TBS & TNT Unveil 2012 -13 Development Slate
Two of cable's most successful brands are once again paving the way to the future with a bold, industry-leading strategy. According to the vision laid out by executives during the annual Upfront presentation today in New York, TBS and TNT will undertake a major transformation over the next two years, evolving from linear television networks into branded video destinations.
"Our strategy is designed to confront the challenges of an ever-growing media universe by focusing on the strength of our brands, the power of our programming and the ability to deliver branded video content that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere and on any device," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "To reach our destination, we will focus on leading with the strength of the TBS and TNT brands; cementing each network's foundation with popular, high-profile acquisitions; expanding our lineup of scripted and unscripted original series to a year-round model; and maximizing multi-screen opportunities."
"Turner continues to make investments in programming that has broad appeal with viewers, and our commitment to producing originals throughout the year and content for all screens will provide tremendous opportunities for our clients and their brands," said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. "As viewer habits progress and we evolve into a One Media World, advertisers continue to look for opportunities to engage with consumers on multiple screens and platforms. Turner's leading portfolio of linear and digital brands, with enhanced original content, provides our advertising partners with greater reach for their messages, across multiple screens, genres and demographics."
In addition to detailing the strategy for success and growth in the future, TNT and TBS unveiled their extensive original series lineups for 2012-13. TNT and TBS also announced a diverse range of new projects in development from such high-profile creative partners as David Baldacci, Michael Bay, Steven Bochco, Tom Clancy, James Duff, Howard Gordon, Norm MacDonald, Matthew McConaughey, Conan O'Brien, Michael Ovitz, Robert Port, Michael M. Robin, Ron Shelton, Greer Shephard, Don Todd and Dick Wolf.
"At TNT, we're expanding our programming horizons with new forms and new genres - like we did last year with Falling Skies - and we're reaching out to new audiences," explained Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "Whatever the form or genre, we're using what we call the 'popcorn mindset' as the guiding principle behind all our development. From a storytelling perspective, that simply means that TNT's dramas are meant to entertain and excite viewers, take them on a ride and land them safely at the end."
TNT has nine original series on tap this summer, more than any other time in the network's history. Among the new series joining the network are the eagerly anticipated Dallas and TNT's first-ever reality-competition show, The Great Escape. TNT is also building its originals slate with the recently greenlit medical drama Monday Mornings and the unscripted series Boston Blue (Working Title) and 72 Hours (Working Title).
TBS's slate of original programming is being developed with two types of comedy lovers in mind. "The Big Bang Theory gives us an ideal foundation from which to launch original series that target our audience of 'comedy relatables,' who like comedy that reminds them of their own lives, while Family Guy is one of our anchors for 'comedy rebels,' who enjoy more irreverent, provocative comedy," Wright said.
For the comedy relatables, TBS is premiering two new sitcoms this summer, each of which will be paired in the lineup with The Big Bang Theory. Next week, TBS will premiere Men at Work, followed in July by the launch of Sullivan & Son. Later this year, TBS will also debut the scripted comedy series Wedding Band, followed in early 2013 by the premiere of Cougar Town, now a TBS original series. For the comedy rebels, TBS's slate includes shows like the competition series King of the Nerds (Working Title) and the newly greenlit Deon Cole's Black Box and Who Gets the Last Laugh? (Working Title).
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 New Series
Rizzoli & Isles - Season 3 premiere: Tuesday, June 5, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Franklin & Bash - Season 2 premiere: Tuesday, June 5, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Dallas - Two-hour series premiere: Wednesday, June 13, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Falling Skies - Two-hour season 2 premiere: Sunday, June 17, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
The Great Escape - Series premiere: Sunday, June 24, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
The Closer - Final six episodes premiere: Monday, July 9, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Perception - Series premiere: Monday, July 9, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Leverage - Season 5 premiere: Sunday, July 15, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)
Major Crimes - Series premiere: Monday, Aug. 13, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), then moves to 9 p.m.
Southland - Season 5 coming in February 2013
Monday Mornings - New series coming in early 2013
Boston Blue (Working Title) - New series coming in 2013
72 Hours (Working Title) - New series coming in 2013
TNT Scripted Series in Development
King and Maxwell - Bestselling author David Baldacci's popular characters Sean King and Michelle Maxwell aren't your typical pair of private investigators. Both are former secret service agents, and their unique skill set (not to mention their razor-sharp chemistry) often gives them a leg up on both suspects and conventional law enforcement. Baldacci serves as a consultant on the project. Executive Producer: Shane Brennan. Producer: Karen Spiegel and Grant Anderson. Studio: CBS Television Studios.
The Last Ship - In this exciting action/adventure project based on the popular novel by William Brinkley, the crew of a naval destroyer is forced to confront the reality of a new existence when a pandemic decimates most of the earth's population. Michael Bay (Transformers) intends to direct the pilot if it is green lit. Executive Producers: Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, Andrew Form, Hank Steinberg (showrunner and writer) and Steve Kane (writer). Production Company: Platinum Dunes.
Legends - This suspenseful, action-packed drama is being developed by Howard Gordon, Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Mark Bomback from the novel Legends by Robert Littell. The story follows a deep-cover operative namEd Martin Odum, who has an uncanny ability to transform himself into a different person for each job. But his own identity comes into question when a mysterious stranger suggests that Martin isn't who he thinks he is. Executive Producers: Howard Gordon, Jeffrey Nachmanoff, Alexander Cary and Jonathan Levin. Studio: Fox Television Studios.
Lew Archer - 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. Studio: Warner Horizon Television.
Tom Clancy's Homeland Security - This event-based procedural written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and set in Tom Clancy's world of espionage pits a select team of domestic intelligence operatives against enemies within and without, from narco-traffickers and nuclear terrorists to cyber-criminals and human smugglers. Executive Producers: Tom Clancy, Michael Ovitz, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Chris George.