TNT raises Bar, saves Grace

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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