CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association began its winter press tour this week in which the various broadcast and cable networks talk about their upcoming plans to the nation's top critics and entertainment reporters.
Here's a breakdown of the highlights of TNT's presentation (via press release):
Turner Broadcasting To Launch High-Def, High-Drama TNT Network in May 2004
Broadest Range of Dramatic Program in HDTV Format to Include Series, Sports, Movies and Originals
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.) is taking Turner Network Television (TNT), one of television's leaders in delivery of adults 18-49 and 25-54 in prime and total day, into the HDTV arena with the launch of TNT-HD in May 2004, it was announced today by Mark Lazarus, president of Turner Entertainment Group. The HDTV simulcast of TNT will offer viewers the broadest range of dramatic programming in HDTV format ever assembled, including series, sports, movies and TNT Originals.
"With the launch of TNT-HD, we are sending television into a new dimension," said Lazarus. "Top-rated TNT has an incredible array of successful dramatic programming � from Law & Order and NBA coverage to award-winning TNT Originals and blockbuster movies � giving the network an unprecedented combination of programming that is ideally suited to the HDTV format. TNT-HD means more than just high-def. It means high drama."
"Over the years, Turner Broadcasting has offered multiple high-tech initiatives, including VOD, broadband and HDTV, always pushing to expand the scope of its activities in the new technology sector," said Andrew Heller, president of domestic distribution for TBS, Inc. "The HDTV platform adds value for our distribution partners and our customers by offering them the kind of high-profile, dramatic programming that has made TNT a television leader in an environment that heralds the future of television."
In February 2003, TBS, Inc. tapped into the HDTV market by offering TNT�s coverage of the NBA All-Star Game in high-definition. The company will repeat that success with the NBA All-Star Game in February 2004, leading up to the May launch of TNT-HD during TNT�s coverage of the NBA Western Conference Finals.
Among TNT-HD�s other HDTV offerings will be the network�s eagerly anticipated dramatic series The Grid, starring Dylan McDermott (The Practice, Wonderland) and Julianna Margulies (ER, Evelyn), set to premiere in summer 2004. The series from TNT and the BBC, produced in conjunction with Fox Television Studios and Carnival Films, explores both sides of the escalating war on terror. Additional programming to be offered in HDTV will be announced at a later date.
For 2003, TNT placed #1 for ad-supported cable among adults 18-49 and 25-54 in both prime and total day, as well as among households and persons 2+ in prime.
Chris Noth Goes Undercover in TNT�s Unconventional Original Film BAD APPLE, Premiering Monday, Feb. 16
Colm Meaney, Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Patrick, Dagmara Dominczyk and Elliott Gould Also Star
An undercover FBI agent finds himself knee-deep in double-crossing wiseguys and caught up in an unconventional love story in the Turner Network Television (TNT) Original movie BAD APPLE, starring Golden Globe nominee Chris Noth (Sex and the City, TNT�s Caesar), Golden Globe nominee Colm Meaney (The Snapper), Oscar� winner Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King), Robert Patrick (Charlie�s Angels: Full Throttle), Dagmara Dominczyk (The Count of Monte Cristo) and Oscar� nominee Elliott Gould (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice). Noth also serves as executive producer with Daniel H. Blatt (TNT�s Kissinger and Nixon and The Virginian), Lorenzo Minoli (TNT�s Caesar) and Jan Korbelin. The film is directed by Adam Bernstein (Scrubs, Ed) with a teleplay by Howard Korder (Stealing Sinatra), based on the novel by Anthony Bruno. BAD APPLE premieres Monday, Feb. 16, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT), exclusively on TNT.
BAD APPLE combines distinctive action, characters and dialogue in a story about two FBI agents, Mike Tozzi (Noth) and Cuthbert Gibbons (Meaney), trying to bring down a loan-sharking business run by the mob. Things become increasingly intense after a series of crosses and double-crosses leave both agents at the mercy of their targets. But that doesn�t prevent the sexual tension from heating up, as one of the agents (Noth) gets tangled up with his informant�s sister.
Tozzi and Gibbons make their long-awaited screen debut in BAD APPLE, a fast-paced drama with dark comedic overtones. Author Bruno�s books have been praised for their crackling dialogue and humorously off-kilter characters and situations. Star and executive producer Noth describes Bruno�s story as "a fresh look at an old genre. What mostly struck me about the story was the kind of organic way he let the humor come out of the characterization � the way the characters speak, the way they look at the world. It was just too irresistible not to try to give it a go."