[05/01/03 - 12:00 AM]
Cable Upfront Presentations: TBS and Tnt
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Turner Broadcasting unveiled its 2003-04 season plans for cable channels TBS and TNT on Tuesday in a presentation to the advertising community.

Here's a rundown of what was announced by Steve Koonin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for TNT and TBS Superstation, at the network�s upfront in New York (descriptions are taken from the company's press releases).


Turner Network Television (TNT), the destination for drama, is a Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. 24-hour advertiser-supported service. TNT, basic cable�s reigning 2002 demo king in prime for adults 18-49 and 25-54, is cable�s only network combining award-winning original films; broadcast premieres; powerful one-hour dramas, such as "Law & Order," "ER," "NYPD Blue," "The X-Files" and "Charmed," with "Judging Amy" and "Angel" joining in 2003; and championship sports coverage including NASCAR, the PGA and the British Open and the NBA.


CAESAR (August 2003) - Jeremy Sisto ("Six Feet Under") plays the title role in CAESAR, an epic two-part miniseries, set to premiere in August of 2003, that takes a sweeping look at the remarkable life of the celebrated Roman general and statesman, Julius Caesar. Shot on location in Prague, CAESAR�s stellar cast also includes Academy Award�-nominated actor, the late Richard Harris ("The Field"), Academy Award�-winning actor Christopher Walken ("The Deer Hunter," "Pulp Fiction"), Golden Globe-nominated actor Chris Noth ("Sex and the City") and Valeria Golino ("Rain Man"). Uli Edel (TNT�s "The Mists of Avalon" and "Purgatory"; "The Little Vampire") directs from a script by Peter Pruce and Craig Warner. Lorenzo Minoli ("Jesus," TNT�s Emmy Award-winning "Joseph"), Guido de Angelis ("The Magnificent Ambersons") and Russell Kagan ("Jesus," "Nicholas� Gift") are the executive producers.

WILDER DAYS (October 2003) - Multiple Emmy Award-winner Peter Falk ("Columbo") is set to star in WILDER DAYS, a Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation, which will premiere in October of 2003. WILDER DAYS will be produced by MAGNA Global Entertainment and Viacom Productions with Emmy�-nominee Craig Anderson ("The Piano Lesson") serving as executive producer. The script is by Jeff Stockwell ("The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys"). In WILDER DAYS, the joys and heartbreaks of family life unfold as three generations embark on an odyssey led by a cantankerous grandfather named James "Pop Up" Morse (Falk). With his health failing, Morse sets out to show his grandson the truth behind his tall tales about the wreck of a circus boat on which he once worked. But with the boy�s father determined to stop them, the adventure takes an unexpected turn that leads the family members to a new understanding of one another.

THE GOODBYE GIRL (TBA) - Two-time Emmy-winner Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond") and Golden Globe nominee Jeff Daniels ("The Hours," "Gods and Generals") will star in Neil Simon�s THE GOODBYE GIRL, a contemporary turn on Academy Award�-nominated and Emmy Award-winning writer Neil Simon�s classic film. Simon will write and executive-produce the two-hour film, which is a co-production between Warner Bros. Television and TNT. Ron Ziskin ("Stealing Sinatra") and Dave Collins ("Stealing Sinatra") will serve as executive producers along with Simon, and Don Safran ("The Night of the Iguana" � 2003) will co-executive-produce. A romantic dramedy, THE GOODBYE GIRL explores the growing relationship between a dumped-on divorcee (Heaton) and an aspiring actor (Daniels) who become unwilling tenants in the same New York city apartment.

BAD APPLE (TBA) - In the spirit of Out of Sight and Midnight Run, BAD APPLE will star Golden Globe nominee Chris Noth ("Sex and the City," TNT�s upcoming "Caesar") as hard-boiled FBI agent Mike Tozzi in an unconventional tale of the underbelly of New York�s criminal world. Noth will also executive-produce, along with Daniel H. Blatt (TNT�s "Kissinger and Nixon" and "The Virginian"). BAD APPLE is based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Bruno, writer of the popular "Bad" series of novels. Howard Korder ("Stealing Sinatra") will write the screenplay adaptation. BAD APPLE is the first in what is expected to be a TNT movie wheel based on Bruno�s books featuring Noth.

THE WINNING SEASON (TBA, 2004) - In the tradition of great baseball features, TNT and Johnson & Johnson present the heartwarming tale of a 12-year old baseball fan who finds a very rare Honus Wagner baseball card in mint condition in THE WINNING SEASON (working title), a Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation set for premiere in 2004. Soon, the boy discovers that not only is the card worth millions, it is also a portal through which he can travel back in time to befriend the baseball legend and Hall-of-Famer Wagner.

STEPHEN KING'S SALEM'S LOT (TBA, 2004) - Rob Lowe, Rutger Hauer, James Cromwell ("Babe"), Andre Braugher ("Homicide"), Donald Sutherland ("Space Cowboys," TNT�s "The Hunley") and Samantha Mathis (TNT�s "The Mists of Avalon") are set to star in Stephen King�s SALEM�S LOT, an original dramatic miniseries event set to premiere in 2004. TNT and Warner Bros. Television will co-produce the four-hour miniseries, with Mark Wolper (TNT�s "The Mists of Avalon," "The Thornbirds") executive-producing for The Wolper Organization, and Jeff Hayes executive-producing for Coote/Hayes. Mikael Salomon ("Band of Brothers") will direct from a script by Peter Filardi ("Flatliners," "The Craft"), based on Stephen King�s best-selling novel. In SALEM�S LOT, King�s vicious take on the perfect All-American community, Lowe will play Ben Mears, a journalist who returns to his hometown to research the mysteries surrounding the memories that have haunted him since his childhood. The close-held secrets of smalltown life turn into unimaginable terror when a mysterious stranger arrives in town and ultimately reveals himself to be a vampire looking to sink his teeth into a new home.

NIGHT OVER WATER (TBA) - Based on the #1 national best-seller by author Ken Follett, NIGHT OVER WATER is an action-thriller set at the onset of World War II. As England and Germany engage in battle, a group of unwitting passengers board the world�s most luxurious airliner, on its way to neutral America, when they find themselves part of a desperate mission to rescue the pilot�s wife, who has been kidnapped by the Nazis. David Rosemont (Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation "Door to Door," TNT�s "Passing Glory") and Norman Rosemont ("Back to the Secret Garden," "A Knight in Camelot") executive-produce and Ron Parker will co-produce and write the script.

WORD OF HONOR (TBA) - A brilliant corporate executive and devoted family man finds his world threatened when he is accused of a murderous atrocity that occurred 30 years earlier while he was a Lieutenant in Vietnam in Nelson DeMille�s WORD OF HONOR. Now called before a court martial, his family, career and honor hang in the balance with only one person who can clear his name. Based on the spellbinding novel by best-selling author DeMille ("The General�s Daughter"), WORD OF HONOR is a thought-provoking courtroom drama which explores the moral issues of guilt, innocence and culpability in wartime.

Other originals upcoming on the network are SECOND NATURE (June 2003), starring Alec Baldwin, and PRINCE CHARMING (July 2003), starring Martin Short, Christina Applegate and Bernadette Peters.


Upcoming TNT broadcast premiere titles in 2003 include:
"Proof of Life" (June), starring Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan
"Pay It Forward" (July), starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment
"The Wedding Planner" (July), starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey
"Sweet November" (October), starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron
"The Gift" (October), starring Cate Blanchett and Greg Kinnear
"Angel Eyes" (October), starring Jennifer Lopez and James Caviezel
"AntiTrust" (November), starring Ryan Phillippe and Rachel Leigh Cook
"Driven" (November), starring Sylvestor Stallone, Kip Pardue and Burt Reynolds
"Swordfish" (November three-play), starring John Travolta, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman and Don Cheadle
"Along Came a Spider" (December three-play), starring Morgan Freeman

TNT Broadcast premieres for 2004:
"Enemy At the Gates," starring Jude Law, Ed Harris and Joseph Fiennes
"Hard Ball," starring Keanu Reeves and Diane Lane
"Domestic Disturbance," starring John Travolta and Vince Vaughn
"The Others," starring Nicole Kidman
"Ocean�s Eleven" (three-play), starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt
"Panic Room" (three-play), starring Jodie Foster and Forest Whitaker
"Kate and Leopold," starring Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman
"We Were Soldiers," starring Mel Gibson
"John Q," starring Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall and James Woods

TNT also boasts a strong line-up of films making their basic cable premieres on the network, including "G.I. Jane," "What Women Want (three-play)," "Mask of Zorro (three-play), "Three Kings," "Forces of Nature," "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and "Entrapment." Many of these titles will anchor TNT�s "Saturday Night New Classics" and "Weeknight New Classics" line-up.


Championship sports is a key ingredient in TNT�s programming success. Among TNT�s blue-chip franchises are the NBA, with 52 regular season games, exclusive coverage of All-Star Weekend and the All-Star Game (2003 game on TNT is the most-watched basketball game in cable history delivering 10,829,000 persons 2+), more than 40 playoff games and conference finals games (Western Conference Finals in May of 2003); NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series action; and the British Open, PGA Championship and PGA Grand Slam.


TNT features the drama of top specials, including "Christmas in Washington," now entering its 22nd year this December, and the "10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards�" in February 2004.


TBS Superstation, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.�s flagship entertainment network, is watched by more people than any other network, a position it has held for 26 consecutive years. Reaching 88 million households, the Superstation offers viewers a wide mix of programming, including action-packed original movies, groundbreaking original series, hosted movie showcases, world broadcast premieres, popular sitcoms, Major League Baseball and college football. The Superstation's Web site is located at TBSsuperstation.com.


EVIL NEVER DIES (June 2003) - Thomas Gibson ("Dharma & Greg") and Katherine Heigl ("Roswell") star in this story of a widowed cop whose wife�s executed killer has been resurrected by a college professor.

RED WATER (August 2003) - In this suspenseful thriller, a deadly bull shark uses a canal from the Gulf of Mexico to make its way into a freshwater lake, where it terrorizes the inhabitants of a small Louisiana town and the crew members of a drilling barge.

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S THANKSGIVING FAMILY REUNION (November 2003) - In classic National Lampoon style, this holiday comedy follows the Snider family as their plans for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dinner with their newly discovered cousins goes horribly awry.


HOUSE RULES (working title) (Fall 2003) - TBS Superstation and Lowe�s are teaming up for a new reality series that pits three teams of amateur home remodelers against each other in a high-stakes competition. Viewers will get to vote on which team should win the house they�ve renovated.

RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT - TBS Superstation, in a deal with Sony Pictures Television Inc. (SPT), has ordered 11 additional episodes of its popular original series to complete the show's fourth season. Hosted by Dean Cain, "Ripley�s Believe It Or Not!" will continue to air on the Superstation Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET)/10 p.m. (PT).


DINNER & A MOVIE (Mondays) - TBS Superstation�s first hosted movie showcase is set to return for a ninth season, with hosts Paul Gilmartin and Lisa Kushell keeping things cooking in the kitchen thanks to movie-themed recipes created by chef Claud Mann. In addition, Mann�s latest cookbook, featuring 100 of his Dinner & a Movie favorite recipes, along with behind-the-scenes movie trivia and clever cooking tips, is set to hit bookstores later this year.

THE MAN MADE MOVIE (Tuesdays) - This fix-it movie showcase, which for the past three years has been creating the ultimate guy house in Atlanta, is moving to Seattle, where host Chad Taylor will help bring a 1913 Craftsman house back to its original glory after years of neglect. Lowe�s has signed on again as presenting sponsor of the show.

THE MOVIE BREAK (Thursdays) - This showcase, which wraps the latest entertainment news around hot movie titles, features hosts Lesley Ann Machado and Mike Siegel. During this, its first season, the show has already begun attracting top movie talent, like Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, Jason Lee, Morgan Freeman and Jamie Kennedy, as well as such memorable musical performers as singer-songwriter Rhett Miller, hip-hop artists Souljahz, singer-songwriter Franky Perez and crooner Michael Bubl� in The Movie Break�s �Sound Check� segment.

MOVIE & A MAKEOVER (Saturday and Sunday mornings) - Since its debut in February, TBS Superstation�s newest hosted movie showcase has already become one of television�s top shows in its timeslot among young women. Hosted by Mia Butler, MOVIE & A MAKEOVER highlights a variety of different makeovers, from stunning fashion and beauty looks to dramatic home projects.

BIG PLAY MOVIE (Saturdays during college football season) - Last year�s The Movie Bowl becomes Big Play Movie as the series prepares to enter its second year following college football on TBS Superstation. Each week during the post-game movie, the hosts will be on the road visiting Big 12 and Pac 10 campuses, bringing along plenty of behind-the-scenes info on the movie, comments from students and a view of the campus itself.


"Bait" (May 4, 2003), starring Jamie Foxx and Kimberly Elise.
"The Patriot" (June 8, 2003), starring Steven Seagal and Camilla Belle.
"Little Nicky" (July 27, 2003), starring Adam Sandler and Harvey Keitel.
"Save the Last Dance" (October 2003), starring Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas.
"Down To Earth" (October 2003), starring Chris Rock and Chazz Palminteri.
"See Spot Run" (October 2003), starring David Arquette and Michael Clarke Duncan.
"Exit Wounds" (November 2003), starring Steven Seagal and DMX.
"Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" (December 2003), starring Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski.
"Rush Hour 2" (Q1 2004), starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (Q2 2004), starring George Clooney, John Turturro and Holly Hunter.
"Rat Race" (Q2 2004), starring Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Seth Green.
"Zoolander" (Q2 2004), starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
"A Knight�s Tale" (Q2 2004), starring Heath Ledger and Rufus Sewell.
"Ghosts of Mars" (Q2 2004), starring Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube and Pam Grier.
"Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" (Q3 2004), starring Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight.
"A Walk To Remember" (Q3 2004), starring Mandy Moore and Shane West.
"Galaxy Quest" (Q4 2004), starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman.
"The Haunting" (Q4 2004), starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson.
"Showtime" (Q4 2004), starring Robert DeNiro, Eddie Murphy and Rene Russo.


SEINFELD - TBS Superstation will be the home of one of the greatest and most popular sitcoms of all time for the next eight years, thanks to a new deal that has secured the rights to the hit series through 2011. Seinfeld currently airs as part of TBS Superstation�s Non-Stop Comedy Block weekdays at 6:30 p.m. (ET)/3:30 p.m. (PT) and 7 p.m. (ET)/4 p.m. (PT), as well as Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (PT) and 8:30 p.m. (ET)/5:30 p.m. (PT).

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (July 2004) - The Emmy-winning CBS comedy starring Ray Romano, is on the slate to join TBS Superstation's #1-rated Non-Stop Comedy Block in July 2004.


THE STEVE HARVEY SHOW - TBS Superstation continues to expand its portfolio of hot, contemporary comedies by adding this hit show to its daytime line-up in October. The Steve Harvey Show stars Harvey as a former R&B star who gives up his wild times to become an inner-city Chicago music teacher.

DAWSON'S CREEK - Currently airing four hours a day (8 a.m.-noon ET) on TBS Superstation, this popular series tracks the story of a group of teenagers from the breezy Massachusetts coastal town of Capeside from high school into college. James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson star. After the season finale on the WB May 14, Dawson�s Creek will air on TBS Superstation weekdays at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. (ET).

  [may 2003]  

· ER (NBC)

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