Bochco, Newhart at Turner
Ad biz gets peek at development slateTBS and TNT's development slate features proposed projects that include a courtroom drama created by Steven Bochco, a comedy anthology series hosted by Bob Newhart and a family drama from "The Closer" team of Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin.
The projects were among a presentation made Tuesday by Turner executives to New York's ad community at Midtown Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art. It included presentations on TBS, TNT, Court TV, its broadband site Super Deluxe and Turner Sports. It also said that "The Talisman," a limited series from Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television that will air in 2008, could become a series in 2009.
Bochco, who was behind "Hill Street Blues" and "NYPD Blue" among other series, has an hourlong TNT series in development about former law school classmates who find themselves facing off against each other in court. Bochco is executive producer and co-writer with David Fiege ("Indefensible") of the show and from ABC Television Studios and Steven Bochco Prods. It's so far untitled.
Shephard and Robin, who executive produced TNT's smash "The Closer," are developing with executive producer Michelle Ashford "Mrs. America," a drama about a woman who is an executive and a mother. "Mrs. America" is from Warner Horizon Television.
Three other drama series also are in development at TNT, including: "Leverage," from executive producer Dean Devlin ("The Librarian," "Independence Day") and Electric Entertainment about a six-person team that protects underdogs everywhere; "The Saint," a revamp of the classic 1960s series from executive producer William J. McDonald ("Rome") and producer Jorge Zamacona ("Homicide: Life on the Street"); and "A.D.," a family drama from Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh.
TBS will boost its late-night programming with "Bob Newhart: In Search of Comedy," billed as an anthology series from Newhart, who will host and executive produce. It also has in development "Big Shot," a scripted half-hour sitcom about a teenage NBA player who still lives at home (executive produced by Jamie Foxx, former NBA player Kenny Smith, Adrienne Lopez and Marcus King); and "Uncommon Sense," a half-hour family comedy starring stand-up comedian Larry Miller as a married newspaper columnist with two children. The Sony Pictures Television production is being executive produced and written by Miller and Eileen Conn ("Just Shoot Me").
Turner talked up its returning series including "Closer" on TNT and "My Boys" on TBS, both of which will have new episodes in the summer. It also said its TBS late-night series "10 Items or Less" would return with new episodes in the summer, and said that Jerry Seinfeld has agreed to headline "The Comedy Festival," its weeklong event later this year.
And it highlighted its online offerings, including "Turner Bitcoms," advertiser-sponsored shorts featuring a stand-up comedian riffing on a product (like Double Stuf Oreos); a "Family Guy"-branded community in which users can chat, watch episodes and interact with other content; and TNT is developing what they call "microseries" — 10-20 two-minute episodes that are customized for brands and could evolve into series.
Tuesday's presentation wasn't quite an upfront — which Turner has held in previous years at the New York Armory and the Madison Square Garden Theatre in the late afternoon — but it wasn't quite a simple ad sales pitch. Turner pitched advertisers a little too long — about half of the audience of Madison Avenue ad buyers departed before the presentation ended about 21/2 hours after it started.