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Turner To Steer TNT To Edgier Programs

Like the dynamite its moniker suggests, TNT could use a few more explosions – at least in the mind of its corporate owner.

With its ratings down and its recent programs skewing too old for its own executives’ tastes, TNT is getting a makeover. The Time Warner outlet will, going forward, place more emphasis on edgier dramas that provide more thrills, including shows that draw upon action-adventure. mystery, and science fiction. And it will present a slightly new positioning to viewers and advertisers, adding the word “Boom” to its tagline and on-air graphics.

“It’s time to evolve and grow TNT – and that starts with refreshing the brand and evolving our content along with it,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming, for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, in a prepared statement. “All of it is meant to work together to deliver a clear promise to the audience: If you’re in the mood for drama that thrills, turn to TNT.”

The tweak to the popular network’s raison d’être comes after Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeff Bewkes, expressed dissatisfaction with the outlet’s performance. TNT’s shows, Bewkes explained to investors in late April, were drawing too broad an audience and had lost the younger viewers that advertisers covet. The issue, he said, was that rival networks like FX and AMC were running edgier series with more youthful appeal.

Its new tagline, “TNT Drama. Boom” may be the first time the network has used something other than “We Know Drama” since 2001 (though in 2012, TNT began to use graphics that made the word “Drama”  big while reducing the size of its ”TNT’ letters). Use of the word “Boom,” said Wright, “makes a promise to our audience about the kind of emotional, intense, exciting, funny, shocking, sexy and thrilling drama they should expect from TNT.” The new mantra is set to roll out May 19.

The network, which is introducing sci-fi drama “The Last Ship” and  Steven Bochco-produced series “Murder In The First” in June, said it had greenlit two new series for 2015.

Public Morals” is a gritty police drama set in the New York of the 1960s, and stars Edward Burns, who will also produce and direct. The series will also star Michael Rapaport and Elizabeth Masucci and comes from Amblin Television. Executive producers are Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Aaron Lubin. “Proof” stars Jennifer Beals, Matthew Modine and Joe Morton. Beals plays a talented but skeptical surgeon who is challenged by a billionaire to prove whether an afterlife exists. The show is executive produced by Kyra Sedgwick, Rob Bragin, Tom Jacobson, Jill Littman and Alex Graves.




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