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TNT Raises Renewal 'Bar' For Bochco Series, ‘Saving Grace’

TNT has renewed Saving Grace for a third season and Raising The Bar for a sophomore season.

The drama network has ordered 15 new installments apiece from Fox Television Studios and ABC Studios.

Along with cable’s top series, The Closer, TNT has set a solid foundation for its goal of airing three nights of original scripted and unscripted fare in 2010. Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton heading a team of thieves, hackers and grifter that act as modern-day Robin Hoods, is slated to join the network's schedule in December.

Starring Holly Hunter as Oklahoma City police detective with a fiery spirit and some demons of her own, Saving Grace has averaged 4.4 million season to date. The series' second season winds down early next year, with the new batch of episodes set to premiere later in 2009, according to network officials.

“In Saving Grace, Holly Hunter and creator Nancy Miller have fashioned one of television’s most complex and compelling characters,” said. Michael Wright, senior vice president in charge of the Content Creation Group for TNT, TBS and TCM, in a statement. “Few series on television are as daring as this one, and we’re thrilled to be welcoming it back for another outstanding season.”

Steven Bochco’s latest drama Raising The Bar raised the bar for cable premieres, when its Labor Day night start garnered 7.7 million watchers on average, the most ever for a debut in the medium. Through three episodes, the show -- following the lives and cases of young lawyers who work in the public defender’s office and the district attorney’s office and those who sit in judgment of their cases --  has averaged 5.5 million viewers, making it cable’s top new series year-to-date. 

After completing its rookie run in November, the series, starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Gloria Reuben and Jane Kaczmarek, will return next year with a 15-episode second season.

“Before Raising The Bar debuted, we were confident that the series would be a strong addition to TNT,” Wright said in a statement “The series, however, has gone beyond our expectations.  What has been most satisfying to us is to watch the creative growth of the show across the episodes and to see these characters and stories pay-off as the season progresses.  It was an easy decision to bring back Raising The Bar for a second season and to continue our great relationship with Steven Bochco and the entire cast and crew.”