Independent studio, E1 Entertainment scored a prime time ratings hit with the premiere of its new cop drama Rookie Blue, drawing more than 9.1 million viewers in the U.S. and Canada.
The June 24 debut marked the first time an E1 television production premiered simultaneously on two major networks – ABC in the U.S. and Global in Canada. It was the highest-rated summer scripted series debut in more than a year in the U.S. and, with over 7.3 million viewers, the drama was ABC’s best summer scripted opener in six years. Drawing more than 1.8 million viewers on CanWest Global, Rookie Blue represented the Canadian network’s highest rated premiere for an original commissioned drama in the last five years.
“Launching a new drama is always a challenge so we are absolutely thrilled and this success marks the latest step in our evolution as a leading independent studio,” said John Morayniss, CEO of E1 Television. “This is further evidence that the model that we created for E1 Television a little more than two years ago is paying dividends, both in terms of the quality of our productions and the response from broadcasters, critics and viewers.”
The series not only resonated with both male and female viewers but it also proved popular with the coveted 18-49 demographic. The critics were also positive about the drama with some of the early reviews of Rookie Blue stating: “Summer’s must-watch show” (TV Guide Canada); “Arresting entertainment” (The Toronto Star); “ABC’s new police drama actually has more than a little in common with a medical show, ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ And that’s not a bad thing.” (LA Times); “The cast is spunky and promising” (Boston Herald); “ABC’s Canadian import Rookie Blue last night emerged as the most promising new off-season scripted prospect” (Deadline|Hollywood), and “Viewers will keep coming back” (The Globe and Mail).
“While this is an amazing success for E1 Television, we are one part of a larger team that has made this series a reality,” said Noreen Halpern, E1’s President, Television Production. “That larger team includes the amazing creative talents of series co-creators Moryn Berbner, Ellen Vanstone and Tassie Cameron, as well as executive producers David Wellington and Ilana Frank. And of course our partners at ABC and Global, who saw the potential in Rookie Blue from day one, supported it with significant marketing campaigns and had the insight to give it such a great time slot.”
E1 owns worldwide distribution rights for its TV productions and markets its programs to broadcasters, digital outlets and retailers around the globe. Along with the sales to ABC and CanWest, the exclusive global pay-TV rights (excluding U.S., Canada, France and Germany) for Rookie Blue were previously acquired by Universal Networks International, the global channels division of NBC Universal.
Rookie Blue follows five young, ambitious cops, fresh out of the Academy, who are plunged into the world of big city policing on their first day on the job: a world where even the smallest mistake can have life-or-death consequences coupled with some serious emotional fall-out. Andy McNally is the soul of this close-knit group: Andy and her uniformed family of boyfriends, best friends, mentors and competitors, undergo extreme trials and tribulations, share their triumphs and revel in their competition.
Rookie Blue is a Thump Inc/E1 Entertainment Production that is co-created by Berbner, Vanstone and Cameron, who also serves as executive producer along with Wellington and Frank (Would be Kings) and E1’s Morayniss (Hung, The Bridge) and Halpern (Hung, Haven).
E1 also has a number of other productions that have their initial US broadcast this summer including the second season of Hung, the highest rated freshman comedy in HBO’s history. Other projects include the July debuts of The Bridge on CBS and Haven on Syfy (U.S.) and Showcase (Canada). In September, Jason Priestley takes a dark turn as Richard Fitzpatrick in the new dark comedy Call Me Fitz airing in Canada on TMN and Movie Central.
U.S.: The Nielsen Company (Fast Affiliate, Live + Same Day Ratings), 6/24/10.
Canada: All data, as of August 31st 2009, BBM Canada PPM Overnight Data based on Adults 18-49 unless otherwise indicated. BBM NMR Data is used for dates prior to August 31st, 2009.