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
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.