from Canada, so we don't get TNT as part of our regular cable package. But our national network, CTV, is currently showing Raising the Bar (we are at episode 8, Out on the Roof). Man, I just love love love this show with each passing episode and this one was stellar. So heartfelt, so intense, so real. You really feel the characters are living the lives they've been written. The last scene with Charlie and Jerry on the roof...WOW! Masterful. Sooooooo glad the audience is showing up to keep the ratings high. Kudos to TNT for renewing this wonderful show. Can't wait for Season 2, even though I am still watching Season 1. All I can say is, YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • GHOSTBEHINDUBOO Dec 09, 2008

    I like RtB. Only seen Season 1 though! Others have mentioned Season 2? You sure there's been a season 2 aired?

  • angelstorm5452 Nov 08, 2008

    I love raising the bar so i'm definitely glad that it's coming back ! :)

  • angeland8 Sep 28, 2008

    Good news about Grace. Last episode of the 2nd season was too sad and kind of tragic.

  • BrainGun Sep 24, 2008

    Raising the Bar - a one-hour drama with a legal flavor.

  • Nissaxx Sep 21, 2008

    Absolutely loathed RtB, but I'm glad to see that cable networks are quickly renewing shows and thus giving them a chance. It's a nice breath of fresh air, really. Let's hope the regular networks will pick up this trend.

  • jetgraphics Sep 21, 2008

    IMHO - RtB is a turkey, and _Saved_ deserved support. But since advertising dollars trump audience disgust, we're stuck with RtB... until TNT realizes that they made a big mistake.

    BTW - Please tell the networks that the audience does not like pop up ads, scrawling ads, and other intrusions into the program. In fact, let's start sending complaints to the FCC. Remember, the airwaves are OURS, and that we grant the commercial broadcasters to use them for their private gain.

  • mccar29 Sep 20, 2008

    Great news about Saving Grace. I love that show. Raising the Bar is poorly acted and boring. I think its TNT's attempt to be like the non-cable networks. As for Wanted and Saved. I don't think they were missteps at all. Wanted was a great show. Great acting and intense story lines. Saved was fun and funny. I would take Saved or Wanted over Raising the Bar anyday!

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