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TruTV heavy into development

Network greenlights eight while renewing five series

TruTV greenlit eight series for development and renewed five others, including “Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura,” at its first dedicated upfront.

The cabler, which will have 13 returning series overall in 2010, also announced the renewals of “Full Throttle Saloon,” “Black Gold,” “Las Vegas Jailhouse” and “Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel.”

The Turner-owned cabler’s presentation opened with a parody of “Conspiracy Theory,” featuring Ventura sending up his own persona opposite a “network exec” trying to convince Ventura that the upfront was “just a Kid Rock concert.” Rock played a brief set post-presentation.

Marc Juris, TruTV’s exec veep and g.m., touted the cabler’s ratings momentum since the former CourtTV was rechristened TruTV in 2008.

“Rebrands are simply not that easy. It’s difficult to change the way your audience perceives you, unless your wife smashes in the rear window of your Escalade and it turns out you’ve been sleeping with 260 different women,” Juris said.

But now there’s a younger male aud that is gravitating to TruTV’s mix of unscripted action-oriented programming. “Our viewers come from Comedy Central, Spike and History,” Juris said.

Among the developing series is the latest in the rising “boss” genre: “America’s Toughest Boss,” from RelativityREAL and Tom Forman, creator of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Another workplace hybrid is “The Naked Office,” which promises to offer “unorthodox … revealing group therapy” to keep employees productive. Series comes from Reveille, which has produced the U.S. and U.K. versions of “The Office.”

Meanwhile, Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg of Katalyst will move forward with “Exposed!” for TruTV; program is another live-action unscripted comedy in the spirit of “Punk’d.” FishBowl Worldwide Media, the production shingle headed by “America’s Funniest Home Videos” exec producer Vin Di Bona and Bruce Gersh, will offer “Disclosure,” which examines secret phenomena that key government officials and scientists refuse to discuss publicly.

TruTV will also have two series on wheels: “Vegas Repo,” a companion to “Operation Repo” from Arietis and Intrigue, and “Limo Bob,” focusing on the owner and clientle of Chicago’s biggest limo service.

Also in development:

  • Rogue Society,” about a group that seeks unconventional revenge on behalf of the scammed, cheated and otherwise victimized. Bischoff-Hervey (“Scott Baio is 45 — and Single”) produces.

  • ” Ma’s Roadhouse,” about life at a family-run motorcycle shop/bar/tattoo parlor, from AMS Pictures (“Girl Meets Gown”).

In the first three months of 2010, TruTV had its top quarter in its history in all key demos, reaching ad-supported cable’s top 10 in 18-49.

“When we introduced the truTV brand, we decided to target an audience we call real engagers — viewers who love exciting, real-life action,” Juris said. “We have built a lineup that has attracted a strong fan base, and it only continues to grow.”

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