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As part of its effort to ramp up original programming, TNT has its sights set on two cop-themed procedural dramas, one from the “CSI” duo of Jerry Bruckheimer and Danny Cannon and the other from Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Avnet.
The cable network is in final negotiations for a pilot order to the untitled Bruckheimer project, written by Doug Jung (“Big Love”) from an original idea by Cannon. The project is a character-based police drama that follows a squad of young undercover LAPD officers as they walk the line between doing their job and being seduced into the easy money and corruption of the crime world.
Cannon is attached to direct. Jung and Cannon will exec produce with Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman. KristieAnne Reed is consulting producer.
This marks the first cable pilot for Bruckheimer, the most prolific TV producer in the business with seven series on CBS.
Meanwhile, TNT has given a pilot order to “Bunker Hill” (formerly known as “Morse Code”), which is set in the Bunker Hill section of Boston and will explore the crime, corruption and deceit there. Boston native Wahlberg stars as Mike Moriarty, who left his Boston home for a covert job overseas and never expected to be back home as a cop protecting the streets he grew up on.
Avnet is directing the pilot, which was written by Walon Green. Wahlberg, Avnet and Green are exec producing.
The projects, both from Warner Horizon, are part of TNT’s strategy to move toward a Monday-Wednesday primetime schedule of all-TNT product by 2010, running fresh episodes and reruns of original TNT scripted and reality series year-round.
“We’re trying to build out three nights a week with shows that are consistent with our strategy of featuring plot-driven storytelling married to strong, relatable central characters,” said Michael Wright, TNT’s top programmer. “Both of these projects are consistent with that.”
Other pilots in contention to join TNT’s current roster of drama series — “The Closer,” “Saving Grace,” “Raising the Bar” and the upcoming “Leverage” and “Trust Me” (formerly “Truth in Advertising”) — include “Men of a Certain Age,” starring Ray Romano; “Time Heals,” starring Jada Pinkett Smith; and “Night and Day,” starring William Fichtner.
The network is expected to make its series picks by the end of the year.
TNT set records with its premiere of “Raising the Bar” on Sept. 1, but the legal drama’s viewership dipped significantly this week without its “Closer” lead-in and against the kickoff of the broadcast networks’ new seasons.
Still, Wright stands behind the decision to give “Bar” an early second-season pickup.
“We believe it’s a good show that’s getting better every week and that it works on the network,” he said. “It so overperformed our expectations initially, but it hasn’t fallen off from where we expected it to be. No one is happy that it dropped, but we absolutely believe in the show and expect it to grow.”
Bruckheimer is repped by CAA. Jung is repped by UTA and New Wave Entertainment. Cannon and Green are repped by ICM. Wahlberg is repped by IFA and Rain Management Group. Avnet is repped by CAA and attorney Tara Kole.
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