TNT and TBS, two of cable’s most successful brands, have unveiled an extensive slate of series being developed with some of the industry’s best storytellers. The slate reflects the network’s programming strategies, which were laid out by network executives during TNT and TBS’s annual Upfront presentation today in New York. Among the many high-profile storytellers developing new projects for TBS and TNT are Steven Spielberg, Steve Carell, Diablo Cody, Denis Leary, Sylvester Stallone, Dick Wolf, Nicholas Sparks, Marcia Clark, Dee Johnson, Walt Becker, Jamie Foxx and James Duff, to name a few.
“For a decade, we’ve been beating the drum the loudest – that cable is as good as broadcast,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, which includes TBS and TNT, as well as truTV and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “Now, our industry has reached a tipping point. From creative strength to ratings power, cable has emerged as the leader in television. I’m proud of the role we’ve played at TNT and TBS. Today, we’re looking toward the next horizon – becoming a multiscreen video company serving multiple audiences.”
Koonin highlighted some of TBS and TNT’s successes in the multiscreen world, like inviting fans to re-create an entire episode of TBS’s Conan through crowd-sourcing and fostering the creation of “Rizzles,” an online COMMUNITY of Rizzoli & Isles devotees who create fan fiction centering on their favorite TNT drama. Using a new, multi-dimensional research tool called ATHENA (Advanced Tool for Harnessing and Evaluating Network Audiences), TBS and TNT have begun to measure viewer engagement with the networks through social media and other digital platforms.
Koonin closed his remarks with the announcement that this summer, TBS and TNT will become the industry’s first national entertainment networks to offer live streaming of their on-air lineups 24/7.
David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., spoke about the benefits TNT and TBS offer the advertising COMMUNITY. “We have a strong understanding of our audience and how they consume Turner’s brands and content across multiple screens, and we’re leveraging that to the advantage of our advertising partners,” Levy said. “With brands like TBS and TNT, the Turner portfolio consists of leading television networks, plus digital and mobile platforms. We are committed to creating great content that viewers want and that allows for advertisers to connect with our audience across multiple screens.”
Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM), rolled out TNT and TBS’s programming strategy and original series lineups for 2013-14. “This is a time of great changes in our business – new technologies, new distribution platforms, new creative voices,” Wright said. “But with all that exciting change, one thing remains constant: Great stories are the centerpiece of our business. And great stories come from great storytellers. Fortunately for us, some of the best, most talented storytellers in television are bringing their gifts to Turner.”
TNT and TBS’s new development slates mark extended relationships with Steven Spielberg, Dick Wolf and James Duff, who currently have projects with the networks. Other creative partners currently working with the networks include Frank Darabont, Jerry Bruckheimer, Mark Burnett, Michael M. Robin, Greer Shephard, Bill Lawrence, Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley, Rob Long, Jamie Tarses, David Baldacci, Michael Bay, Howard Gordon, Conan O’Brien, CeeLo Green, Dwayne Johnson, Howie Mandel and Funny Or Die, to name a few.
“We aim for creative distinction by giving our talented storytellers clear direction, then getting out of their way and encouraging them to tell their stories in their own unique voice,” Wright said. “TNT viewers can rely on us to consistently deliver accessible content, told by unique, powerful voices, and brought to life by distinctive onscreen talent – all working together to deliver that quality mainstream viewing experience.”
TNT has nine original series on tap this summer, including the return of such hit series as Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies, Major Crimes, Perception and Franklin & Bash. TNT will also launch the new crime drama King & Maxwell, starring Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn, and three new unscripted series, The Hero, a competition series headlined by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; 72 Hours, a race-against-the-clock competition hosted by Brandon Johnson; and Cold Justice, an unscripted procedural from Law & Order producer Dick Wolf.
Coming later in the year to TNT are the new series Lost Angels, an eagerly anticipated scripted drama from Frank Darabont; S.O.B. (Save Our Business), an unscripted makeover series featuring entrepreneur Peter Jones; and Marshal Law: Texas, an unscripted procedural from Jerry Bruckheimer. In 2014, TNT will launch two new scripted dramas: The Last Ship, starring Eric Dane and executive-produced by Michael Bay, and Legends, starring Sean Bean and executive-produced by Homeland’s Howard Gordon. TNT will also roll out the unscripted series Life Flight, an in-depth look at heroic air-ambulance teams; Nashville Confidential, a docudrama set in the country music capital; and Inside Job, which puts executive job candidates through a unique screening process.
In addition, TNT has two pilots currently under consideration: an untitled bounty-hunter drama starring Oscar® winner Geena Davis and executive-produced by Dean Devlin, and Murder in the First, a new crime drama from Steven Bochco starring Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson.
Turning to TBS, Wright talked about the network’s “smart with heart” strategy. “‘Smart with heart’ means we look for projects from funny writers with strong voices who tend to create shows that are inherently optimistic and big hearted, giving them the accessibility of broadcast comedies – and equally importantly – making them a great fit with The Big Bang Theory, one of the most accessible comedies in recent memory,” he said.
TBS’s slate of original programming includes three sitcoms that successfully launched out of The Big Bang Theory: Men At Work, currently in its second season; Sullivan & Son, which returns for its second season in June; and Cougar Town, which returns for its fifth season in 2014. The lineup also includes unscripted and alternative fare like the hit King of the Nerds, which returns for its second season in 2014, as well as the upcoming Deon Cole’s Black Box, starring Conan writer and actor Deon Cole; Deal With It, a hidden-camera competition series hosted by Theo Von and executive-produced by Howie Mandel; Bam’s Bad Ass Game Show, an over-the-top competition series hosted by Jackass star Bam Margera; and Trust Me, I’m a Game Show Host, a new series from Mark Burnett and featuring D.L. Hughley and Michael Ian Black as deceitful hosts.
TBS just recently announced series pickups for Ground Floor, a workplace comedy with a romantic twist from Cougar Town executive producer Bill Lawrence, and The CeeLo Life (working title), an unscripted series that will follow Grammy winner CeeLo Green as he works his way through jam-packed days and nights. And this November, TBS will launch a new late-night series hosted by comedian and podcast superstar Pete Holmes and set to air following Conan.
The following is a rundown of new and returning series on the slate for TNT and TBS, as well as descriptions of scripted and unscripted series being developed for the networks.
Current and Upcoming Original Programming
TNT Original Series Lineup
The Hero – Series Premiere: Thursday, June 6, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)
72 Hours – Series Premiere: Thursday, June 6, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Falling Skies – Two-Hour Season 3 Premiere: Sunday, June 9, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) – Regular Timeslot: Sundays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Major Crimes – Season 2 Premiere: Monday, June 10, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
King & Maxwell – Series Premiere: Monday, June 10, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Franklin & Bash – Season 3 Premiere: Wednesday, June 19, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Rizzoli & Isles – Season 4 Premiere: Tuesday, June 25, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Perception – Season 2 Premiere: Tuesday, June 25, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Cold Justice – Series Premiere: Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Lost Angels – New Series: Late 2013
S.O.B. (Save Our Business) – New Series: Late 2013
Marshal Law: Texas – New Series: Late 2013
Dallas – Season 3: Early 2014
Life Flight – New Series: Early 2014
Nashville Confidential – New Series: Early 2014
Boston’s Finest – Season 2: Early 2014
Inside Job – New Series: 2014
The Last Ship – New Series: 2014
Legends – New Series: 2014
TBS Original Series Lineup
Men At Work – Season 2: Thursdays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Who Gets the Last Laugh? – New Series: Tuesdays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Deon Cole’s Black Box – New Series Premiere: Wednesday, June 12, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Sullivan & Son – Season 2 Premiere: Thursday, June 13, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Deal With It – New Series Premiere: Tuesday, July 16, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Trust Me, I’m a Game Show Host – New Series: Late 2013
Untitled Pete Holmes Late Night Show – New Series: November 2013
Cougar Town – Season 5: Early 2014
King of the Nerds – Season 2: Early 2014
Bam’s Bad Ass Game Show – New Series: 2014
Ground Floor – New Series: 2014
The CeeLo Life (working title) – New Series: 2014
Scripted Series Development
This project is the story of a group of young scientists who, while investigating what they believe to be a haunted house, stumble upon a portal into the time-space continuum. Things then take a turn for the worse when one of their own vanishes into the portal.
– Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Scott Rosenberg (writer), Jeff Pinkner (writer), Josh Appelbaum (writer) and Andre Nemec (writer)
– Production Company/Studio: Amblin Television
This re-imagining of the classic post-modern Blake Edwards-Craig Stevens’ series centers on a gentleman private eye who is not above getting his bespoke suit and tie dirty, if that’s what it takes to bring down the bad guys, save his hometown and win back the love of the gal he left behind.
– Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Julie Andrews, Lou Pitt, Scott Rosenberg (writer), Jeff Pinkner (writer), Josh Appelbaum (writer), Andre Nemec (writer)
– Production Company/Studio: Amblin Television
The Last Cop
Life can seem to pass in the blink of an eye, but for LAPD cop Mick Branigan it actually did in this project based on the hit German series. After almost 20 years in a coma, Mick awakens to a changed world – his loving wife has moved on, his teenage daughter doesn’t know him, and his old police force bears no resemblance to the one he knew in the ’90s.
– Executive Producers: Sylvester Stallone, Kevin King, Mikkel Bondesen, Chris Fedak (writer) and Kristen Campo (co-executive producer)
– Production Company/Studio: Fuse Entertainment, Fox Television Studios
A Bend in the Road
This character drama based on Nicholas Sparks’ book is set in a resort town. Sheriff Miles Ryan is known for his keen ability to solve crimes and his deep understanding of the town’s citizens. But what Miles doesn’t realize is just how many secrets are buried beneath the very streets he walks – the most unsettling having to do with the unsolved murder of his wife.
– Executive Producers: Nicholas Sparks, Theresa Park and Brandon Camp (writer)
– Production Company/Studio: Nicholas Sparks Productions, Warner Horizon Television
Guilt by Association
Based on the debut novel by Marcia Clark, lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, this project centers on Rachel Knight, a gutsy Deputy District Attorney in the Special Trials Unit of the D.A.’s office for L.A. County. She works closely with a tough-as-nails female LAPD detective named Bailey Keller and a stylish female prosecutor named Toni LaCollette, both of whom routinely crash at Rachel’s place.
– Executive Producers: Marcia Clark (writer), Dee Johnson (writer) and Nelson McCormick (director)
Based on the title character from Ross McDonald’s popular novels, this project from The Closer creator James Duff and Close to Home creator Jim Leonard follows the sleuth many consider to be “the original P.I.”
– Executive Producers: James Duff, Jim Leonard (writer) and Steve N. White.
– Production Company/Studio: Warner Horizon Television.
This primetime soap focuses on two rich lovers: Caz, whose father, Jeremy owns Terra Winery, and Daphne, Jeremy’s young wife. When Jeremy announces that he has amended his will to leave them each 50% of the business, their rivalry gets the better of them. They make a unique bet to determine who has the best seductive powers.
– Executive Producers/Writers: Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon
– Production Company/Studio: Prospect Park, NBC Universal
Between sexting and house parties, flashing and crushing on teachers, it’s hard to figure out who the kids are and who the adults are in this half hour comedy centered on four couples who must navigate the responsibilities of parenthood while holding on to the last bastions of their youth.
– Executive Producers: Walt Becker, Andrew Panay and Brent Golberg (writer)
Tribeca (working title)
The brainchild of Steve and Nancy Carell, Tribeca is a comedy anchored by heroine Angie Tribeca ,a 10-year veteran of the LAPD’s elite RHCU (Really Heinous Crimes Unit). The show explores an eccentric but brilliant group of people who investigate crime, reveal way too much personal information about themselves and refuse to rest until justice has been served. These dedicated men and women are more than counter-intuitive; they are non-intuitive.
– Executive Producers: Steve Carell and Nancy Carell
– Production Company/Studio: Carousel Television
Dad, Stop Embarrassing Me
Every teenager is embarrassed by his/her parents. But what if your dad decided to descend upon your life in every way? Inspired by Jamie Foxx’s relationship with his 18-year-old daughter, this comedy explores the dynamic between a parent and a child and all the embarrassment that comes with it.
– Executive Producers: Jamie Foxx and Jaime King
– Writer: Marsh McCall & Jamie Foxx
– Production Company/Studio: Foxx/King Entertainment
Dream House (working title)
When a young guy has the chance to buy the house of his dreams, he quickly discovers that the owner, a seemingly feeble old man, is actually a grifter who manages to sell the house and become his roommate.
– Executive Producers: Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman
– Writers: Dottie Zicklin and Eric Zicklin
– Production Company/Studio: Warner Horizon Television
Written by the creators of Will & Grace, this ensemble workplace comedy revolves around an eclectic cast of stylists working in a barbershop in the Boston suburb of Worcester, Mass.
– Executive Producers/Writers: David Kohan and Max Mutchnick
– Production Company/Studio: KoMut Entertainment
Unscripted Series Development
From executive producer Denis Leary, Burn is an action-packed docudrama told through the eyes of Detroit firefighters, who are charged with the task of saving a city that many have written off as dead. Burn will take viewers closer than ever to the fires and the lives of the men and women who fight them, exploring human struggles, hope and personal courage in the face of overwhelming odds.
– Executive Producers: Denis Leary, Tom Putnam, Brenna Sanchez and Jim Serpico
– Production Company/Studio: Apostle Pictures, Inc. and Callbox
From legendary producer Dick Wolf comes a unique unscripted format. Each week, two law enforcement officials from diverse backgrounds and departments immerse themselves in each other’s lives and jobs in an effort to learn something that will make them better officers, partners and citizens of the law. When all is said and done, the cops reflect on their mutual journeys, and reveal new perspectives on what it means to protect and serve.
– Executive Producers: Dick Wolf, Tom Thayer and Rasha Drachkovitch
– Production Company/Studio: Wolf Films, 44 Blue Productions
From the iconic toy and game company Hasbro comes the reality version of the popular game. Eight two-person teams will play a game of real-world Monopoly with a huge cash prize at stake. Just like the iconic game, the ultimate goal is to amass as much property and wealth as possible in this game that requires strategy, business acumen, people skills and chance.
– Executive Producers: Stephen J. Davis, Kevin Belinkoff, Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz
– Production Company/Studio: The Magical Elves, Hasbro Studios
The Big Deal
From the producers of The Biggest Loser and MasterChef comes the biggest treasure hunt America has ever seen. Teams of antique and collectible enthusiasts from across the country compete in an epic scavenger hunt for the chance to win thousands in cash.
– Executive Producers: Eden Gaha and Paul Franklin
– Production Company/Studio: Shine America
Me Time with Diablo Cody
Oscar®-winner Diablo Cody, the creator of United States Of Tara and Young Adult, brings her signature charm and style to the screen as host of her own show. Tailored around Diablo’s unique perspective on all things pop culture and told in her very own tongue-in-cheek way, Me Time with Diablo Cody will reveal a side of Hollywood and celebs that the public very rarely gets to see.
– Executive Producers: Mark Cronin, Courtland Cox and Diablo Cody
– Production Company/Studio: 51 Minds
Cheeseheads (working title)
Green Bay, Wis., is home to the World Famous Green Bay Packers and their fans: The Cheeseheads. These citizens don’t just bleed green and gold; they eat victory for breakfast. For them, being a Cheesehead is more than just being a fan. It’s a way of life. This show will take viewers into the hilarious subculture through the eyes of a group of proud Wisconsinites as they navigate life in the only way they know how – loud, proud and with lots of beer. For these folks, there is no off-season.
– Executive Producers: Jason Carbone
– Production Company/Studio: Good Clean Fun
Source: Turner press release, 5/15/13