TNT’s latest drama, co-starring Ving Rhames, opened to just 1.34 million viewers after its “Dallas” lead, a low for the network, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The low-rated addition to the TNT’s generally strong scripted roster comes just a week after “Dallas” dropped in its sophomore return.
In the network’s coveted adults 25-54 demographic, “Monday Mornings” pulled 472,000 viewers.
From creators David E. Kelley and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the show attempts to put a new spin on the hospital drama by focusing on its weekly morbidity and mortality meetings. It also stars Alfred Molina, Bill Irwin, Jamie Bamber and Jennifer Finnigan.
*TNT’s new medical drama “Monday Mornings” got an interesting bit of publicity last month when its co-star Ving Rhamestold a room full of TV critics he was glad to have a TV gig “on a level a bit above some of the Tyler Perry shows.”
Rhames owes half of his gratitude to David E. Kelley, (“Chicago Hope,” “Harry’s Law,” “Ally McBeal”), the show’s executive producer and writer of tonight’s pilot, premiering at 10 p.m., and the other half to practicing neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who wrote the book that inspired the series.
Both the show and the book follow the lives of five surgeons in a Portland hospital who are practically ripped new ones each week by the chief of surgery (Alfred Molina) in weekly morbidity and mortality (M&M) meetings, when doctors gather with their peers for a confidential review of errors in patient care.
Rhames, who plays trauma surgeon Dr. Jorge Villanueva, wouldn’t even have a role to compare to Tyler Perry’s fare had Kelley acted on his original hesitation.
“At first I had a reservation of the project itself because I had done a medical show before. I met with Sanjay. He told me about the book. It sounded great, but the terrain sounded a little familiar with ‘Chicago Hope.,’ he told us. “Then I read the book and saw that it was completely different. The characters were different. The stories were different, and the staple of this book was these M&M meetings. It felt like fertile storytelling ground, and I probably was drawn to it because it was different.”
Below, Dr. Gupta explains how these M&M meetings work.
Watch a five-minute preview of the “Monday Mornings” premiere below.
Ving Rhames in TNT’s new medical drama “Monday Mornings,” premiering Feb. 4 at 10 p.m.
*Ving Rhames gave a shout out to his new network home TNT on Friday for “doing something on a level a bit above the Tyler Perry shows.”
He was referring to his new medical drama “Monday Mornings,” based on the real life “morbidity and mortality” meetings where doctors gather with their peers each week for a confidential review of complications and errors in patient care.
The series, from David E. Kelley (“Chicago Hope,” “The Practice,” “Ally McBeal”), is based on the best-selling book written by CNN’s chief medical correspondent and practicing neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who also serves as an executive producer. The show is set in a fictional hospital in Portland and follows a group of surgeons as they deal with their own personal and professional failings. Alfred Molina plays the hospital’s chief of surgery, responsible for guiding his team through specific cases.
“When I was training, these are the most indelible experiences I’ve had in my life,” Gupta told reporters Friday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena. “They’re so candid. They shut the doors: there are no administrators, no lawyers; it’s doctors holding each other accountable.”
“At the onset, I was wondering how viable the M&M meetings would be over the life of the series and they’re the staple of each episode,” said Kelley. “So much of the tension in those scenes is played with Alfred discussing what the scene is about. We never know where that character is going. As a result, the viewer can never know if they’re on safe footing. A lot of tension is established that way.”
Ving Rhames on the set of TNT’s “Monday Mornings” with executive producer Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Among the surgeons attending the M&M meetings is Dr. Jorge Villanueva, played byRhames. During the show’s TCA panel on Friday, the 53-year-old film and TV veteran made a point to thank TNT and the show’s creative team for giving an African American actor a “well-written, well-rounded” character to play — then, “in a respectful way,” slips in the Tyler Perry jab. Listen below.
“Monday Mornings,” premieres Feb. 4 at 10 p.m. on TNT. Watch promos below.
*CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently sat down with TLC’s Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins to discuss her struggle with sickle cell anemia and her recent brain tumor.
Since childhood, she suffered from sickle cell anemia and was told that she wouldn’t live past 30. Told that she wouldn’t be able to have children and would be disabled, Watkins, 39, has a 9-year-old daughter.
She had seemingly beaten the odds. But three years ago, her doctor delivered news she never imagined: she was told she had a brain tumor.
The tumor was benign, but because of her sickle cell disease, surgery was risky. Watkins could lose everything a performer needs: hearing, balance, facial movement, and speech.