TNT’s ‘Major Crimes’ nets big numbers in its debut


“Major Crimes” stars Mary McDonnell (with Tony Denison). The drama’s debut clocked 7.2 million viewers. (Karen Neal)
August 14, 2012

One night after NBC wrapped its broadcast of the most-watched event in TV history — and maybe the most new-show promo-laden event, too — a new summer show debuted to whopping big ratings.

Unfortunately for NBC, that show was TNT’s “Major Crimes” — the spinoff of TNT’s “The Closer.” “Major Crimes,” an “all-new drama” (TNT’s words) that puts Mary McDonnell in charge of “television’s favorite squad of detectives” (read: cast of “The Closer”), clocked 7.2 million viewers.

NBC also premiered a series Monday night. “Stars Earn Stripes” logged 5.149 million viewers.

“Major Crimes” received a lot of help from its lead-in: the series finale of “The Closer,” which was ending its seven-season run. The finale had an average audience of more than 9 million, which will likely wind up being the crime drama’s most-watched episode, when viewing of the episode over the next seven days becomes available. The “Live + 7” stat is the one that Nielsen now puts in the record books.

“Stars Earn Stripes” also received a lot of help. It was promoted heavily during the most-watched event in TV history, the London Olympic Games. And then there was all that free publicity it got when it was disdained by Sharon Osbourne and Archbishop Desmond Tutu — yes, TV makes strange bedfellows. (In the NBC reality series, minor celebrities are put through military- and first-responder-type training.)

While “Stars Earn Stripes” was premiering, Fox was unveiling its latest hour of tantrum throwing from Gordon Ramsay: “Hotel Hell” averaged 5.199 million viewers, edging out “Stars.”

Lochte’s new Zip code

Fresh off his five medal wins at the London Olympics, swimmer Ryan Lochte has booked his first TV series appearance, but it’s not on “The Bachelor” or “Dancing With the Stars,” as Lochte had hinted in the thick of competition.

Instead, the guy whose mom says he has time for only one-night stands will play what he knows — himself, in a cameo, on the CW soap “90210,” the network announced Tuesday.

Lochte will be a guest at a resort where Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) and Max (Josh Zuckerman) are staying to work on their relationship on the Oct. 29 episode of the show, the network said.

“When we found out Ryan Lochte was going to be in town and might appear on ‘90210,’ we felt like we’d won a gold medal!” said show exec producers Patti Carr and Lara Olsen in Tuesday’s announcement.

“We only wish the episode was a surf event, so we could have gotten him in the water, but he deserves a little rest on dry land,” they added.

During the Games, Lochte told NBC’s ‘Today” show that he’d be game for ABC’s “The Bachelor” or “Dancing With the Stars.” In interviews, he gave the edge to “Dancing” because, he said, he’s a competitive guy. He also told NBC’s Games celebrity interviewer Ryan Seacrest that he planned to move to Los Angeles after the Olympics.

Of HBO and Ocho

While VH1 decided that it had to cancel an already-shot reality series after one of its stars, the Miami Dolphins’ Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, was arrested over the weekend for allegedly attacking his new wife, HBO will go ahead with Tuesday night’s episode of “Hard Knocks.” In one of those happy coincidences, the show follows the Dolphins this season.

And in Tuesday’s episode, Dolphins Coach Joe Philbin will be seen meeting with and cutting Johnson from the team, just hours after his arrest last Saturday after he was accused of head-butting wife Evelyn Lozada.

The newlyweds were the stars of VH1’s new — and apparently never to be seen — “Ev and Ocho,” which had promised to document “the journey of this charismatic and passionate couple’s every step, as they prepare to walk down the aisle and into each other’s hearts forever.”

And by “forever,” VH1 means six weeks, because Lozada filed for divorce Monday afternoon. Congratulations, Ev and Ocho — your made-for-reality-TV marriage set a record, being even shorter-lived than Kim Kardashian’s!

Lozada cited the head-butting incident in her divorce papers, according to TMZ. It was the denouement of a fight they reportedly had over a receipt for condoms she found.

Sadly, “Hard Knocks” cameras were not at the house when the incident occurred, nor were they at the jail when Johnson was released, various Florida sports columnists reported.

VH1 on Monday had yanked its “Ev and Ocho” reality docu-soap, starring two of its better-known reality stars. Lozada is best known for the Viacom-owned network’s “Basketball Wives,” while Johnson starred in VH1’s dating competition series, “The Ultimate Catch” — he played “the ultimate catch.”

“Due to the unfortunate events over the weekend and the seriousness of the allegations, VH1 is pulling the series ‘Ev and Ocho’ from its schedule and has no current plans of airing it,” the network said Monday on its Web site.

‘Daily Show’s’ scoop

About 1.8 million people tuned in to see Robert Pattinson make his first TV appearance since the love of his life was photographed two-timing him with her married “Snow White and the Huntsman” director.

A sadder, wiser, less vampire-ish, more Byronic Pattinson tried hard to avoid eating ice cream Monday night on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

The 1.8 million was “The Daily Show’s” biggest audience since Dan Rather was Jon Stewart’s guest. On May 30, Rather also clocked about 1.8 million viewers.

But Pattinson — and Rather — got edged out by first lady Michelle Obama, who snagged 1.9 million viewers May 29.

“The last time I had a breakup, Ben & Jerry got me through some of the tougher times, so I thought you and I could bond over this, and talk about, ‘Boy, you are better off kicking her to the curb,’ ” Stewart said after pulling out two containers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for them to eat.

The British actor has been shunning the spotlight since his “Twilight” co-star and girlfriend Kristen Stewart admitted to having an affair.

“This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry,” Stewart said in a statement after Us magazine ran photos of her and her “Snow White and the Huntsman” director.

“My biggest problem in life is I’m cheap — I didn’t hire a publicist,” Pattinson said when Stewart asked him what was up.

“Normally actors get everything scripted [in interviews]. . . . I’m going to hire a publicist.”

To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/
tvblog.

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