TNT Takes Fight to Networks!
Review by: Sal
TNT is hoping to blow up the idea that a cable channel can't compete with the broadcast networks.
The network is stepping up its original series development in a big way. TNT -- which is home to ad-supported cable's top-rated series, "The Closer" -- has ordered two shows for later this year, and it's developing about a dozen other projects, including its first unscripted shows. The goal, Turner executives say, is to build an all-original lineup on three nights a week (Monday-Wednesday) by 2010.
In a symbolic move, Turner will stage its upfront presentation on May 14, right in the middle of the broadcasters' upfronts. Cable networks usually hold their upfronts in March and April.
"Everyone in the industry realizes the broadcast business has been on a steep decline for years –- this year in particular," says Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "For advertisers, our networks provide an alternative that is getting better and better."
TNT's two new series are "Raising the Bar," a legal drama starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar (" NYPD Blue") and Gloria Reuben ("ER") from producer Steven Bochco ("NYPD Blue," "L.A. Law"); and "Leverage," a Dean Devlin-produced show about a former insurance investigator ( Timothy Hutton, "Kidnapped") who acts as a modern-day Robin Hood with the help of a team of hackers, grifters and thieves.
Among the projects in development are "Truth in Advertising," which stars Tom Cavanagh and Eric McCormack as employees of a big ad firm; a family drama set in 1950s Indiana from the "Hoosiers" team of David Anspaugh and Angelo Pizzo; and a crime drama based on author Tess Gerritsen's novels.
The network is also working on its first slate of unscripted series, including projects from Mark Burnett, Ridley and Tony Scott and the producers of "Behind the Music."