The 1960s set cop show didn’t quite lock it up last night for TNT. The 10 PM debut of the cable network’s Public Morals drew 2.14 million viewers with a 0.3 rating among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. Created by, directed by and starring Ed Burns, the Amblin Television produced drama follows the NYPD division charged with curbing vice in the Big Apple during a time when the cops and the underworld often blurred their distinctions.
What is telling is how hard Public Morals dropped from its Rizzoli & Isles lead-in. In its sixth season, the 1-hour drama had 4.589 million viewers and a demo rating of 0.6 at 9 PM. Public Morals fell 53% in viewers from Rizzoli & Isles and had a 50% demo decline.
Last night’s result are also down 59% from the big viewer waves that The Last Ship made when it debuted on TNT back on June 22 last year. The post-apocalyptic pandemic drama pulled in an off-the-hook, as surfers would say, 5.3 million total viewers with 1.5 million among the 18-49s for a 1.2 rating. That was the best cable debut of 2014 at the time in total viewers. Holding strong as basic cable’s top scripted series this summer, it’s no wonder the series based on William Brinkley’s novel recently got a Season 3 pick-up.
TNT says that they are going to wait until the Live + 3 numbers are ready before talking about Public Morals debut. However, today the cabler put up the pilot and three other episodes of the series online for potential mini-binges – which could affect the ratings on future airings.
Burns, Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank, Aaron Lubin and Justin Falvey serve as EPs on Public Morals with Burns playing Officer Terry Muldoon and writing and helming the series.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.