'Southland's' Ben McKenzie on 'Leno': 'I'm glad it failed'

ben-mckenzie-southland-320.jpg"Southland" begins its second life on TNT Tuesday night (Jan. 12) after being rescued from NBC's cancellation pile last year. And given the state of the show's former home, Ben McKenzie is understandably happy to be on cable.

McKenzie's show was at least in part casualty of NBC's "Jay Leno Show" strategy. Now that NBC has scrapped Leno in primetime, McKenzie -- while noting that Leno is "a great guy" -- tells "Extra," "I'm glad it failed."

"Things have worked out in a good way," McKenzie says. "Now we can make the show we wanted to make on cable."

"Southland" aired at 10 p.m. ET Thursdays on NBC last season, but was moved to 9 p.m. Fridays when NBC rolled out its Leno-fied schedule. The network first delayed the premiere, then canceled the show altogether. Ratings weren't great (a little under 6 million viewers in the spring), and NBC Entertainment president Angela Bromstad has said she was concerned the show was too serialized.

After several weeks of negotiations, the John Wells-produced show landed at TNT (a corporate brother of the show's studio, Warner Bros. TV). It premieres at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday with an extended cut of the pilot. TNT will air the seven episodes that ran on NBC last season plus the six shows produced for season 2 before NBC pulled the plug.

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Photo credit: TNT
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