Saving Grace' ends first season outpacing other debuting cable television summer series 

Turner Network Television's "Saving Grace" television series, set in Oklahoma City, completed its first season Sept. 17 by outpacing other debuting primetime cable television series with nearly 5.3 million viewers.


Its closest competition, Lifetime Television's "Army Wives" averaged 4.53 million viewers during its 13-episode season.


The new 15-episode second season will premiere in January, the Oklahoma Film and Music Office said in their August advisory report. The office says they "are working closely with producers to try and bring some of the filming to Oklahoma City."


Series creator Nancy Miller is an Oklahoma City native and told OFMO that she hopes to film more Oklahoma locations in the second series. Throughout the first season, various cultural references to Oklahoma City crept onto the screen including Oklahoma Sooner football and various food items bearing Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler's logo.


The first episode featured exterior shots of the Oklahoma National Memorial and a later episode featured an Oklahoma City mural.


"We continue to work toward bringing aspects of the Saving Grace production to Oklahoma," said Jill Simpson, Director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, in a statement. "However, that is a process requiring us to be able to match, dollar for dollar, what Fox Studios can achieve elsewhere. That translates to the state being able to offer competitive financial incentives and the possibility of product placement deals going forward. This show is important to us because a nationally broadcast episodic TV show set here presents an amazing opportunity for Oklahoma to showcase our attractions and update our image."


Academy Award-winning actress Holly Hunter stars in the series as Oklahoma City Police Detective Grace Hanadarko.


Overall week-to-week ratings* for "Saving Grace:"

July 23: 6.89 million July 30: 5.89 million Aug. 6: 5.37 million Aug.13: 5.18 million Aug. 20: 5.10 million Aug. 27: 4.91 million Sept. 3: 5.22 million Sept. 10: 5.22 million Sept. 17: 4.22 million


Other heavily hyped debuting primetime cable series this summer included Lifetime Television's "Army Wives," USA Network's "The Starter Wife," FX Network's "Damages" and Disney Television-owned SoapNet's "Night Shift."


Starring Kim Delaney, "Army Wives" debuted with 3.6 million viewers June 3 and grew its audience to 4.65 million during its 13 weekly episodes.


"Damages," with Glenn Close, premiered with 3.99 million viewers July 24 and its viewership has dropped to 1.69 million by the Sept. 18 episode.


The debut episode for "Starter Wife" "? starring Debra Messing -- brought in 5.75 million viewers May 31 and by the end of the miniseries' five-part conclusion June 28, 3.62 million people watched.


"Night Shift" premiered July 12 with an impressive 1.15 million viewers for the relatively new cable network but by Sept. 20, viewership dropped to 562,000. -Stefanie Brickman


*Source: Turner Research from Nielsen Media Research data. Based on most current data available: Final Live + 7 (May 31 through Sept. 20) and preliminary Live + SD (Sept. 10 through 20).  Premiere telecasts only.

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Stefanie Brickman

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