Upfronts 2012: TBS, TNT to become “branded video destinations”

Turner-owned nets TBS and TNT are to undergo "a major transformation" over the next two years, execs said at the channels' upfront presentations in New York, evolving from linear TV networks into "branded video destinations."
May 16, 2012

Turner-owned nets TBS and TNT are to undergo “a major transformation” over the next two years, execs said at the channels’ upfront presentations in New York, evolving from linear TV networks into “branded video destinations.”

The news came as the nets also unveiled a host of unscripted series in development. Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, said the transformation strategy “is designed to confront the challenges of an ever-growing media universe by focusing on the strength of our brands, the power of our programming and the ability to deliver branded video content that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere and on any device.”

Among the TNT unscripted series in development, American Troubadours is a reality competition series from American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe and actor Matthew McConaughey, which seeks to discover the best unsigned bar band in America, searching out the singer/songwriter bands that represent “the greatest tradition of rock and roll.”

The series is being made by Nigel Lythgoe Productions and J.K. Livin Foundation, with McConaughey and Anastasia Brown the exec producers.

Elsewhere, Cold Justice comes from Wolf Films (Law & Order) and Magical Elves (Project Runway), and follows former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary as they attempt to crack cold cases. The exec producers are Dick Wolf, Tom Thayer, Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz.

Rivals, from BermanBraun, Promark Productions and Go Go Luckey, is set in the world of thoroughbred horse-racing and exec produced by Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun, Gene Stein, Gary Auerbach and Tina Gazzero; while 24/7: Los Angeles, from Oscar-winner Robert Port (Twin Towers) promises an all-access look at the men and women who protect the streets of Los Angeles.

The latter project is being made by Port Films and the executive producers are Port, Michael Goldstein and Michael Larkin.

Sister network TBS, meanwhile, has two unscripted projects in development. The first is an as-yet-untitled competition game show. It is billed as a “big, unique and physically challenging competition series” and is being developed and exec produced by Jared Hoffman and produced by Alloy Digital’s Generate Studios, which was co-founded by Jordan Levin and Pete Aronson.

TBS has also ordered a pilot presentation of Norm MacDonald is Trending, a talk show from some of the exec producers behind Sports Show with Norm MacDonald and Real Time with Bill Maher.

MacDonald hosts as he and his team of correspondents “sort through the churning mass of pop culture and social media to pull out the funniest, most bizarre and entertaining events.” The exec producers are MacDonald, Marc Gurvitz and Lori Jo Hoekstra.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.