Turner Is Opening a Branded Content Studio With Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco

TNT adds young Shakespeare drama for 2017

Turner's upfront presentation will kick off later this morning at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, but the media company, which like NBC, holds one showcase for all of its brands, gave a peek at what it will tell ad buyers.

Chief among them is the creation of its own branded content studio with Conan O'Brien's Team Coco digital and social engagement team. The Team Coco Digital Studio will be headed by Conan executive producer Jeff Ross and Steve Beslow, general manager of Team Coco Digital, with Turner's content partnership and ad sales teams. Turner says that while the content studio will be focused on digital and social platforms, it won't shy away if an advertiser wants to use it for a brand integration on Conan.

TNT, which is set to debut new series Animal Kingdom in June and Good Behavior in the fall, will add three new shows for 2017. TNT plans to present Animal Kingdom and Good Behavior with reduced commercial inventory, which will add an extra 10 minutes of story to each episode.

Joining the previously announced The Alienist and the Tales From the Crypt-branded horror block, TNT has green-lit Will, which centers on a young William Shakespeare and stars Laurie Davidson as the famed thespian. TNT has also ordered a pilot called Civil about a modern-day civil war from Allen Coulter and Scott Smith. In an all too real plotline, the story takes place in the wake of a hotly contested presidential election. TNT also said it cast Niecy Nash in its dramedy pilot, Claws.

On TBS, Turner touted the strength of its new programming including Angie Tribeca, The Detour and Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, which has brought some 27 million new viewers to the cable network. TBS will debut the second season of Angie Tribeca on June 6, while newcomer Wrecked debuts June 14. TBS is also rolling out new series Search Party and People of Earth later this year. But the biggest gambit for TBS will be the debut of its esports competition series, E-League, on May 27.

On the news side, CNN has ordered three new originals for 2017 including the eight-part The Nineties, which follows CNN's docuseries The Sixties, The Seventies and The Eighties. Sean Hayes and Mark Herzog will produce another eight-part series, The History of Comedy, which will feature archival footage, original comedic material, interviews with comedy legends and luminaries. CNN is also going into business with Dwayne Johnson, who will executive produce yet another eight-parter that explores the music tied to iconic moments in history. These join previously announced Believer with Reza Aslan.

Fellow Turner networks TruTV and Adult Swim made their own upfront announcements last week. Turner will also tout other recent initiatives during its upfront this morning including its Ad Lab and Turner Ignite, its insights-powered unit focused on content and data solutions.