TNT's noir crime drama "Mob City," which seemed like something of a dice-roll for the network, opened to modest ratings Wednesday night.
Loosely adapted by writer-director Frank Darabont from the nonfiction book "L.A. Noir," the miniseries averaged 2.29 million viewers for its first two hours, according to Nielsen.
While below TNT's average for its mainstream scripted series, it did outperform another of the net's originals dramas of this year: David E. Kelley medical drama "Monday Mornings," which opened to a mere 1.34 million viewers in February.
In key demos, "Mob City" averaged a 0.6 rating (801,000 viewers) in adults 18-49 and a 0.7 rating (875,000 viewers) in adults 25-54. Its lead-in, the movie "Red," drew 2.58 million total viewers and a 0.9 rating in 18-49.
The numbers may well grow in the coming days as more viewers check out the period crime drama via DVR or authenticated online streaming. But the lack of a strong turnout for the premiere is a bad sign given TNT's efforts to market the property as an event series, scheduling back-to-back episodes on three consecutive Wednesdays.
By comparison, "Major Crimes," one of TNT's top shows, on Monday averaged 4.21 million viewers, including 850,000 adults 18-49 (0.7 rating) and 1.14 million adults 25-54 (0.9). And on the comparable Wednesday a year ago, back-to-back repeat episodes of "Castle" averaged 1.93 million viewers on TNT, including 576,000 adults 18-49 (0.45 rating) and 694,000 adults 25-54 (0.6 rating).
TNT's top-rated originals have tended to be procedural fare, but the cabler has made a concerted effort to break out of its comfort zone with shows ranging from "Southland" to "Men of a Certain Age" in an effort to keep from becoming a one-note network in primetime.
A good miniseries comparison for "Mob City" is USA's "Political Animals," another six-hour project that was a bit off-brand for the network. "Animals" bowed in July 2012 with 2.62 million viewers for its premiere.
"Mob City," whose cast includes Jon Bernthal, Neal McDonough and Milo Ventimiglia, was previously known as "L.A. Noir" and then "Lost Angels" as it went through development.
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