TBS Bets on Laughs


TBS is focusing on scripted comedy with its latest slate, producing two series and developing several others as companion pieces to the acquired comedies it has built its ratings on over the past few years.

The Turner-owned cable network greenlighted production of two half-hour Sony series: My Boys and 10 Items or Less. Both are slated for fourth quarter launches, with production kicking off later this year.

The shows were announced to advertisers Tuesday at the TBS/TNT New York upfront. TBS built strong ratings from reruns of acquired shows including Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld and Friends but has been less successful on the original comic reality shows like Daisy Does America and Minding the Store, neither of which earned second-season renewals.

“The shift from doing comedic reality is our learning over the past couple of years that the strength and core of TBS is the collection of great, contemporary comedy,” says Steve Koonin, executive VP and COO for TNT/TBS. “As [TNT’s] The Closer was launched using the launching pad of Law & Order, we saw that as a very successful recipe to make companion pieces for Sex and the City.”

Boys follows a twentysomething female sportswriter, whose tomboyish ways hurt her dating life. Jordana Spiro (JAG, Must Love Dogs) leads an ensemble cast as PJ in the series from Sony Pictures Television and Pariah. The show is executive-produced by Gavin Polone (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Gilmore Girls), Jamie Tarses and writer Betsy Thomas (Run of the House).

10 Items or Less is an improvisation series about the workplace shenanigans that ensue when a struggling New York executive moves home to take over the family-owned supermarket after his father dies.The show stars John Lehr from the mockumentary Memron and is executive-produced by Lehr, Robert Hickey and Nancy Hower.

The network also has two half-hour scripted comedy series in development. My Embarrassing Life follows a 14-year-old boy’s awkward experiences at school and with girls. The series is written/executive-produced by David Rosenthal (Gilmore Girls, Spin City).