It's crime time again at TNT. Turner held its annual upfront breakfast at the Hammerstein ballroom this morning, unveiling new shows for TNT, a ton of new products for TBS and hefty development slates at both.
The network also announced a major partnership with "Funny or Die," making it the latest traditional media organization to team up with a digital video provider. The partnership seems to be a little more suited to this evening's Adult Swim upfront, so expect to hear more about it tonight.
The presentation opened with a very funny video—all but signed in the corner by Conan O'Brien—extravagantly apologizing for last year's technical foul-up, in which the power went out mid-presentation and everyone from Conan to Ray Romano to Steve Koonin came out and told jokes while the problem was fixed.
"I'm sure you've learned from your mistakes," O'Brien told Koonin. "You're not going to have it at 9:30 in the morning again, are you?"
Silence from the boss.
"You're not holding it at the Hammerstein Ballroom again?"
"It's at an on-ramp to the Lincoln Tunnel!"
Ad sales honcho David Levy got the worst of it. Shaquille O'Neal made him climb over the bathroom door in one segment. "Oh man, you guys made me do this last time and it wasn't even locked," Levy said. The video ended with Koonin in a headlock, Levy hung on top of the door, and the slogan "You're in good hands."
TNT is going the Great Books route: the network has series in the works from thriller writers David Baldacci (a private investigator series called King and Maxwell), William Brinkley (a Michael Bay-produced show about a battleship that survives a pandemic), Tom Clancy's Homeland Security, and Lew Archer, a procedural created by the The Closer creator James Duff from crime novels by Ross McDonald. Then there's Legends, from Rober Littell's novel. That's actually not even the end of the development slate—Stephen Bochco and Ron Shelton have a murder mystery project and a family drama in development, respectively.
TBS had a shorter dev slate, but Conan O'Brien's name was on two of the three scripted programs—Most Likely, a buddy comedy from the writer of Hot Tub Time Machine, and and sci-fi comedy Zone Lord.
Koonin was bullish on the networks' off-net material, asserting that "our acquisition of The Big Bang Theory has helped grow the audience not just for our movies, but for original content." The jury is out on whether Big Bang will be able to sustain TBS, but Koonin said the network's acquisitions slate will continue to renew, as well. Big Bang and Family Guy both received plenty of love during the presentation, all touted as lead-in fodder, though it's been true for years that broadcast series have boosted the comedy net's ratings.