TNT Prepping Diverse Summer Slate of 10 Original Series

TNT this summer will be airing an unprecedented nine original dramas, and 10 series overall, including new projects from Steven Bochco, Michael Bay and the producers of “Homeland.”

In addition to three new series, the cabler’s summer fare includes four of the 15 most popular dramas on basic cable (“Rizzoli & Isles,” “Major Crimes,” “Falling Skies” and “Perception”).

Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, said he hopes the net’s summer slate points to the quality, variety and stability of the network’s programming.

“It’s a wonderful mix of old and new partners we’re working with … people known for making quality television,” Wright told Variety. “This really helps us burnish the brand.”

The diverse summer slate underscores the evolution of that brand, which not too long ago was driven almost entirely by crime shows like “The Closer.”

“We love our crime dramas, but we’re now programming in several genres… crime, mystery, suspense, action adventure,” he said. “They (the programs) are all designed to deliver a similar experience to the audience. It’s kind of a nice moment and evolution of a network to where it’s one network seven days a week.”

The summer lineup kicks off Monday, June 9, with Mary McDonnell-fronted series “Major Crimes,” which will air at 9 p.m. and lead into newcomer “Murder in the First.” The show, starring Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson, focuses on one case across an entire season and was created by Bochco.

On Tuesday, June 17, Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander are back for a fifth season of “Rizzoli & Isles.” It will be followed by the third-season premiere of “Perception,” starring Eric McCormack.

As announced earlier this week at SXSW, TNT’s summer action series “The Last Ship” (pictured), from executive producer Bay and starring Eric Dane, will launch Sunday, June 22, at 9. And “Falling Skies,” starring Noah Wyle and produced by Amblin Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg, will return for its fourth season at 10.

TNT’s second wave of dramas will arrive later in the summer, when “Dallas” returns for the second half of its third season; the show is currently airing on Mondays at 9 p.m., and will be back in that timeslot starting Aug. 18.

Closing out the summer lineup an leading into fall, TNT will premiere the new drama “Legends,” from “Homeland” executive producers Howard Gordon and Alexander Cary and “Fringe” co-executive producer David Wilcox. As previ

“Legends” will be followed at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays by Mark Paul Gosselaar-Breckin Meyer drama “Franklin & Bash,” which is entering its fourth season.

In addition, TNT’s crime-investigation series “Cold Justice,” which is currently in its second season, will join the lineup with a run of new episodes.

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