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TNT wins with ‘Into the West’

Zap2it.com

The premiere of TNT’s limited series “Into the West” drew more than a limited audience last Friday, beating most of the broadcast networks.

The premiere episode of the six-week series drew about 6.5 million viewers on Friday at 8 p.m. It was the biggest audience for an original TNT production since last December’s movie “The Librarian.”

A replay at 10 p.m. added an additional 3.1 million viewers, bringing the cumulative total to 9.6 million.

The premiere beat five of the six broadcast networks in total viewers in its time period; only “Dateline NBC,” which featured an interview with Angelina Jolie, performed better.

The sprawling, multigenerational drama recounts the great Western migration through the stories of two families – one settler, one Native American.

“We are very proud that viewers are responding so favorably to this dramatic tale and that our strategy of offering multiple telecasts each weekend is already paying off,” says Steve Koonin, chief operating officer for TNT and TBS.

TNT is playing each of “Into the West’s” six episodes multiple times. New installments will premiere at 8 p.m. Fridays, with replays at 10 p.m. that night as well as on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m..

‘Arrested’ creator gets more time

The man behind the cracked world of “Arrested Development” will be staying at the show’s helm next season.

Mitchell Hurwitz, who created the Emmy-winning Fox series, has signed a new agreement with producer 20th Century Fox TV to remain for “Arrested” the third season. The deal also covers the 2006-07 season, should Fox decide to renew the show again.

In addition to the best comedy series Emmy “Arrested Development” won last year, Hurwitz also picked up an individual award for writing the show’s pilot.

He has previously worked on “The Golden Girls,” “The John Larroquette Show” and “The Ellen Show.”

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