Turner Entertainment boss Steve Koonin has caught the industry’s attention this week by storming into broadcasters’ upfront week with its programming presentation this ayem at Gotham’s Hammerstein ballroom.
Now the Turner cablers have really caught the creative community’s attention by unveiling a slew of new projects in development with such notables as George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Joel Surnow and Jon Avnet.
TNT has upped the ante in the cable vs. broadcast race by promising Madison Avenue that it will be all original in primetime Monday-Wednesday by 2010. Guided by Koonin (pictured right) and Michael Wright (pictured below right), programming chief for TNT, TBS and TCM, TNT already has three new skeins set to preem later this year and early next — Steven Bochco’s “Raising the Bar,” Dean Devlin’s “Leverage” and Madison Avenue drama “Truth in Advertising,” starring Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh (pictured above) — to augment its existing hits “The Closer” and “Saving Grace.”
Here’s the proof that TNT has a formidable development slate for next year and beyond.
DELTA BLUES (working title) tells the tale of an outstanding but unusual Memphis cop: an Elvis impersonator who lives at home with his mother. Delta Blues comes to TNT from Warner Horizon Television and SmokeHouse and is executive-produced by George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Grant Heslov (Good Night, and Good Luck), Abby Wolf-Weiss, Liz Garcia and Josh Horto. The series is written by Garcia and Horto.
MORSE CODE (working title) is a crime drama about a young war hero/Drug Enforcement Administration officer who works in his hometown of Boston. The pilot is from Warner Horizon Television and is expected to star Donnie Wahlberg (Boomtown). It will be produced by Wahlberg, Jon Avnet (Boomtown, The Starter Wife) and Walon Green (Law & Order, ER), with Green writing and Avnet anticipated to direct.
UNTITLED JOEL SURNOW PROJECT is a fast-paced, gritty drama about the life of an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The pilot is being executive-produced and written by Joel Surnow (co-creator of 24) and Todd Robinson.
ANGEL CITY (working title) features six cops in three cars during one shift, in the spirit of such classic dramas as Adam-12 and Hill Street Blues. The show, conceived by Los Angeles police officer Will Beall, will be written by Beall and Barry Schindel (Law & Order) and directed by Steve Schill (Dexter). ANGEL CITY comes to TNT from Mandalay Television.
TOUGH TRADE is a dramatic but humorous look at the Nashville music scene. The show, which focuses on a family of country stars who live like the lyrics to a country song, comes to TNT from Lionsgate Television. It is written by novelist Chris Offutt and executive-produced by Offutt, Sean Furst and Bryan Furst.
UNTITLED ROB ULIN PROJECT is a quirky yet authentic family drama in the mold of Little Miss Sunshine. It is is executive-produced by Rob Ulin (Roseanne, Malcolm in the Middle).
TBS, meanwhile, announced a bunch of new comedy projects in the hopper:
UNTITLED WILLIAM H. MACY/STEVEN SCHACHTER PROJECT is a single-camera, half-hour comedy series that comes to TBS from Sony Pictures Television. It is written and executive-produced by William H. Macy (Fargo, TNT’s Door to Door) and Steven Schachter (Door to Door). Schachter will direct the pilot, while Macy will star.
UNTITLED HERVEY/SIMMONS PROJECT is a primetime, scripted comedy pilot, executive-produced by Russell Simmons (co-founder of Def Jam Recordings), Stan Lathan (The Steve Harvey Show) and Winifred Hervey (The Steve Harvey Show). The series stars Joey “Run” Simmons (of Run-DMC), who also serves as a producer, and is written by Hervey.
NATIONAL BANANA ALREADY IN PROGRESS (working title) is a late-night comedy sketch show being executive-produced by Jerry Zucker (Airplane!, My Best Friend’s Wedding).
And for latenight on TBS:
UNTITLED BUNIM/MURRAY PROJECT is a late-night comedy/reality show that takes a group of middle-aged men back to their fraternity days. It is executive-produced by Jonathan Murray (The Real World) and Gil Goldschein.
UNTITLED JAMIE FOXX/MARCUS KING PROJECT is a late-night sketch and improvisational show executive-produced by Jamie Foxx (Ray, The Jamie Foxx Show) and his longtime collaborator, Marcus King.
TOP TEN (working title) is a late-night show that pits comedians against each other. The show is executive-produced by Mad Cow Productions and Madeleine Smithberg (co-creator of The Daily Show).