Turner Teases ‘The Eighties’ CNN Series, ‘The Dunk King’ Reality Show and ‘Major’ TBS Rebrand

Upfronts 2015: “We’re doing a proactive makeover of these networks,” Kevin Reilly says of TBS and TNT

Last Updated: May 13, 2015 @ 4:55 PM

CNN is going, like, totally ’80s.

Turner Broadcasting promised big changes and announced new programming at its upfront presentation to advertisers on Wednesday, including the CNN series “The Eighties,” a “major TBS rebrand,” eight episodes of TNT’s “The Alienist” and the Turner Sports reality series “The Dunk King.”

During the upfronts, TBS and TNT president Kevin Reilly told advertisers, “We are on the move in a big way at TNT and TBS … We’re doing a proactive makeover of these networks.”

A shift in focus is planned for TNT. That shift includes pilot orders for “Will,” a series about a young William Shakespeare from Baz Luhrmann writing partner Craig Pearce; and the family crime drama “Animal Kingdom,” from John Wells and Jonathan Lisco.

Additionally, TNT has greenlit “The Alienist,” a new eight-part drama series from Paramount Television, Anonymous Content, Cary Fukunaga, Eric Roth and Hossein Amini. “The Alienist” is a co-production between TNT Original Productions and Paramount Television. Steve Golin and Rosalie Swedlin will also exec produce.

Based on the bestseller by Caleb Carr, “The Alienist” is an atmospheric psychological thriller set in the gritty world of Gilded Age New York City. After a series of haunting and gruesome murders, psychiatrist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, newspaper reporter John Moore and police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt come together employing emerging disciplines of psychology and early crime investigation techniques to track down one of New York City’s first serial killers.

TBS’s rebrand is expected to begin by the end of the year. Upcoming programs for the network include the comedy “Angie Tribeca” starring Rashida Jones, as well as the comedy “The Detour” from “The Daily Show” veterans Samantha Bee and Jason Jones. Bee and Jones are also developing “a new issues-oriented series” for the network.

As part of the TBS overhaul, Reilly announced two new projects: The ensemble comedy “Wrecked,” from writers Justin and Jordan Shipley; and the alien-abduction comedy pilot “The Group,” from executive producers Conan O’Brien and Greg Daniels (“The Office”).

On the CNN front, the news network will add two new non-scripted shows to its portfolio: “The Eighties,” a follow-up to CNN’s previous series ‘The Sixties” and “The Seventies” from Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman; and “Declassified,” an eight-part series that “delves into true stories of America’s covert operations from around the world.”

Turner Sports had its own announcements to make. One, that the studio team from “Inside the NBA,” which includes host Ernie Johnson, and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal, had signed “multi-year extensions” with Turner Sports.

Turner Sports will also launch “The Dunk King,” a reality show that will premiere on TNT during its coverage of the 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals. The show will feature a basketball-dunking competition with a cash prize of $100,000.

See videos from Turner’s upfront presentation below.

Tony Maglio contributed to this report.