RIZZOLI & ISLES (TNT)
Scheduling history: Rizzoli and Isles got two full seasons leading out of TNT's flagship procedural The Closer on Monday. Since then, it's moved to Tuesday and successfully anchored that night.
See (who saw) how it all began: Rizzoli and Isles began on 7/12/10 with a whooping 7.55 million viewers and a slightly less whooping 1.6 demo rating. That put it just barely behind its The Closer lead-in's total viewership (7.66 million), but it was actually a tick ahead of The Closer's demo (1.5). That dynamic would continue through Rizzoli's first season; it dropped into the low 1's but stayed about a tenth ahead of The Closer in the demo.
The best of times: Rizzoli and Isles still hasn't topped the 1.6 demo from series premiere night, though it hit a couple other 1.6's later in season one (on 8/9/10 and 8/23/10). While Rizzoli and Isles was at its strongest raw levels in its pairing with The Closer, it has arguably become much more valuable since the move to Tuesday, where it has been a lead-in for other series. It dropped just 11% in its first summer run, then went up by 6% in summer 2013.
The worst of times: Since season two, Rizzoli and Isles has gotten the split-season treatment, airing a small portion of its season against regular-season competition. Usually, the "buzzier" shows hold up better than the "casual tune-in" shows, and Rizzoli is squarely in the casual category. Last season, it still hung around 1.0 during the summer, but it hasn't broken 1.0 for a winter episode in three years. The winter 2015 run brought four new lows at 0.6.
Then vs. now: Rizzoli and Isles had a great formula for success, leading out of highly compatible The Closer and bringing together recognizable stars from two of the biggest syndicated procedurals (NCIS and Law & Order). And it's delivered exactly what all of those built-in audiences wanted. Despite its productivity, the emergences of Falling Skies and later The Last Ship mean it it hasn't actually been TNT's top demo drama since season one (and even then it beat The Closer by less than a tenth). Will this summer run, starting tonight (June 16), see Rizzoli finally emerge decisively as the network's flagship series?
Adults 18-49 info by season:
|1||Summer 2010||Monday 10:00||1.46||1.3||1.6||detail|
|3A||Summer 2012||Tuesday 9:00||1.09||-11%||0.8||1.3||detail|
Historical-adjusted ratings by season:
For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.