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Upfronts: Turner Execs Tout Multi-Screen Push, Cable’s Gains

TNT, TBS unveil flood of development prospects to reinforce breadth of offerings

Turner Broadcasting execs will talk up cable’s gains over the broadcast nets and efforts to court viewers on multiple screens at its upfront presentation at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

Turner entertainment chief Steve Koonin and TNT/TBS/TCM programming prexy Michael Wright (pictured left to right above) also are set to unveil a slew of development projects with high-profile creative auspices including Steven Spielberg, Dick Wolf, Steven Carell, Jamie Foxx, Nicholas Sparks, Sylvester Stallone and Diablo Cody. The duo are expected to emphasize the broad slate of fresh series, scripted and unscripted, that TNT and TBS have coming in the summer and fall as a sign that the channels are nearly at parity with broadcasters in terms of reach and the depth of original programming.

Starting this summer, Turner will make the regular linear feeds of TNT and TBS available for streaming round the clock — a first for major entertainment cable channels. (Turner’s sibling CNN already offers a live stream of the linear domestic channel.) But TNT and TBS will only be accessible to those viewers who have TV Everywhere-style authentication through their cable, satellite or telco subscription service. Without authentication, Turner’s key distribs would revolt. It’s notable that the TNT and TBS live streams will include all of the sports programming carried by the channels, including NBA, Major League Baseball and NCAA Men’s Basketball championship games.

In courting advertisers to warm up to Turner’s plentiful new digital advertising options, execs will stress the investment that the company is making in research into quantifying the impact of increased social media usage and second screen activities around TV viewing. They’ve dubbed initiative “ATHENA,” or the Advanced Tool for Harnessing and Evaluating Network Audiences.

Programming-wise, Turner is expected to show off its most recent series orders to buyers, including TNT dramas “The Last Ship,” a disaster thriller produced by Michael Bay; and spy drama “Legends,” from “Homeland” exec producer Howard Gordon. TNT will also confirm that its much-anticipated period crime drama from Frank Darabont, “Lost Angels” (fka “L.A. Noir”), will air later this year.

TBS’ latest orders include comedy “Ground Floor” from “Cougar Town’s” Bill Lawrence. Wright is also poised to talk upthe growing investment in high-end unscripted series for both channels, from Wolf-produced series “Cold Justice” to Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Marshal Law: Texas” for TNT to a docu-series on Cee Lo Green and latenight companion series for Conan O’Brien hosted by Pete Holmes launching in November.

The TNT and TBS development slates are expansive, from a redo of “Peter Gunn” by Spielberg’s Amblin TV and top showrunners Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec to a pop culture-focused series, “Me Time,” hosted by writer Cody; and a Jamie Foxx take on a domestic comedy with “Dad, Stop Embarrassing Me.” David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, two sitcom vets who have struck out of late on broadcast nets, are nurturing “Clipsters,” a workplace laffer set in a barbershop in Worcester, Mass.

Here are the development slates for TNT and TBS:

TNT SCRIPTED

Portal House

This project is the story of a group of young scientists who, while investigating what they believe to be a haunted house, stumble upon a portal into the time-space continuum. Things then take a turn for the worse when one of their own vanishes into the portal.

– Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Scott Rosenberg (writer), Jeff Pinkner (writer), Josh Appelbaum (writer) and Andre Nemec (writer)

– Production Company/Studio: Amblin Television

Peter Gunn

This re-imagining of the classic post-modern Blake Edwards-Craig Stevens’ series centers on a gentleman private eye who is not above getting his bespoke suit and tie dirty, if that’s what it takes to bring down the bad guys, save his hometown and win back the love of the gal he left behind.

– Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Julie Andrews, Lou Pitt, Scott Rosenberg (writer), Jeff Pinkner (writer), Josh Appelbaum (writer), Andre Nemec (writer)

– Production Company/Studio: Amblin Television

The Last Cop

Life can seem to pass in the blink of an eye, but for LAPD cop Mick Branigan it actually did in this project based on the hit German series. After almost 20 years in a coma, Mick awakens to a changed world – his loving wife has moved on, his teenage daughter doesn’t know him, and his old police force bears no resemblance to the one he knew in the ’90s.

– Executive Producers: Sylvester Stallone, Kevin King, Mikkel Bondesen, Chris Fedak (writer) and Kristen Campo (co-executive producer)

– Production Company/Studio: Fuse Entertainment, Fox Television Studios

A Bend in the Road

This character drama based on Nicholas Sparks’ book is set in a resort town. Sheriff Miles Ryan is known for his keen ability to solve crimes and his deep understanding of the town’s citizens. But what Miles doesn’t realize is just how many secrets are buried beneath the very streets he walks – the most unsettling having to do with the unsolved murder of his wife.

– Executive Producers: Nicholas Sparks, Theresa Park and Brandon Camp (writer)

– Production Company/Studio: Nicholas Sparks Productions, Warner Horizon Television 

Guilt by Association

Based on the debut novel by Marcia Clark, lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, this project centers on Rachel Knight, a gutsy Deputy District Attorney in the Special Trials Unit of the D.A.’s office for L.A. County. She works closely with a tough-as-nails female LAPD detective named Bailey Keller and a stylish female prosecutor named Toni LaCollette, both of whom routinely crash at Rachel’s place.

– Executive Producers: Marcia Clark (writer), Dee Johnson (writer) and Nelson McCormick (director)

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.

– Production Company/Studio: Warner Horizon Television.

Crushed

This primetime soap focuses on two rich lovers: Caz, whose father, Jeremy owns Terra Winery, and Daphne, Jeremy’s young wife. When Jeremy announces that he has amended his will to leave them each 50% of the business, their rivalry gets the better of them. They make a unique bet to determine who has the best seductive powers.

– Executive Producers/Writers: Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon

– Production Company/Studio: Prospect Park, Universal Cable Prods.

 

TNT UNSCRIPTED

 

Burn

From executive producer Denis Leary, Burn is an action-packed docudrama told through the eyes of Detroit firefighters, who are charged with the task of saving a city that many have written off as dead. Burn will take viewers closer than ever to the fires and the lives of the men and women who fight them, exploring human struggles, hope and personal courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

– Executive Producers: Denis Leary, Tom Putnam, Brenna Sanchez and Jim Serpico

– Production Company/Studio: Apostle Pictures, Inc. and Callbox

Cop Swap

From legendary producer Dick Wolf comes a unique unscripted format. Each week, two law enforcement officials from diverse backgrounds and departments immerse themselves in each other’s lives and jobs in an effort to learn something that will make them better officers, partners and citizens of the law. When all is said and done, the cops reflect on their mutual journeys, and reveal new perspectives on what it means to protect and serve.

– Executive Producers: Dick Wolf, Tom Thayer and Rasha Drachkovitch

– Production Company/Studio: Wolf Films, 44 Blue Productions

Monopoly

From the iconic toy and game company Hasbro comes the reality version of the popular game. Eight two-person teams will play a game of real-world Monopoly with a huge cash prize at stake. Just like the iconic game, the ultimate goal is to amass as much property and wealth as possible in this game that requires strategy, business acumen, people skills and chance.

– Executive Producers: Stephen J. Davis, Kevin Belinkoff, Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz

– Production Company/Studio: The Magical Elves, Hasbro Studios

The Big Deal

From the producers of The Biggest Loser and MasterChef comes the biggest treasure hunt America has ever seen. Teams of antique and collectible enthusiasts from across the country compete in an epic scavenger hunt for the chance to win thousands in cash.

– Executive Producers: Eden Gaha and Paul Franklin

– Production Company/Studio: Shine America

 

TBS SCRIPTED 

Bad Parents

Between sexting and house parties, flashing and crushing on teachers, it’s hard to figure out who the kids are and who the adults are in this half hour comedy centered on four couples who must navigate the responsibilities of parenthood while holding on to the last bastions of their youth.

– Executive Producers: Walt Becker, Andrew Panay and Brent Golberg (writer)

Tribeca (working title)

The brainchild of Steve and Nancy Carell, Tribeca is a comedy anchored by heroine Angie Tribeca ,a 10-year veteran of the LAPD’s elite RHCU (Really Heinous Crimes Unit). The show explores an eccentric but brilliant group of people who investigate crime, reveal way too much personal information about themselves and refuse to rest until justice has been served. These dedicated men and women are more than counter-intuitive; they are non-intuitive.

– Executive Producers: Steve Carell and Nancy Carell

– Production Company/Studio: Carousel Television

Dad, Stop Embarrassing Me

Every teenager is embarrassed by his/her parents. But what if your dad decided to descend upon your life in every way? Inspired by Jamie Foxx’s relationship with his 18-year-old daughter, this comedy explores the dynamic between a parent and a child and all the embarrassment that comes with it.

– Executive Producers: Jamie Foxx and Jaime King

– Writer: Marsh McCall & Jamie Foxx

– Production Company/Studio: Foxx/King Entertainment

Dream House (working title)

When a young guy has the chance to buy the house of his dreams, he quickly discovers that the owner, a seemingly feeble old man, is actually a grifter who manages to sell the house and become his roommate.

– Executive Producers: Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman

– Writers: Dottie Zicklin and Eric Zicklin

– Production Company/Studio: Warner Horizon Television

Clipsters

Written by the creators of Will & Grace, this ensemble workplace comedy revolves around an eclectic cast of stylists working in a barbershop in the Boston suburb of Worcester, Mass.

– Executive Producers/Writers: David Kohan and Max Mutchnick

– Production Company/Studio: KoMut Entertainment

TBS USCRIPTED

Me Time with Diablo Cody

Oscar®-winner Diablo Cody, the creator of United States of Tara and Young Adult, brings her signature charm and style to the screen as host of her own show. Tailored around Diablo’s unique perspective on all things pop culture and told in her very own tongue-in-cheek way, Me Time with Diablo Cody will reveal a side of Hollywood and celebs that the public very rarely gets to see.

– Executive Producers: Mark Cronin, Courtland Cox and Diablo Cody

– Production Company/Studio: 51 Minds

Cheeseheads (working title)

Green Bay, Wis., is home to the World Famous Green Bay Packers and their fans: The Cheeseheads. These citizens don’t just bleed green and gold; they eat victory for breakfast. For them, being a Cheesehead is more than just being a fan. It’s a way of life. This show will take viewers into the hilarious subculture through the eyes of a group of proud Wisconsinites as they navigate life in the only way they know how – loud, proud and with lots of beer. For these folks, there is no off-season.

– Executive Producers: Jason Carbone

– Production Company/Studio: Good Clean Fun

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