What Does The Future Hold For TNT’s HawthoRNe?

So, after two weeks on the air, the question is, is it safe to invest any more of our precious viewing time into new Jada Pinkett Smith hospital drama “HawthoRNe,” or is this show going the same place that “Trust Me,” “Heartland,” “Saved” and several other one-and-done TNT dramas went?

TNT officials say no decision has been made regarding a season-two renewal for “HawthoRNe,” but in medical terms, the prognosis is good.

On Tuesday, 3.8 million viewers tuned into watch episode two, “Healing Time,” which featured Pinkett Smith’s Christina Hawthorne momentarily falling for a patient with brain trouble who has mistaken the nurse for his wife.

That’s not a performance on par with one of cable’s biggest hits, TNT’s “The Closer,” which brought nearly 7 million viewers to the box Monday, but 3.8 million is almost the same number “HawthoRNe” yielded for its June 16 premiere, meaning most of the people who saw the pilot stuck around for the second episode.

Despite the happy news, insiders say TNT will take its time before signing off on a second season of “HawthoRNe.”

Blame Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s hair for the network’s caution.

Last year, the Gosselaar-starring legal drama “Raising the Bar” premiered to a staggering-for-cable audience of nearly 8 million viewers on Labor Day, which prompted jubilant TNT officials to greenlight a second season the following day.

From that point on, “Bar’s” ratings got lowered each week, cratering out to less than 3 million viewers by season’s end.

In recent weeks, with Gosselaar — perhaps coincidentally — sporting less conspicuous hair, the series has perked up to average about 3.4 million viewers, but TNT seems to have learned its lesson about “more please!” too soon.

Certainly, “HawthoRNe” is in no danger of having its plug pulled before it finishes its first season.

In fact, TNT plans to continue right along with its original show expansion, announcing Thursday that it will premiere both the second season of “Leverage” and its new Dylan McDermott cop drama “Dark Blue” on Wednesday, July 15.

That will mean TNT will have three nights and six series’ worth of fresh episodes in the middle of summer, with “The Closer” and “Raising the Bar” running Mondays, “Saving Grace” and “HawthoRNe” airing Tuesdays, and “Leverage” and “Dark Blue” happening on Wednesdays.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.


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