Turner Entertainment Networks Offers Dynamic Programming Slate, Big Stars and Innovative New Options for Advertisers
Turner Unveils TVinContext�, a Groundbreaking Ad System that will Link Scenes in Entertainment Programs with Related Content in Ads
Upfront Presentation Highlights Extensive Programming and Development Plans for Turner's Three Ad-Supported Cable Networks: TNT, TBS and truTV
Talented Producers, Writers and Actors are Working with Turner, Including George Clooney, Steven Bochco, Mark Burnett, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Dean Devlin, Ray Romano, Donnie Wahlberg, Jon Avnet, Russell Simmons, Joey "Run" Simmons, William H. Macy and Jamie Foxx
Turner Entertainment Networks � home of TNT, TBS and truTV � presented a bigger-than-ever programming lineup at a presentation for advertisers today in New York. Turner, which for the first time staged its Upfront event during the same week as broadcasters, also revealed a new advertising innovation called TVinContext�. The system promises to boost the power of TV ads by pairing them with related program content.
The introduction of TVinContext is part of Turner's best-in-class focus on creating new products and services. It arrives as the company's cable networks continue to grow as alternatives to traditional broadcasters. "The combined strength of Turner's portfolio of networks makes our company unique in television," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "We are rivals to broadcasters in every way. Our solid brands reach huge audiences and offer quality programs. Our focus on valuable, new offerings like TVinContext also shows that Turner is staying ahead of the game."
David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting Sales and Turner Sports, said the company's entertainment networks provide must-have opportunities for advertisers. "At Turner Entertainment Networks, we have solid brands, wide reach, dynamic programming and innovative promotions," Levy said. "Our strong, branded entertainment portfolio presents an excellent opportunity for advertisers, with expansive reach and ratings, as well as diverse audiences."
Turner used its Upfront presentation to reveal TVinContext, which has been in development for more than a year. TVinContext promises to be the first large-scale system that combines the precise placement possible in digital advertising with the world of television. The initiative includes the examination and cataloging of thousands of scenes from Turner's vast library of films and TV series, plus the custom matching of advertising content to place spots adjacent to relevant scenes. If a movie features a scene about marriage, Turner will be able to place an ad in the next commercial break for a related product, such as wedding rings. A movie scene in a caf� could be followed by an ad for coffee.
For advertisers, the benefit is that when ads are shown in this kind of context, spots are likely to be more effective. Turner's extensive research � coupled with findings from ad agencies, clients and others � points to the value of what is known as contextual advertising.
"TVinContext allows Turner to deliver a new, custom solution for advertisers to better engage and creatively thread their message to consumers," said Linda Yaccarino, executive vice president and general manager of Turner Entertainment Ad Sales and Marketing. "Turner is using its great resources to offer clients a service that is valuable and more unique than anything else in the marketplace. TVinContext is an ideal way for advertisers to maximize their return on investment."
TVinContext initially will be available to a small number of clients, with the first placements in the fall.
TNT Programming and Development Plans
TNT has enjoyed great success with its original series, including THE CLOSER and SAVING GRACE, both of which return with new episodes in July. By 2010, TNT expects to offer original programming Mondays through Wednesdays in primetime. To reach this important goal, the network is working on an extensive lineup of new series. Today, TNT unveiled development plans for several new, scripted dramas:
DELTA BLUES (working title) tells the tale of an outstanding but unusual Memphis cop: an Elvis impersonator who lives at home with his mother. DELTA BLUES comes to TNT from Warner Horizon Television and SmokeHouse and is executive-produced by George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Grant Heslov (Good Night, and Good Luck), Abby Wolf-Weiss, Liz Garcia and Josh Horto. The series is written by Garcia and Horto.
MORSE CODE (working title) is a crime drama about a young war hero/Drug Enforcement Administration officer who works in his hometown of Boston. The pilot is from Warner Horizon Television and is expected to star Donnie Wahlberg (Boomtown). It will be produced by Wahlberg, Jon Avnet (Boomtown, The Starter Wife) and Walon Green (Law & Order, ER), with Green writing and Avnet anticipated to direct.
UNTITLED JOEL SURNOW PROJECT is a fast-paced, gritty drama about the life of an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The pilot is being executive-produced and written by Joel Surnow (co-creator of 24) and Todd Robinson.
ANGEL CITY (working title) features six cops in three cars during one shift, in the spirit of such classic dramas as Adam-12 and Hill Street Blues. The show, conceived by Los Angeles police officer Will Beall, will be written by Beall and Barry Schindel (Law & Order) and directed by Steve Schill (Dexter). ANGEL CITY comes to TNT from Mandalay Television.
TOUGH TRADE is a dramatic but humorous look at the Nashville music scene. The show, which focuses on a family of country stars who live like the lyrics to a country song, comes to TNT from Lionsgate Television. It is written by novelist Chris Offutt and executive-produced by Offutt, Sean Furst and Bryan Furst.
UNTITLED ROB ULIN PROJECT is a quirky yet authentic family drama in the mold of Little Miss Sunshine. It is is executive-produced by Rob Ulin (Roseanne, Malcolm in the Middle).
As previously announced, TNT has greenlit three new series that will debut later this year or in early 2009:
RAISING THE BAR is a new legal drama series from Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue). The series comes to TNT from ABC Studios and stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar (NYPD Blue), Gloria Reuben (ER) and Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle).
LEVERAGE is an action-packed drama series starring Oscar� winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People, Nero Wolfe) and executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT's The Librarian movie franchise) and John Rogers (Transformers). The series comes to TNT from Electric Entertainment.
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING stars Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) and Tom Cavanagh (Ed). The series comes to TNT from Warner Horizon Television. It is executive-produced by Greer Shephard, Michael M. Robin, Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny (all of TNT's The Closer) and written by Baldwin and Coveny.
TNT has ordered a pilot for this scripted drama, as previously announced:
MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE, starring Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond), focuses on three middle-aged best friends. The pilot will be written and produced by Romano and his collaborator, Mike Royce. TNT Originals will serve as the studio.
TNT is also branching into unscripted dramas. Episodes have already been ordered for one series:
WEDDING DAY is a series in which deserving couples are given the wedding of their dreams. The series is from Mark Burnett Productions and DreamWorks Television, with Mark Burnett (Survivor), Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey and Janelle Fiorito (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) serving as executive producers.
As previously announced, several other unscripted dramas are in development (pilots have already been ordered or produced for the first three listed):
SCOTT FREE'S CRIMES OF THE CENTURY (working title) examines incidents that both shocked and fascinated the nation and were windows on the times in which they were committed. The show comes from Scott Free Productions and is executive-produced by Ridley Scott (Gladiator), Tony Scott (Numb3rs), Skip Chaisson (Domino) and David Zucker (Phone Booth).
BEHIND THE DRAMA is a series of documentaries about the little-known stories of great films, TV dramas and top actors. The series is executive-produced by Gay Rosenthal (Behind the Music).
SHADOW OF A DOUBT, a series executive-produced by Star Price (The Amazing Race), introduces and solves a new mystery each week.
HEROES AMONG US (working title) is inspired by a People magazine series that follows the stories of everyday men and women. The show is from Time Inc. Studios, with Jim Czamicki, Larry Hackett and Paul Speaker serving as executive producers.
TNT's numerous other projects in development include the previously announced GENIE CHRONICLES, GENERATIONS, TECHNOPHOBIA and LEAN ON ME, along with an untitled project from Angelo Pizzo and collaborator David Anspaugh and an untitled project based on characters created by author Tess Gerritsen.
TBS Programming and Development Plans
TBS continues to enjoy strong ratings growth, thanks to the network's lineup of fan favorites like Family Guy, The Office and My Name is Earl, along with original series that include FRANK TV, THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW, MY BOYS and 10 ITEMS OR LESS. TBS announced today that it is renewing 10 ITEMS OR LESS. The network previously revealed plans to renew its other original series.
TBS also announced today that it is ordering 26 additional episodes of Tyler Perry's HOUSE OF PAYNE. The series comes to TBS from Debmar-Mercury and was created by Perry, who directs every episode. TBS initially ordered 100 episodes of HOUSE OF PAYNE, which debuted in summer 2007 and returns with new episodes in June. HOUSE OF PAYNE ranks as ad-supported cable's #1 original sitcom of all time.
TBS has emerged as a powerful youth network, with a median age of 33 in primetime in the first quarter of this year. Prior to the 2004 rebranding of TBS as "very funny," the network's median age was 40.
Today, TBS announced development plans for three new, scripted comedy series:
UNTITLED WILLIAM H. MACY/STEVEN SCHACHTER PROJECT is a single-camera, half-hour comedy series that comes to TBS from Sony Pictures Television. It is written and executive-produced by William H. Macy (Fargo, TNT's Door to Door) and Steven Schachter (Door to Door). Schachter will direct the pilot, while Macy will star.
UNTITLED HERVEY/SIMMONS PROJECT is a primetime, scripted comedy pilot, executive-produced by Russell Simmons (co-founder of Def Jam Recordings), Stan Lathan (The Steve Harvey Show) and Winifred Hervey (The Steve Harvey Show). The series stars Joey "Run" Simmons (of Run-DMC), who also serves as a producer, and is written by Hervey.
NATIONAL BANANA ALREADY IN PROGRESS (working title) is a late-night comedy sketch show being executive-produced by Jerry Zucker (Airplane!, My Best Friend's Wedding).
The network previously announced development of these scripted comedy series:
UNTITLED DAVE CAPLAN PROJECT is executive-produced by Dave Caplan (The Drew Carey Show) and Original Film's Neal Moritz (The Fast and the Furious, I Am Legend) and Vivian Cannon (Thief). The project comes to TBS from Sony Pictures Television.
UNTITLED LATE-NIGHT HENSON SKETCH SHOW features the signature puppetry style of The Jim Henson Company and is executive-produced by Brian Henson and Lisa Henson.
UNTITLED ROBERT TOWNSEND SHOW is a sketch/variety show from writer/star/director Robert Townsend (The Five Heartbeats) and executive-produced by Townsend and Jerry Offsay (Eight Men Out).
TBS also is developing late-night comedy series, including these newly announced today:
UNTITLED BUNIM/MURRAY PROJECT is a late-night comedy/reality show that takes a group of middle-aged men back to their fraternity days. It is executive-produced by Jonathan Murray (The Real World) and Gil Goldschein.
UNTITLED JAMIE FOXX/MARCUS KING PROJECT is a late-night sketch and improvisational show executive-produced by Jamie Foxx (Ray, The Jamie Foxx Show) and his longtime collaborator, Marcus King.
TOP TEN (working title) is a late-night show that pits comedians against each other. The show is executive-produced by Mad Cow Productions and Madeleine Smithberg (co-creator of The Daily Show).
truTV Programming and Development Plans
truTV � the latest addition to Turner's stable of networks � successfully re-launched in January, when the truTV brand took the place of the former Court TV. truTV set ratings records in the first quarter and continues to attract a growing audience. The network is adding to its strong lineup of original series, including the following, all previously announced:
PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE (working title) focuses on the challenging life of being a school administrator. The project comes to truTV from Leftfield Pictures.
BLACK GOLD is an exciting new series about the risks and rewards of oil drilling from executive producer Thom Beers (Deadliest Catch). BLACK GOLD premieres June 18.
SKI PATROL gets viewers up-close and personal with men and women who work in some of the most extreme environments in the country. SKI PATROL will feature individual episodes produced separately by Bunim/Murray Productions (The Real World) and Varuna Entertainment (Trick My Truck).
MAN VS. CARTOON features a crack team of scientists, engineers and mad inventors who investigate whether inventions inspired by cartoons will work in real life. The series comes to truTV from Warner Horizon Television and is executive-produced by Pilgrim Films and Television's Craig Piligian (Dirty Jobs).
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.