January 23, 2014 11:49am PT by Michael O'Connell, Etan Vlessing
'Transporter the Series' Lands at TNT
TNT continues to diversify its drama portfolio, picking up the first two seasons of international drama Transporter: The Series.
An extension of Luc Besson's popular film franchise of the same name, which starred Jason Statham, Transporter follows Frank Martin -- a professional who specializes in delivering people and cargo to and from anywhere in the world. It stars Chris Vance (Rizzoli & Isles) and is produced by Atlantique Productions and QVF Inc.
ANALYSIS: Can TNT Become the New AMC?
Transporter comes to TNT after a successful first-season run in France and several other international territories. It was originally ordered to series in the U.S. by Cinemax back in 2011, but a production hiatus and showrunner change ultimately prompted the cable network to pull out.
"Transporter: The Series is a roller-coaster ride with big-screen action, fantastic locations and an extremely charismatic lead in Chris Vance," said TNT, TBS and TCM president and head of programming Michael Wright. "The Transporter franchise is a proven winner embraced by movie and television viewers around the globe, and we're proud that TNT will become the television home for fans in the United States. Transporter: The Series is a perfect addition to TNT's lineup, as we continue to expand our reach with such action-packed dramas as our upcoming Legends and The Last Ship."
The series will debut on TNT in fall 2014. The network has also committed to air the second season, which goes into production on Feb. 26. An international effort, shooting the second season will take place in Morocco, the Czech Republic and Canada. The first season of the series was shot in Toronto and on location in Europe.
Transporter seems to fit into TNT's new catalog of dramas skewing away from the more standard procedurals. Transporter, Legends and The Last Ship all come on the heels of genre effort Falling Skies, the network's No. 2 show.
"Falling Skies was a test for us," Wright told The Hollywood Reporter in November, "to see if, on Sunday nights, we could take other audiences that were already coming to the network -- specifically for sports and movies but not necessarily transferring to our procedurals -- and bring them to an original series."
TNT's most recent drama debut, miniseries Mob City, debuted to soft ratings.
Transporter: The Series is commissioned in France by M6 and in Canada by The Movie Network and Movie Central. Frank Spotnitz is the new showrunner and EP for the second 12-episode season. "Transporter: The Series is a chance to make a truly international series with incredible action, huge cinematic values and compelling characters,” said Spotnitz.