The deck shuffling has begun at WarnerMedia.
The company used its upfront presentation Wednesday to announce that TNT’s long-gestating Snowpiercer adaptation would move to the formerly comedy-focused TBS as the latter expands into drama. Additionally, TBS has set a spring 2020 debut — after March Madness — for Snowpiercer and renewed the postapocalyptic drama starring Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs for a second season. The series has now had two networks, two showrunners and two pilot directors.
“Snowpiercer is the perfect show to kick off TBS’ entry into dramas with intricate storytelling, stunning visuals and first-class acting,” TBS and TNT GM Brett Weitz said. “We believe in the longevity of this series and that audiences will be amazed by the fantastical world that brings to life such relevant social, political and environmental issues.”
The decision to move Snowpiercer to TBS arrives four years after the drama was picked up to pilot at TNT and as new corporate parent WarnerMedia is making its mark on its new brands. Additional information about TBS expanding into drama and the why of it all is expected to be announced Wednesday. Snowpiercer becomes the latest series to jump networks in the former Turner-owned cabler’s suite of networks. Unscripted game shows Drop the Mic and Joker’s Wild recently also moved from TBS to TNT as the bar that differentiates both networks continues to blur.
Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl that TNT and TBS originals — which include dramas Animal Kingdom and Claws and comedies The Detour, Search Party, The Last OG and Miracle Workers — could launch on WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming platform before making their linear debut or air exclusively on the DTC.
As for Snowpiercer, the series — which was poised to launch in summer 2019 — is based on the 2013 film starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. It is set seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland and centers on the remnants of humanity, who inhabit a gigantic, perpetually moving train that circles the globe. Josh Friedman (Sarah Connor Chronicles, War of the Worlds) developed the drama, which was first put in development in 2015. It was picked up to pilot at TNT in November 2016 and ordered to series in January 2018 — without Friedman, who said he was fired because the network wanted a more compliant showrunner. It marked the latest time that TNT president Kevin Reilly has parted ways with Friedman or one of his projects. During his tenure as programming president at Fox, Reilly passed over Friedman’s own pilot take on Locke and Key and canceled his drama The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Orphan Black co-creator Graeme Manson was tapped in February 2018 to take over as showrunner on the drama. A few months later, Friedman blasted his successor’s etiquette when Manson failed to get in touch with him before taking over. Original pilot director Scott Derrickson (It) subsequently quit and ripped Manson’s “radically different vision.”
Alison Wright (The Americans) co-stars alongside Rowan Blanchard, who has been promoted to series regular for season two.