Upfronts 2014: Turner revamps drama network with more genre, sci-fi programming
TNT used its upfront presentation Wednesday to announce a brand overhaul, designed to target a younger demographic and more even male-female composition.
The network’s new tagline, “TNT Drama. Boom.” adopts a popular word in the younger lexicon, and which it says captures “powerful emotional moments that make for good drama.”
In addition to returning series like “Falling Skies” and “Rizzoli & Isles,” the network presented seven new dramas, including the TV adaptation of the “Transporter” movie franchise. The rest of the slate focuses on more genre fare and sci-fi thrillers, which are a departure from the procedural dramas TNT traditionally aired.
The network also announced eight new scripted series in development, including a presidential assassination mystery from Greg Berlanti and a supernatural thriller based on characters created by Stephen King.
“Public Morals,” from writer-director-producer-star Edward Burns (Saving Private Ryan, The Brothers McMullen), is a gritty, intense crime drama set in the world of the Vice Division of the New York City Police Department in the 1960s. The drama follows Terry Muldoon (Burns), a Public Morals detective trying to maintain control over his tightly ordered world as the city and the times around him are undergoing profound cultural changes. In this serialized cop drama, Muldoon and his team will confront a number of challenges, from keeping a lid on prostitution and gambling rings to being thrust into a deadly turf war that breaks out between the new and old factions of the Irish Mob. Public Morals is inspired by Burns’ own life growing up in a family of cops in a morally ambivalent, very dangerous time. Michael Rapaport (Justified) and Elizabeth Masucci (The Americans) also star in the series, which comes to TNT from Amblin Television and executive producers Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Aaron Lubin.
“Proof” is a serialized supernatural drama starring Jennifer Beals (The L Word, Flashdance), Matthew Modine (And the Band Played On, Weeds) and Joe Morton (Scandal, Terminator 2: Judgment Day). The series follows Dr. Carolyn Tyler (Beals) on a journey toward answering one of life’s greatest mysteries: Is there life after death? A highly trained surgeon, skeptic and believer in hard science, Dr. Tyler is challenged by an eccentric and terminally ill billionaire (Modine) to prove whether there is an afterlife. After exploring stories about hauntings, near-death experiences, past lives and more, Dr. Tyler slowly evolves from hardline skeptic, to doubter and, ultimately, reluctant believer. Proof is executive-produced by The Closer’s Kyra Sedgwick, Rob Bragin, Tom Jacobson, Jill Littman and Emmy winner Alex Graves.
“The Librarians” (Winter 2014)
“Transporter The Series” (Fall 2014)
“Legends” (Premiere: Wednesday, Aug. 13, 9 ET/PT)
“On the Menu” (Fall 2014)
“Wake Up Call” (Fall 2014)
Series in Development
Producers: Wild West Picture Show Productions, Peter Billingsley (Iron Man, Sullivan & Son), Vince Vaughn (Sullivan & Son, Wedding Crashers), Victoria Vaughn (Couples Retreat), Chris Collins (Sons of Anarchy, The Wire)
Writer: Chris Collins (Sons of Anarchy, The Wire)
Logline: When a highly trained, ex-Special Ops soldier uncovers a global cover-up that forces him to go off the grid, he discovers a new purpose helping those who cannot help themselves.
Producers: Invention Film Co, Nicky Weinstock, Scott Winant (True Blood), John Scott Shepherd (Save Me, Life or Something Like It)
Writer: John Scott Shepherd (Save Me, Life or Something Like It)
Logline: This atmospheric, supernatural drama centers on a volatile race of creatures who are committing brutal murders in the Pacific Northwest, and the reluctant FBI investigator who pairs with a female assassin to track them. Breed mixes suspense, excitement and humor to create an exhilarating ride full of unexpected moments and unforgettable characters.
“Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct”
Producers: Donnie Wahlberg (Boston’s Finest), Jonathan Baruch, Rob Wolken
Logline: One of the longest-running crime series ever published, Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series includes 82 novels. This new series centers on Detective Steve Carella and the 87th Precinct as they investigate the toughest cases while juggling their own personal struggles.
Producers: Mark Gordon (Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy), Nick Pepper, Joe Carnahan (The Blacklist), John Glenn (Eagle Eye, The Lazarus Project)
Director: Joe Carnahan (The Blacklist)
Writers: John Glenn (Eagle Eye, The Lazarus Project) and Joe Carnahan
Studio: Sonar Entertainment
Logline: A team is sent back in time from 2027 to 2014 to disrupt a series of events that will lead to a cataclysmic war in the future – but something goes wrong, trapping them in 2014 Manhattan. Cut off from their time and their families, the team must try to complete their unprecedented, high-stakes mission without any help from the future.
Producers: Steve McPherson (Wonder Monkey Entertainment), Gonzague Requillart (La Parisienne D’images), Harley Peyton (Dracula, Friends with Benefits)
Writer: Harley Peyton (Dracula, Friends with Benefits)
Logline: Awakened on a train with no memory of who she is or how she got there and then discovering that a chip has been implanted in her brain to transform her into a powerful human weapon, Kali must embark on a harrowing journey of survival and redemption. She will find herself at the center of two warring teams fighting to control her as she begins the battle to take back her life. Based on a French web series.
Producers: Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Brothers & Sisters), Nick Wootton (Prison Break, NYPD Blue), Alon Aranya (Betrayal, Hostages), Rob Golenberg (Betrayal)
Writer: Nick Wootton (Prison Break, NYPD Blue)
Studio: Warner Horizon
Logline: This conspiracy thriller opens as President Dominic Avery awakens from a 13-month coma. Battered and out-of-office, he realizes that the attempt on his life wasn’t from foreign terrorists. It was a homegrown plan. No longer the President, he uses his Detroit-bred cunning to investigate his own murder attempt, unearthing suspects in the new administration, the wealthy political world and even his own family. President X is an engrossing and intense thriller packed with heart-stopping discoveries.
Producers: James Middleton (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Jaime Paglia (Eureka), Robbie Thompson (Supernatural)
Writer: Robbie Thompson (Supernatural)
Studio: Universal Cable Productions
Logline: Based on characters created by Stephen King, this supernatural thriller centers on The Shop, a mysterious organization that once exploited the pyrokinetic abilities of a young girl named Charlie McGee. Twenty years after bringing the organization to its knees in a blaze of fire, Charlie has been tracked down by one of its former members, Henry Talbot. Talbot introduces Charlie to a group of people just like her, all products of The Shop with their own unique abilities. It turns out The Shop is very much alive, bigger and badder than ever, and its dark experiments are unleashing terrifying new entities on the world. It’s now up to Talbot, Charlie and the rest of the team to find The Shop and destroy it for good.