Turner: Programs Power Through Upfront Clips Snafu

Group readies original mystery movie franchise 5/23/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Complete coverage of the 2011 upfronts
The Best and Worst of Upfronts 2011
ABC: Lee Gets Network Laughing Again
CBS: Scheduling For Strength
Fox: 'In It to Win It' With Big Bets Like 'X Factor'
NBC: Greenblatt Wants To Find His New 'Voice'
The CW: Pushing for More Original Programming
Turner: Programs Power Through Upfront Clips Snafu
ESPN: Flexing Its Marketing Muscle
Upfront 2011 Marketplace: Wet Week Clears Way For Hot Ad Market

Before and after a power surge that interrupted
its upfront presentation last week, Turner
Broadcasting made the case that its entertainment
channels offer an alternative to the broadcast networks.

David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports,
talked about the power of Turner’s biggest entertainment
brands, which feature “original programming that delivers
the audience you want to reach with all the social
connections you need in a challenging marketplace.”

Linda Yaccarino, executive VP and COO for sales,
marketing and acquisitions, delivered a pitch for
Turner’s context system, which promises to “put the
right ads in the right place at the right time, making
your ads work harder on our networks.”

Turner plans to apply context to all of its marketing
partnerships, from the smallest billboards to the largest
custom integration, Yaccarino said. What’s in it for advertisers?
An increase of 25% in viewer receptivity, she said.

But as Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment
Networks, said, Turner has long promised that
it would create shows that had the same prestige as
broadcast television. Over the last few years, “we’ve
showed you, we’ve sometimes bullied you into believing
that our brands are the best alternative to broadcast
television,” he said. “This year, we’re not twisting
any arms. I don’t have anything to say.”

Instead, he pointed to an ad from CBS for its show The
Good Wife
, quoting star Julianna Margulies saying, “I was
looking to do a cable show and landed on a network instead.
I got my cable show, it just happens to be on CBS.”

“CBS is buying ads saying their shows are as good
as cable,” Koonin said. “I’m thinking about having
that tattooed on my ass.”

When Turner got the electronics working at its presentation,
it was able to show media buyers some of its
upcoming programming, including the TNT dramas
Falling Skies, Franklin and Bash and Perception.

“The shows look good,” said Donna Speciale, president
of activation at Mediavest, adding that Turner’s
technical difficulties “brought the drama and the comedy
and the reality together.”

Turner said it plans to launch a new franchise of original
movies that will debut in November and December
under the TNT Tuesday Night Mystery banner.

TBS has green-lit a new hour-long comedy called The
Wedding Band
and ordered 10 episodes.

The company also unveiled a long list of projects in
development, including 10 scripted dramas at TNT and
three scripted comedies at TBS. The networks also disclosed
six unscripted projects in the works.

Turner also announced that Conan O’Brien will be
taking his late-night show on the road, traveling to New
York later this year and to Chicago in 2012.

Turner’s top show The Closer is going off the air after
seven seasons, which caused star Kyra Sedgwick
to tear up as she thanked sponsors for their support.
Replacing it is Major Crimes, executive produced by
James Duff of The Closer and starring Mary McDonnell,
who has been featured on the show.

Turner is also planning a promotional push for TV

E-mail comments to
and follow him on Twitter: @jlafayette