Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TNT: It's Dynamite

I noticed recently - while watching the NBA Playoffs (the only time I can really watch NBA basketball) - that the channel TNT has a surprising number of original series that star and feature women. Typically, woman do not get so many opportunities to be the lead role in a television or film production. I hear that complaint frequently and These Gentlemen have written extensively on this sort of subject in regards to race.

TNT appears to be an exception.

In just one promotional block, TNT hyped their show The Closer, Saving Grace, and Hawthorne, all of which feature a woman in the lead role. The Closer is a crime drama starring Golden Globe winner Kyra Sedgwick as a homicide detective. Saving Grace is also a crime drama and it stars Academy Award winner Holly Hunter as a homicide detective. Hawthorne is a new series starring Jada Pinkett Smith as a Chief Nursing Officer.

This apparently isn't very new for TNT (Turner Network Television). They also show reruns of the woman-starring shows Alias, Judging Amy, and Charmed quite frequently.

Now, I don't watch these shows. None of them. In fact, I think I've avoided them with great veracity, and - with perhaps the exception of Charmed when I get distracted by sexy witches - with great success.

It appears though that other people ARE watching these shows, and TNT is doing quite well because of it. So why is TNT able to succeed in making woman-led television series when it appears other networks don't even try? I guess I'm not much of an answer man, just an observationalist.

Your thoughts?


Ozkirbas said...

Wasn't charmed originally aired on the WB?

Jason Heat said...

Yeah, and alias was definitely a network show, so i'm pretty sure those last three are reruns in syndcation.

But even with that said, that those are the shows TNT buys and chooses to second run says something to Adam's point.

We should prob update the main post, though.

ali d said...

USA is another channel that has a number of original series with women in the lead roles - In Plain Sight (a show that I adore and plan to catch up on as soon as I have a free weekend), The Starter Wife, and Law & Order: CI (which has a male/female duo at the front, yes, but does anyone really watch it for Vincent D'Onofrio?). Granted, unlike TNT, these shows are sometimes outweighed by the massive hits Monk, Burn Notice, and Psych, which are male-driven, but they still do well for themselves.

My assumption has always been that cable stations are far less ratings driven than their network counterparts, and can thus take risks that other channels won't.

But hey, Dollhouse got renewed on Fox, so maybe the tides are turning?

Chris Evans said...

While TNT seems to have done it quite well, I think it's something more specific to television (particularly cable) than it is to one channel. I've noticed for quite a while now that television is a much friendlier place to women than movies. F/X has Damages and used to have Glenn Close on The Shield, Showtime has Weeds and now has United States of Tara, HBO is responsible for True Blood and of course Sex and the City (squee), then there's TBS, USA, and a few others that are unusually female-heavy.

Movie stars used to look down on TV but in recent years a lot of respected actresses have gotten frustrated with the climate for women in film and have gravitated to the great roles written for them on television.

I have a quasi-theory for why I think female-centric plots have a much easier time in television than at the movies but it will likely sound stupid outside the bounds of my head.

I haven't seen Saving Grace but I'm looking forward to Hawthorne and I've always loved The Closer. Can't wait for the new season.