Well you announced from stage that you’d be wrapping up TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, which doesn’t align with your new programming strategy but long has been a major ratings driver …
If I came in and said, year two of Rizzoli & Isles, we're pulling the plug on it, I would have probably gotten some [feedback]. They have not said no to me on anything and I don't think they would have said no, but I think they would have gone like, 'Really?! You want to do that?' And, honestly, that would have been a stupid move. I've got a show that people love, that's performed really well, why would I do that? Coming to the end of a seven-year run, it's an easier decision. Everybody involved, from producers to talent, are like, 'It's been a good run. We're going to be one of a couple cable shows that has made it to that 100-plus [episode] number. There have been very few cable shows that have made that many episodes. So let's go out when we're strong and not limp.'
“‘Rizzoli & Isles’ hit a cord with audiences the moment it aired, which is unusual and special,” Alexander told Variety. “And it has remained so for almost seven seasons thanks to the passionate commitment of our amazing fans. In this world, that’s a huge success. I believe we have two eyes so one can look back to the past as the other turns its gaze to the future. As ‘R&I’ comes to a close, I am deeply grateful and inspired by the work we have done and the friendships we have forged but also am excited to see what the future will hold.”
The upcoming seventh season of the TNT drama will be its last, network president Kevin Reilly announced Thursday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
The drama, which ranks as the Turner-owned cable network's second-most-watched series in history behind only The Closer, will return in the summer for an abbreviated 13-episode season.
Reilly told reporters Thursday that stars Sasha Alexander and Angie Harmon have "had really satisfying runs" and that he wasn't aware whether or not the fan would or wouldn't do more of the series.
He noted that producers agreed that the series — produced by Warner Horizon Television — had run its course and said the series "had a good run."
"We felt like it was time," Reilly said. "[Everyone agreed that they should] go out and finish with 13 great ones — and everyone felt good about that."
The 13 episodes are down from its series-high 18 in season six and its lowest order since its 10-episode freshman run. The news comes after the supporting cast was expected to renegotiate their contracts for season seven and after Harmon and Alexander renegotiated their deals together last season.
The cop drama ranks as one of basic cable's top five series every year in total viewers. It was last summer's top show on basic cable in the metric. Jan Nash, who took over as showrunner after creator Janet Tamaro's departure, will return for its final season.
The decision to end Rizzoli comes as TNT is plotting a new and edgier direction with series including Animal Kingdom, Good Behavior and the newly ordered Tales From the Crypt horror block. Reilly told reporters that he expects the network's turnaround to take at least three years.
Rizzoli becomes the latest TNT series to come to an end under Reilly, who also canceled Public Morals, Agent X and Legends recently. The executive told reporters Thursday that some of those decisions were based on ratings as well as the fact that the series didn't fit in with his overall vision for the network. He singled out Major Crimes, which returns for an abbreviated 13-episode fifth season in the summer, as a show that doesn't quite fit with the network that continues to stick around based on its ratings performance.