TNT and TBS today unveiled a broad array of plans for new programming, including several comedy projects that are being considered for TBS and a host of projects in development for TNT. The two cable giants staged a joint Upfront presentation in New York, with appearances by a legion of stars, including TBS's Conan O'Brien, George Lopez and Ice Cube; and TNT's Kyra Sedgwick, Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, Scott Bakula, Jada Pinkett Smith, Dylan McDermott, Timothy Hutton, Noah Wyle, Jason Lee, Alfre Woodard, Ben McKenzie, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer and Angie Harmon.
TNT and TBS rank among the largest networks in television. "Television is more popular than ever with viewers, and that makes the medium very valuable to advertisers," said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. "With reach that rivals broadcast and strong programming on each network, TNT and TBS present a great value proposition for our clients and their brand messages."
TNT and TBS have also played key roles in the evolving business of television. "Today, television isn't about broadcast vs. cable," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "It's about brands and premium content. It's about the art and science of creating great television."
Turner Entertainment Networks - the parent of TNT and TBS - also unveiled a new array of options for advertisers under the name inContext. This umbrella includes TVinContext, which was launched with great success in 2008. TVinContext takes ads and places them next to relevant content in programming. Turner is also launching LIFEinContext and BRANDSinContext, two initiatives that focus on tailoring ads to the lifestages of viewers and on new ways to integrate brands with programming.
"While other networks are just beginning to explore the importance of placing ads in the right context, we've focused on this idea for years," said Linda Yaccarino, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Turner Entertainment Ad Sales/Marketing and Acquisitions. "inContext is more than just a name and a logo. It's a new vision for television. We're making context part of everything we do for our clients."
In addition to original entertainment programming, TNT and TBS are home to marquee sports, including the NBA, Major League Baseball and NASCAR. Turner recently announced a blockbuster agreement that will bring the NCAA men's basketball tournament to the networks - along with sister network truTV - starting in 2011. The deal with Turner and partner CBS includes staging the Final Four and men's championship game on TBS every other year, starting in 2016.
TNT PROGRAMING DETAILS
This summer, TNT will air seven new or returning originals on four different nights: The Closer, Saving Grace, Dark Blue, Leverage, Memphis Beat, Rizzoli & Isles and Hawthorne. Later this year, TNT will bring back the critically praised hit Men of a Certain Age.
In 2011, the network will debut a much-anticipated new series from Steven Spielberg and starring Noah Wyle called Fallen Skies, while the respected Southland will return for a new season. TNT has also greenlit the buddy lawyer series Franklin & Bash, starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar (NYPD Blue) and Breckin Meyer (Robot Chicken). Franklin & Bash comes to TNT from Sony Pictures Television and executive producers Jamie Tarses (TNT's Hawthorne, TBS's My Boys), Kevin Falls (Shark, The West Wing) and Bill Chais (Shark, Dirty Sexy Money).
"TNT's ongoing success is based on working with great talent," said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming, for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "As TNT develops shows for the future, we continue to work in partnership with some of the best people in the business."
TNT 2010-2011 IN DEVELOPMENT:
Untitled Don Cheadle Medical Show
Executive producers Don Cheadle (Crash, Iron Man 2), Kay Liberman (Traitor) and Lenore Zerman (Darfur Now) of Crescendo Productions; executive producer Brett King; executive producer/writer Ed Horowitz (Exit Wounds); and producer/writer Norman Solomon focus on 1971 Los Angeles, where a group of idealistic doctors open an urgent-care clinic in hopes of upholding the values that inspired them to become doctors in the first place. The project comes to TNT from Lionsgate Television and Cheadle's Crescendo Productions.
Based on the life of cartoonist, writer and part-time private detective Robert Graysmith (author of Zodiac and many other books), this series will follow the renaissance man himself as he uses an unconventional approach and unusual skills to solve crimes. Graysmith comes to TNT from Scott Free Productions and executive producers Ridley Scott (Robin Hood, The Good Wife) and Tony Scott (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, The Good Wife) and executive producer/writer Dan Gordon (The Hurricane).
Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue) and Jonathan Abrahams follow a quirky environmentalist who seeks the truth as an insurance adjuster for a big insurance company.
Dean Devlin (TNT's Leverage) and Marco Schnabel (TNT's The Librarian movie trilogy) delve into the world of an old-fashioned (and recently demoted) detective as he teams with four brilliant but socially awkward, sheltered academics to help him solve crimes. Brain Trust comes to TNT from Electric Entertainment.
Executive producer/writer Jamie Foxx (The Soloist, Ray), executive producer/writer Barbara Hall (Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy) and executive producers Marcus King (The Jamie Foxx Show) and Jaime Rucker King (Ray) explore the pristine suburbs and urban war zones of Philadelphia, where the mayor has hired the first African-American police commissioner. She finds herself handling more than she ever expected.
Executive producers Mark Gordon (Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy), Mark Burnett (Survivor), Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) and Deborah Spera (Army Wives, Criminal Minds), along with writer/executive producer Joel Fields (TNT's Rizzoli & Isles), look into the dead letters bureau at the U.S. Postal Service, where a team of humanitarians try to help those on the verge of losing their faith by answering their letters to God. Dear God comes to TNT from ABC Studios.
TBS programming details
TBS will expand its programming lineup sharply in 2010 and 2011. Conan O'Brien's new late-night show will debut Nov. 8. He will be followed by Lopez Tonight, the hit late-night show starring George Lopez that debuted in 2009. TBS's lineup also includes the original series My Boys, Are We There Yet? and the new animated series Neighbors from Hell.
In addition, TBS has acquired exclusive cable rights to the CBS series The Big Bang Theory, beginning in fall 2011. TBS has also greenlit the original series Glory Daze (working title), a 1980s-set comedy that centers on four buddies who navigate college life and pledge a fraternity. The ensemble cast includes Tim Meadows and is from TBS Productions, Warner Horizon Television and executive producers Walt Becker (National Lampoon's Van Wilder) and Michael LeSieur (You, Me and Dupree).
TBS ONE-HOUR SERIES IN DEVELOPMENT
The Wedding Band
The writing team of Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle (South Park) and executive producer Michael Tollin (Wild Hogs, Smallville) introduce a fresh comedy that centers on four friends. Some are married and some are single, all with day jobs and responsibilities, but they share one thing in common: They are in a wedding band. The Wedding Band comes to TBS from FremantleMedia.
The Rabbit Factory
From executive producer/writer Alan Loeb (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, New Amsterdam), executive producer Steven Pearl (The Beast) and Lionsgate Television, this series follows the detective team of Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs, two characters from the book series by Marshall Karp. Recently widowed Lomax and recently married Biggs work to protect and serve, navigating the daily challenges of their jobs while tackling their personal lives.
Executive producer/writer Victor Levin (Mad About You) and executive producer Chris Albrecht focus on a widower who re-enters the world of dating, only to learn that he is quite the catch.
TBS ANIMATED SERIES IN DEVELOPMENT
Good and Evel
Olive Productions (Stanley Tucci, Steve Buscemi and Wren Arthur), Gotham Group (Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lee Stollman), Lionsgate Television and executive producer/writer Glenn Eichler (The Colbert Report, Beavis and Butt-Head) introduce the ultimate dysfunctional family. Voiced by acclaimed actors Tucci (Julie & Julia, The Lovely Bones) and Buscemi (Fargo, Boardwalk Empire), the show centers on Jack Good, a moral, upstanding family man, and his nefarious twin brother, Bo Evel, a rebel and drunk who's been in and out of prison.
The Black Family
Executive producer/writer Ali LeRoi (Everybody Hates Chris, TBS's Are We There Yet?); executive producer/artist Todd Goldman; executive producers Keenen Ivory Wayans, Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans (Scary Movie, White Chicks, Little Man); and executive producer Dance Flick) introduce a blended interracial family, the Blacks.