TNT unveils 11 original series
Spielberg drama coming in 2011; projects with Foxx, CheadleNEW YORK -- TNT on Wednesday unveiled 11 original series for the 2010-2011 TV season and announced projects in development with such big-name talent as Don Cheadle, Jamie Foxx, Mark Gordon, Mark Burnett, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Steven Bochco and Dean Devlin.
This summer, TNT will air seven new or returning originals. New shows "Memphis Beat" with Jason Lee and "Rizzoli & Isles" with Angie Harmon are joining "The Closer," "Saving Grace," "Dark Blue," "Leverage," and "Hawthorne." Later this year, "Men of a Certain Age" returns.
In mid- 2011, the network will debut a Steven Spielberg sci fi drama starring Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood, which the network announced last year and has now titled "Fallen Skies." "Southland" also returns for a new season next year. Plus, the network has in recent days picked up buddy lawyer series "Franklin & Bash." starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer.
Among TNT's development shows are:
* An untitled Don Cheadle medical show:
With Cheadle as an executive producer, it focuses on 1971 Los Angeles, where a group of idealistic doctors open an urgent-care clinic in hopes of upholding the values that inspired them to become doctors.
Based on the life of cartoonist, writer and part-time private detective Robert Graysmith (author of "Zodiac"). Ridley Scott is executive producer.
* Green Detective:
Steven Bochco and Jonathan Abrahams follow a quirky environmentalist who seeks the truth as an insurance adjuster.
* Brain Trust:
From Dean Devlin (TNT's "Leverage") and Marco Schnabel (TNT's "The Librarian"). The project centers on an old-fashioned (and recently demoted) detective who teams with four brilliant but socially awkward academics to solve crimes.
* Miss Philly:
Executive producer/writer Jamie Foxx and others explore the pristine suburbs and urban war zones of Philadelphia, where the mayor has hired the first African-American police commissioner. "She finds herself handling more than she ever expected," TNT says.
* Dear God:
Executive producers Mark Gordon, Mark Burnett, Roma Downey ("Touched by an Angel") and Deborah Spera ("Army Wives," "Criminal Minds") and writer/executive producer Joel Fields ("Rizzoli & Isles") look into the dead letters bureau at the U.S. Postal Service, where a team of humanitarians try to help those on the verge of losing their faith by answering their letters to God.
"TNT's ongoing success is based on working with great talent," said Michael Wright, executive vp, head of programming, for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies.
TNT was joined by fellow Turner network TBS Wednesday in their upfront presentation. For TBS, Conan O'Brien was the big buzz name in town. His late-night show on TBS kicks off Nov. 8, the network said. It also confirmed animated "Neighbors from Hell" from DreamWorks Animation And Fox Animation and Ice Cube's "Are We There Yet?," which both debut next month, as well as the return of "My Boys" and the recently picked up 1980s college comedy and O'Brien lead-in "Glory Daze."
TBS has the following three one-hour scripted series in development:
* The Wedding Band:
Writers Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle ("South Park") and executive producer Mike Tollin ("Wild Hogs," "Smallville") are working on a comedy about four friends who play in a wedding band.
* The Rabbit Factory:
From executive producer/writer Alan Loeb ("Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps") and executive producer Steven Pearl ("The Beast") the show follows the detective team of recently widowed Mike Lomax and recently married Terry Biggs, characters from a book series by Marshall Karp.
* The Catch:
Executive producer/writer Vic Levin ("Mad About You") and executive producer Chris Albrecht focus on a widower who re-enters the world of dating and learns that he is quite the catch.
TBS also is developing these animated series:
* Good and Evel:
Executive producer/writer Glenn Eichler ("The Colbert Report," "Beavis & Butt-Head") with Stanley Tucci's and Steve Buscemi's Olive Productions introduce the ultimate dysfunctional family, voiced by Tucci and Buscemi. The show centers on Jack Good, a moral, upstanding family man, and his nefarious twin brother, Bo Evel.
* The Black Family:
The project about an interracial family comes from executive producer/writer Ali LeRoi ("Everybody Hates Chris"), executive producer/artist Todd Goldman and executive producers Keenan Ivory, Marlon and Shawn Wayans along with executive producer Rick Alvarez.
Both Time Warner networks once again touted their star power.
"Today, television isn't about broadcast vs. cable," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "It's about brands and premium content. It's about the art and science of creating great television."
The event once again was star-studded with appearances by O'Brien, Lopez, "Neighbors from Hell" voice stars Will Sasso and Molly Shannon, Ice Cube and his "Are We There Yet?" colleagues, the "Leverage" cast, Kyra Sedgwick, Harmon, Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith, stars of "Franklin & Bash" Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer and Malcolm McDowell, as well as Dylan McDermott and "Men of a Certain Age" crew Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula, among others.
One of the most-buzzed about videos at the event was an early trailer for next summer's "Fallen Skies," which called it the television event of the year. Referencing their past work on "ER" and "Terminator," Wyle and Bloodgood quipped that they had had weird dreams about working in a hospitals and fighting killer robots. "In one dream, one of those robots turned out to become Governor of California," Goodblood quipped.
Several stars also joked about industry feuds, trends and issues.
For example, the "Southland" cast lauded TNT for focusing on growing the show's audience, while other networks...well, they didn't name names, but started humming the famous NBC logo sound cue.
McDowell at one point was interrupted by his younger "Franklin & Bash" co-stars only to deadpan: "That's the only demographic that counts anyway."
Romano said to advertisers they should stay with his show or join it, even though "I know we're a little older and past the demo." He promised though that the show would keep its hand on the pulse, quipping about an upcoming 3D episode and a Braugher cross-over with "Glee."