TNT and TBS Show Off Brand Strength and Star-Studded Programming at Turner Upfront
Casts of TNT�s THE CLOSER, SAVED, NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES and THE LIBRARIAN II Take Center Stage
Ridley Scott Talks about THE COMPANY, Epic Six-Hour Series Joining TNT Line-Up in Summer 2007
TBS Greenlights Comedy Series MY BOYS and 10 ITEMS OR LESS; Cast Members Debut at Upfront
Original Series in Development Include TNT�s GENERATIONS, Executive-Produced by Robert Redford and John Sacret Young
TBS Working with HBO on COMIC RELIEF Event at The Comedy Festival
Advertisers and Guests Entertained with Live Performances by Lenny Kravitz and Comedian Kevin James (The King of Queens)
Brand strength and all-star programming were the order of the day as TNT and TBS touted current and upcoming original productions at the networks� Upfront presentation for advertisers today at Madison Square Garden. The Upfront presentation was hosted by Mark Lazarus, president of Turner Entertainment Group; David Levy, president of Turner Entertainment Group Ad Sales and Marketing and president of Turner Sports; and Steve Koonin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for TNT and TBS. Michael Wright, senior vice president of original programming for the networks, presented the original programming slates.
Taking the stage to talk about their projects were the cast of TNT�s blockbuster original series THE CLOSER, led by Golden Globe� and Screen Actors Guild Award� nominee Kyra Sedgwick; the cast of TNT�s new original series SAVED, starring Tom Everett Scott, Elizabeth Reaser and Omari Hardwick; cast members from TNT�s anthology series NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING, including William H. Macy, Kim Delaney, Ron Livingston and Samantha Mathis; and Noah Wyle and Gabrielle Anwar from the TNT Original movie THE LIBRARIAN: RETURN TO KING SOLOMON�S MINES. The cast members were interviewed onstage during the presentation by CNN�s Anderson Cooper.
Also on hand was executive producer Ridley Scott, who spoke about his new project for TNT: THE COMPANY, an epic six-hour series about U.S. intelligence during the Cold War. THE COMPANY will premiere in summer 2007.
The Upfront served as a platform for Wright to announce that TBS has greenlit two scripted comedy series: MY BOYS, starring Jordana Spiro (JAG, Must Love Dogs), and 10 ITEMS OR LESS, from the creators of the acclaimed mockumentary Memron. Cast members from both shows were in attendance for the announcement. Both series are slated to join the TBS line-up in Q4 2006.
Koonin also announced that TBS is working with HBO on a COMIC RELIEF event planned for the second annual The Comedy Festival in November. As it did for the inaugural edition of The Comedy Festival last year, TBS will once again serve as title sponsor.
Following the Upfront presentation, advertisers and guests were treated to comedy from Kevin James, whose hit comedy series The King of Queens joins TBS�s line-up this October, and a memorable concert by Lenny Kravitz.
Mark Lazarus opened the Upfront presentation with comments on how investment in brand strength and alternative platforms is the key to survival in the ever-growing, ever-evolving world of entertainment. �We are making significant investments in programming for our linear networks,� he said, �and new digital opportunities to enhance and extend our great brands.�
Levy expanded on Lazarus� comments by telling the assembled advertisers, �Brands and reach are going to play important roles in this new media world, and we have great entertainment brands in TNT�s �We Know Drama� and TBS�s �very funny.� Both networks also have a very strong reach, which we believe will help you grow your brands in combination with ours.�
Koonin took the stage to speak about how TNT and TBS�s brands are key components to driving their success. �In this multi-media, fragmented world where consumers are constantly bombarded with options, messages and technology, one thing stands clear: Brands matter,� he said. �What separates us from all the other networks is our branding. Of the largest networks on television in terms of reach, ours are the only branded networks.�
Wright began his presentation of TBS and TNT�s upcoming original programming by noting, �Our goal and the goal of our creative partners is to craft programming that reflects the appeal of the shows we�re already running on the networks,� he said. �For TBS, that means we�re developing comedy where the laughs are rooted in strong character work and great storytelling. And for TNT, it means dramatic stories that make you feel and think, series built on the hard-to-find qualities of great writing, acting and directing, as well as compelling, three-dimensional characters.�
Wright then introduced the production and development slates for TNT and TBS:
In Production at TNT
THE CLOSER - Original series launching second season in June; premiere to air uninterrupted and commercial-free, sponsored by Audi
Challenges both personal and professional are in store for Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson when Golden Globe� and Screen Actors Guild Award� nominee Kyra Sedgwick returns in TNT�s blockbuster hit series THE CLOSER. In addition to Sedgwick, THE CLOSER�s Screen Actors Guild Award�-nominated ensemble cast is back, including Jon Tenney, J.K. Simmons, Corey Reynolds, Robert Gossett, G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Raymond Cruz, Michael Paul Chan and Gina Ravera. THE CLOSER comes to TNT from The Shephard/Robin Company in association with Warner Bros. Television. James Duff (The D.A., The Agency), Greer Shephard (Nip/Tuck, The D.A.) and Michael M. Robin (Nip/Tuck, The D.A., NYPD Blue) serve as executive producers.
SAVED - Original series premiering in June; premiere to air uninterrupted and commercial-free
A complicated yet charming young man struggling to find his place in life copes with the breakneck pace and his consequence-ridden job as a paramedic in TNT�s newest, character-driven drama, starring Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do, Boiler Room). This stylistic series, which also stars Omari Hardwick (Beauty Shop, Sucker Free City) and Elizabeth Reaser (The Family Stone), comes to TNT from Fox 21 and Imagine Television, with David Manson (Nothing Sacred, Thief) and Imagine�s David Nevins (Arrested Development) serving as executive producers. SAVED is set to premiere commercial-free on TNT this summer.
NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING - Anthology series premiering in July; premiere story to air uninterrupted and commercial-free
TNT is putting the summer on ice with this chilling all-star television event, a collection of eight mind-bending tales from the master of horror. NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES features such top performers as William H. Macy, Jacqueline McKenzie, Kim Delaney, Steven Weber, Samantha Mathis, Jeremy Sisto, Ron Livingston, Henry Thomas, Tom Berenger, Marsha Mason, William Hurt, Eion Bailey, Claire Forlani, Richard Thomas and Greta Scacchi. NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES comes to TNT from Bill Haber�s Ostar Enterprises, with Haber serving as executive producer.
THE LIBRARIAN: RETURN TO KING SOLOMON�S MINES - Original movie premiering in Q4
TNT is heading back to the library for more rip-roaring, pulse-pounding adventures with the protector of humanity�s greatest secrets in this sequel to the enormously successful TNT Original movie The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. Noah Wyle (ER) is back in the title role, co-starring this time with Gabrielle Anwar. Bob Newhart, Olympia Dukakis and Jane Curtin are also reprising their roles from the original. THE LIBRARIAN: RETURN TO KING SOLOMON�S MINES is directed by Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: The Next Generation), with Dean Devlin (Independence Day, The Patriot) serving as executive producer under his Electric Entertainment banner. The script is by Marco Schnabel, based on characters created by David Titcher.
THE COMPANY - Original six-hour series from Sony Pictures Television, executive producers Ridley Scott (Gladiator), Tony Scott (Numb3rs), John Calley (The Da Vinci Code) & David Zucker (Phone Booth) and writer Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down) - Premieres in summer 2007
Based on the New York Times bestseller by Robert Littell, this dramatic, action-packed series traces the activities of the CIA during the Cold War. The plot follows the thrilling story of agents imprisoned in double lives, fighting an elusive, formidable enemy while also engaging in an internecine battle within the CIA itself. As agents delve deeper and deeper into the game of espionage, some can keep their hearts and heads cold and removed. But one man is forever changed by the cost in human lives and his own inability to resist even the deadliest of dangers: falling in love with an enemy.
In Development at TNT
GENERATIONS - One-hour drama series from executive producer Robert Redford (Ordinary People, A River Runs Through It, Quiz Show, The Horse Whisperer) and writer/executive producer John Sacret Young (The West Wing, China Beach)
This series crosses back and forth through time to follow the lives of three generations of the same family who have all lived in the same house.
THE NORMS - One-hour drama series from Warner Bros. Television, executive producers Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin (TNT�s The Closer) and writer Michael Lewis (Moneyball, Liar�s Poker)
THE NORMS tells the story of a dysfunctional family in the �New� South as it wrestles, quixotically and usually unconsciously, with issues of family, community and faith.
MIDDLETOWN - One-hour drama series from Sony Pictures Television and writer/executive producer John Masius (Providence, Dead Like Me)
In this family drama set in Middle America, Tom and Nancy Wakefield both work at the local high school. He�s the principal and ethics teacher, and she�s the school nurse and a medical practitioner in the community. While they try to educate and discipline their students, they�re also parents to 16-year-old Hannah, who goes to her parents� school, and 14-year-old Max, who is autistic but is being mainstreamed for the first time in his life.
UNTITLED HOLLANDER PROJECT - One-hour drama series from Warner Bros. Television and writer/executive producer David Hollander (The Guardian)
This series, set in the high-stakes world of heart-transplant surgery, follows a recently separated couple who work both sides of the trade: She counsels the survivors and loved ones of those who have donated organs; he races against time to harvest and implant the valuable organs into patients who are struggling against time and their failing bodies to hold on just long enough to receive the life-saving gifts.
UNTITLED GREENE/LEVINE PROJECT - One-hour drama series from Warner Bros. Television, executive producers Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin (TNT�s The Closer) and writers Richard Levine and Lyn Greene (nip/tuck)
In this gripping drama, a top New York sports doctor has his career ruined when he becomes the fall guy for a botched surgery on a major athlete. He then ends up working with the disabled at a rehabilitation clinic in New Jersey.
UNTITLED FINKELSTEIN/CLARK PROJECT - One-hour drama series from writer/executive producer William M. Finkelstein (NYPD Blue, Law & Order) and executive producer Bill Clark (NYPD Blue, Blind Justice)
Based on the experiences of former NYPD detective Bill Clark, this crime drama tells its story from the perspective of a neighborhood cop �just walkin� the beat.�
In Production at TBS
MY BOYS - Half-hour scripted comedy series from Sony Pictures Television and Pariah, executive producers Gavin Polone (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Gilmore Girls) and Jamie Tarses and writer/executive producer Betsy Thomas (Run of the House) - Premieres in Q4 2006
In this half-hour comedy series, PJ, played by Jordana Spiro (JAG, Must Love Dogs), is a twenty-something �guy�s girl� who tries to find romance within her world dominated by male friends. As a huge sports fan and professional sportswriter, she�s got a masculine, no-nonsense, sports-analogous approach to dating that often freaks out potential boyfriends. Her only female friend advises her to dress and act more feminine, but it�s hard for PJ to shake off her tomboy qualities. Jim Gaffigan (That �70s Show, Ed), Jamie Kaler (The Family Stone), Michael Bunin (Scrubs), Reid Scott (American Dreams), Kyle Howard (Related, Orange County) and Kellee Stewart (Guess Who?) co-star.
10 ITEMS OR LESS - Half-hour scripted and improvised comedy series from Sony Pictures Television and executive producers/actors Robert Hickey, Nancy Hower and John Lehr (Memron) - Premieres in Q4 2006
In this loosely scripted comedy series, John Lehr plays a less-than-successful businessman from New York City who moves back home to take over the family supermarket after the death of his father. But the staff quickly realizes his management style is markedly different from that of his father, making for a comically chaotic workplace.
COMIC RELIEF - Three-hour comedy extravaganza premiering in November from The Comedy Festival
TBS is working with HBO on a COMIC RELIEF event as part of HBO and AEG Live�s second annual The Comedy Festival, taking place in Las Vegas Tuesday, Nov. 14 - Saturday, Nov. 18. As it did with last year�s inaugural edition of The Comedy Festival, TBS will once again serve as title sponsor.
In Development at TBS
MY EMBARASSING LIFE - Half-hour scripted comedy series from writer/executive producer David Rosenthal (Gilmore Girls, Spin City)
This coming-of-age story features 14-year-old Henry Einstein, who deals with ridicule at school and his first real crush while trying to survive his quirky family.
LARRY MILLER PROJECT - Half-hour scripted comedy series from Sony Pictures Television and writer/executive producer/star Larry Miller
Renowned stand-up comedian and actor Larry Miller provides a unique take on suburbia as he plays a dad, husband and newspaper columnist with two kids.
TBS is television�s �very funny� network, serving as home to such hot contemporary comedies as Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Family Guy, Seinfeld and Friends; original comedy series and specials; blockbuster movies; and hosted movie showcases.
Turner Network Television (TNT), television�s destination for drama and one of cable�s top-rated networks, offers original movies and series, including the detective drama series The Closer, starring Golden Globe� and Screen Actors Guild Awards� nominee Kyra Sedgwick; Saved, a new character-driven drama starring Tom Everett Scott; and this summer�s eagerly anticipated anthology series Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King. TNT is also home to powerful one-hour dramas, such as Law & Order, Without a Trace, Las Vegas, Cold Case, ER, NYPD Blue, Charmed and Judging Amy; broadcast premiere movies; compelling prime-time specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards�; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is also available in high-definition.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and a leading provider of programming for the television industry.