TNT Renews ‘Southland’, Announces New Eric McCormack Drama

Ben McKenzie on "Southland." (TNT)

Ben McKenzie on "Southland." (TNT)

“Southland” lives! Well, why shouldn’t it? This gritty, L.A.-based cop series starring Ben McKenzie is a great show, and its third-season finale a couple of weeks ago was one of its best episodes ever.

And even though “Southland” averaged a relatively low 2.9 million viewers per episode this past season (by TNT standards), the cable channel announced Tuesday that it’s giving the show another go – ordering up a new, fourth season consisting of 10 episodes (the same number as Season Three). And it should be noted: The show’s 2.9 million viewer average was up 6 percent over the season before.

“Southland” Finale Cliffhanger

At the same time, TNT also announced yet another new one-hour drama. TNT says this one, titled “Perception,” will star Eric McCormack of “Will & Grace” as “an eccentric neuroscientist” (aren’t all neuroscientists kooky that way?) who helps federal investigators crack really difficult cases. The concept sounds a little like “The Mentalist,” although instead of reading minds (or cleverly pretending to read them as the mentalist Patrick Jane does), the “Perception” guy applies his familiarity with the science of the human brain to predicting human behavior and solving mysteries.

“Perception” will also star Rachel Leigh Cook and Kelly Rowan, who once starred in “The O.C.,” in which Ben McKenzie also starred. Now they’re both on TNT. Coincidence? Probably.

“Perception” was co-created by Kenneth Biller and Mike Sussman, who worked together on “Star Trek: Voyager.” Alan Poul of “Six Feet Under,” was executive producer of the “Perception” pilot.

No premiere date was given for “Perception,” for which 10 episodes have been ordered, although TNT said it will debut some time in 2012.

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