Not every cable network is looking to set the world on fire with programming that pushes the boundaries of serialized storytelling. TNT and TBS unveiled their development slates today ahead of their upfront presentations and Deadline quoted the networks’ head of programming Michael Wright as saying that, “whatever the form or genre, we’re using what we call the ‘popcorn mindset’ as the guiding principle behind all our development.”
For the network (tagline: “Drama, Period.”), that seems to mean more potential successors for the soon-ending Kyra Sedgwick hit “The Closer,” which is already set with its own spin-off “Major Crimes,” launching in August. “King and Maxwell” and “Lew Archer” will both feature unusual private detectives, while the territory for Steven Bochco’s solving-a-murder-over-a-season procedural sounds unfortunately close to “The Killing.” Apocalypse-at-sea drama “The Last Ship” will, if it gets greenlit, be Michael Bay’s second venture into an ocean-based action series — he’s already working on pirate show “Black Sails” at Starz, his first dabble in televison.
TBS continues a focus on comedy with a scripted slate that includes two projects executive produced by the network’s late-night host Conan O’Brien. “Most Likely” is a comedy penned by “Hot Tub Time Machine” screenwriter Josh Heald about the friendship that springs up between the kid formerly voted “most likely to succeed” and the guy voted “most popular” 10 years after high school. “Zone Lord” is written by Ross Venokur and follows three roommates who realize that an evil (but hip) alien has moved into their apartment building.
TNT Scripted Series in Development
King and Maxwell – Bestselling author David Baldacci’s popular characters Sean King and Michelle Maxwell aren’t your typical pair of private investigators. Both are former secret service agents, and their unique skill set (not to mention their razor-sharp chemistry) often gives them a leg up on both suspects and conventional law enforcement. Baldacci serves as a consultant on the project. Executive Producer: Shane Brennan. Producer: Karen Spiegel and Grant Anderson. Studio: CBS Television Studios.
The Last Ship – In this exciting action/adventure project based on the popular novel by William Brinkley, the crew of a naval destroyer is forced to confront the reality of a new existence when a pandemic decimates most of the earth’s population. Michael Bay (Transformers) intends to direct the pilot if it is green lit. Executive Producers: Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, Andrew Form, Hank Steinberg (showrunner and writer) and Steve Kane (writer). Production Company: Platinum Dunes.
Legends – This suspenseful, action-packed drama is being developed by Howard Gordon, Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Mark Bomback from the novel Legends by Robert Littell. The story follows a deep-cover operative named Martin Odum, who has an uncanny ability to transform himself into a different person for each job. But his own identity comes into question when a mysterious stranger suggests that Martin isn’t who he thinks he is. Executive Producers: Howard Gordon, Jeffrey Nachmanoff, Alexander Cary and Jonathan Levin. Studio: Fox Television Studios.
Lew Archer – Based on the title character from Ross McDonald’s popular novels, this project from The Closer creator James Duff and Close to Home creator Jim Leonard follows the sleuth many consider to be “the original P.I.” Executive Producers: James Duff, Jim Leonard (writer) and Steve N. White. Studio: Warner Horizon Television.
Tom Clancy’s Homeland Security – This event-based procedural written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and set in Tom Clancy’s world of espionage pits a select team of domestic intelligence operatives against enemies within and without, from narco-traffickers and nuclear terrorists to cyber-criminals and human smugglers. Executive Producers: Tom Clancy, Michael Ovitz, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Chris George.
Untitled Steven Bochco Murder Mystery project – This suspenseful and intriguing crime drama will intimately dissect a single murder case over an entire season, from the commitment of the crime through the investigation, arrest and trial. Executive Producer: Steven Bochco (writer). Co-Executive Producer: Eric Lodal (writer).
Untitled Ron Shelton family drama – A disgraced football coach loses his high-profile job in Los Angeles and winds up moving his three kids and 70-year-old father to Louisiana. But this might just be the fresh start they need in this insightful drama from the writer/director of Bull Durham. Executive Producers: Ron Shelton (writer), Michele Weisler and Andrea Buchanan.
TNT Unscripted Series in Development
American Troubadours – From one of the executive producers of American Idol and film star Matthew McConaughey, this new reality competition series is on a mission to discover the best unsigned bar band in America, singer/songwriter bands that represent the greatest tradition of rock and roll. Executive Producers: Nigel Lythgoe, Matthew McConaughey and Anastasia Brown. Production Companies: Nigel Lythgoe Productions and J.K. Livin Foundation.
Cold Justice – This docu-drama, produced by Emmy winners for such series as Law & Order, Project Runway and Top Chef, will follow former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary as they crack cold cases. Executive Producers: Dick Wolf, Tom Thayer, Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz. Production Companies: Wolf Films and Magical Elves.
Rivals – From the producers of Laguna Beach and Jockeys comes this riveting series set in the glamorous world of thoroughbred horse racing. Executive Producers: Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein for BermanBraun; Gary Ravet for Promark Productions; and Gary Auerbach and Tina Gazzero for Go Go Luckey.
24/7: Los Angeles – Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Robert Port crafted this gripping, all-access look at the men and women who protect the streets of Los Angeles. Executive Producers: Robert Port, Michael Goldstein and Michael Larkin. Production Company: Port Films.
TBS Scripted Series in Development
The Kid – To try and get his game back, a young and socially naïve golf prodigy named Quinn teams up with Joey, an unconventional new caddy. But much to the dismay of his father, Quinn learns more than just golf, as this new duo makes its way into the high-rolling, fast-moving big-time world of professional golf. The Kid is written by Donald Todd from a story by Sports Illustrated senior writer Michael Bamberger and writer Jay Hass, along with David Morse (Tremé) and professional golfer Phil Mickelson’s longtime caddy, Jim “Bones” Mackay. Executive Producers: Donald Todd, Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin. Production Company: The Shephard/Robin Company. Studio: Warner Horizon Television.
Most Likely – It has been ten years since high school, and the former “most likely to succeed” star student returns to his hometown after losing his job. He winds up working for the former (and still) “most popular” jock in this mismatched buddy comedy penned by Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine). Executive Producers: Conan O’Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger. Co-Executive Producer/Writer: Josh Heald. Production Company: Conaco LLC. Studio: Warner Horizon Television.
Zone Lord – Conan O’Brien serves as executive producer on this sitcom with an intergalactic twist. Three roommates awake one morning to discover an evil but very hip alien has moved into their building, along with his diminutive navigator. Executive Producers: Conan O’Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger. Co-Executive Producer/Writer: Ross Venokur. Production Company: Conaco LLC. Studio: Warner Horizon Television.
TBS Unscripted Series in Development
Norm MacDonald is Trending – TBS has ordered a pilot presentation of this talk show from some of the executive producers behind Sports Show with Norm MacDonald and Real Time with Bill Maher. SNL alumnus and former “Weekend Update” anchor Norm MacDonald hosts as he and his team of correspondents sort through the churning mass of pop culture and social media to pull out the funniest, most bizarre and entertaining events so you don’t have to. Executive Producers: Norm MacDonald, Marc Gurvitz and Lori Jo Hoekstra.
Untitled Competition Game Show – This big, unique and physically challenging competition series is being developed by Jared Hoffman and produced by Alloy Digital’s Generate Studios, which was co-founded by Jordan Levin and Pete Aronson. Executive Producer: Jared Hoffman. Production Company: Generate Studios.