TNT sets sights on ‘Truth’

Baldwin, Coveny will be project's showrunners

TNT is turning to the ad world for a new scripted original.

Time Warner-owned net is close to sealing a deal with Warner Horizon for the pilot “Truth in Advertising,” a dramedy set on contemporary Madison Avenue.

Showrunners on the project will be Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny, who also have written and co-produced episodes of network tentpole “The Closer.” Greer Shephard and Michael Robin, who exec produce “Nip/Tuck” as well as “Closer,” will exec produce. Warner Horizon and Shephard/Robin will produce.

Robin, who has directed episodes of “Closer” and “Nip/Tuck,” will direct the pilot.

Story centers on two young execs at the fictional Rothman, Greene and Mohr who, through an unexpected turn of fate, end up running a department at the Gotham agency. Show will focus on the agency’s campaigns as well as its politics, including a subplot about a mercurial boss.

“The thessis is that there are two kinds of feelings in our society, fear and envy, and all ads address one of them,” Shephard said. “But we’re not out to villify the ad world. We want to make a very objective show about the consumptive nature of our world.”

Baldwin and Coveny have ad-world experience.

Given the show’s marketing themes, net will also seek out product placement, or what it describes as “extensive integrations.”

“I think we can create a groundbreaking show that brings advertisers and writers closer together,” Shephard said, noting that fictional pitches at the ad agency can be adjusted to mention, and fit the needs of, real-life advertisers ranging from telcos to fast food companies.

“We’re not going to shy away from it.”

Show is the second original on basic cable that’s set on Madison Avenue; Matthew Weiner’s “Mad Men,” currently on AMC Thursday nights, is a period take on the industry.

TNT is looking to beef up originals in the wake of strong numbers for “Closer” and Holly Hunter spiritual procedural “Saving Grace.” In an interview, Turner prexy Steve Koonin said the net will open up a second night of programming next summer and put at least four originals on the air.

Other potential series are the William H. Macy drama “Family Man,” about a do-gooder thief, and a Stephen Bochco legal drama about a husband-and-wife pair of litigators.

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