TNT Announces Development on Three New Original Movies, Welcomes High-Profile Talent at Dramatic Upfront Presentation
Stars of TNT�s INTO THE WEST, THE CLOSER and WANTED Attend
Stephen King Talks about Partnership with TNT on Limited Series NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING
Advertisers and Guests Entertained with Live Performance by The Eagles following Upfront
TNT, television�s first network for drama, held its Upfront presentation for advertisers today at Madison Square Garden, announcing development on three new original movies and offering sneak peeks at the network�s upcoming programming. Steve Koonin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for TNT and sister network TBS, hosted the Upfront presentation, with Michael Wright, senior vice president of original programming for TNT, presenting TNT�s originals slate. Taking the stage to talk about their TNT projects were the cast of the network�s six-week television event INTO THE WEST, Kyra Sedgwick of TNT�s original series THE CLOSER and Gary Cole of the TNT�s original series WANTED. In addition, bestselling author Stephen King was on hand to talk about TNT�s limited series NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING. Following the Upfront presentation, advertisers and guests were treated to a live concert by The Eagles.
The Upfront presentations for TNT and sister network TBS opened with an introduction by Mark Lazarus, president of Turner Entertainment Group, who spoke about his vision of a One Television World, in which the dividing lines between broadcast and cable have been permanently erased, allowing all networks to compete for viewers and ad dollars on an equal playing field. "In this One Television World," Lazarus noted, "our distinct brands are resonating more than ever. Our networks have the ability to reach millions of targeted viewers that advertisers crave and touch them on an emotional level, whether it is through the tension of drama on TNT or the release of laughter on TBS."
"TNT�s combination of stellar acquired series and high-profile original productions makes it one of the leading networks on television," said Koonin. "It�s clear we have found a winning formula, as the network celebrates 19 consecutive quarters of growth among key adult demos and continues to attract some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera."
Wright began his presentation of TNT�s original programming by noting, "The fundamental philosophy behind our programming is to work with the best talent. We believe that network executives do not create hit shows; talented directors, writers, actors and producers create them. Our job is to provide a supportive environment where they can succeed."
Wright then announced three new original movies being ushered into development for TNT, beginning with a sequel to last year�s #1 movie, THE LIBRARIAN, starring Noah Wyle (ER, Pirates of Silicon Valley) and executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day) under his Electric Entertainment banner. In last year�s successful movie, Wyle played Flynn Carson, a brilliant man with 22 academic degrees who is hired to protect the repository of humanity�s greatest secrets, all hidden beneath the monolithic Metropolitan Library.
Also on the development slate is PLEADING GUILTY, based on the bestselling novel by Scott Turow. The story follows Mack Malloy, an ex-cop and recovering alcoholic now serving as a partner in a top-drawer corporate law firm. After one of the firm�s maverick partners suddenly disappears with $5.6 million belonging to the firm�s most important client, the other partners turn to Malloy to track down the culprit before the scandal goes public. Development is being overseen by executive producer Jon Avnet (Boomtown, Fried Green Tomatoes).
TNT�s third original movie in development is AVENGER, based on the bestselling novel by legendary author Frederick Forsyth. This international thriller, executive-produced by Wolfgang Petersen (The Perfect Storm, Troy) for his Radiant Productions, is a co-production between TNT and Warner Bros. Television. The co-executive producer is Rosemary Tarquinio, and the producers are Larry Spiegel and Judy Goldstein. The teleplay is by Alan Sharp. AVENGER is the story of a small-town lawyer and former Special Forces operative who hires himself out to those seeking to avenge the violent murders of loved ones.
Turning his focus to this summer�s three high-profile original projects, Wright began with THE CLOSER, TNT�s original series about a female police detective who moves from Atlanta to Los Angeles to head up a special unit of the LAPD charged with investigating high-profile crimes. Kyra Sedgwick took the stage to talk about the series and her emotional connection to the character she plays. She was joined by fellow cast members JK Simmons, Corey Reynolds, Jon Tenney, Tony Denison, GW Bailey and Robert Gossett. THE CLOSER premieres on TNT Monday, June 13, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).
Also coming this summer to TNT is the original series WANTED, in which an elite team of crime fighters from various federal and local law enforcement agencies comes together to form a covert, undercover strike force. Their mission is to track down Los Angeles� 100 most-wanted fugitives. After introducing a preview of the series, Wright welcomed to the stage series star Gary Cole, who was joined by fellow cast members Rashida Jones, Ryan Hurst, Benjamin Benitez and Josey Scott. WANTED premieres on TNT Sunday, July 31, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT).
Wright also previewed TNT�s previously announced limited series NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING. This series is adapted from King�s anthology of 20 short stories, whose subjects include murderous revenge, dead rock stars, zombies, an evil toy and a wicked stepfather, to name a few. Stephen King talked about his excitement at having these stories brought to life by TNT. NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES is being executive-produced by Bill Haber (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) of Ostar Enterprises, with scripts being penned by such esteemed screenwriters as Mick Garris (The Stand, Sleepwalkers) and Mike Robe (News at Eleven, Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North), Peter Filardi (TNT�s Salem�s Lot, Flatliners), Larry Cohen (Phone Booth, Cellular), April Smith (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter), Richard Christian Matheson (Mobius, Dean Koontz�s Sole Survivor), Alan Sharp (Rob Roy) and Kim LeMasters (The Magicians, Threshold). NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES is set to premiere on TNT in summer 2006.
Wright concluded TNT�s Upfront presentation with a look at TNT�s six-week television event INTO THE WEST, from DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg. This epic saga chronicles the opening of the American West from both the settlers� and Native Americans� points of view and features an all-star cast, including Matthew Settle, Simon R. Baker, Skeet Ulrich, Tonantzin Carmelo, Rachael Leigh Cook, Michael Spears, Daniel Gillies and Irene Bedard, all of whom were on hand to offer their personal insights on the project. Darryl Frank (Taken, Las Vegas) and Justin Falvey (Las Vegas), co-heads of DreamWorks Television, serve as co-executive producers on the project, along with William Mastrosimone (Sinatra, The Burning Season), who also wrote the overall story for the series and the scripts for three of its installments. INTO THE WEST is produced by David A. Rosemont, executive producer of TNT�s Purgatory and Emmy-winning Door to Door. It premieres on TNT June 10.
Turner Network Television (TNT), television�s destination for drama and one of cable�s top-rated networks, offers original movies and limited series, including Into the West, an epic six-week television event from DreamWorks Television and master storyteller and executive producer Steven Spielberg; original recurring series, including the detective drama The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick, and the crime thriller Wanted, with Gary Cole; powerful one-hour dramas, such as Law & Order, Without a Trace, ER, NYPD Blue, Charmed, Judging Amy and Angel; broadcast premiere movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is also available in high-definition.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and a leading provider of programming for the television industry.