TNT Strategic Opportunities - September 2008

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STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITIES

TNT knows drama, whether it be hit off-net series, big-time original series, Hollywood movies, or NBA basketball.  TNT is a cross between a broadcast network, a pay movie service and a premiere NBA channel.  There is only room in the schedule for past, present and future hits, preferably of the criminal justice variety.

ORIGINAL:

TNT has an appetite, and a strong need for a new breakout original drama series that they can call their own. In fact, they have announced there will be nine series over three nights in just one and a half more years, and they only one part-time night right now (MONDAYS). They are on record as looking for personal drama without the edge of FX or HBO, a statement made with an eye toward the syndication window.

But TNT seems to want to do it on their own, or else get the help of some big names - Redford, Bocchco - you get the idea. With the acclaim garnered from GRACE and THE CLOSER, they have new cachet among Hollywood's top talent.

ACQUIRED:

LAW & ORDER is the bar for which to judge any potential acquisition for TNT.  Your best bet is to get yourself a lawyer or agent.

PROGRAM SUBMISSION PROCESS:

TNT does not accept unsolicited proposals.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

Tough territory for anything but studio projects.  Even with their entree into docs, reality and non-fiction, they prefer top name talent.

TNT has announced an ambitious series development initiative with the goal of an all-original Monday-Wednesday primetime lineup by 2010. The lineup will include a mixture of scripted dramas and unscripted programs. Both premieres and repeats will help the network keep originals programmed year-round.

"Cable has taken the measure of broadcast TV in sports, news and theatrical movies, and now we're ready to knock down the last bastion of broadcast dominance: weekly TV series," said Steve Koonin, president of the Turner Entertainment Networks. (Hollywood Reporter)

Koonin said TNT has 14 series projects percolating from such notables as Robert Redford on dramas and Mark Burnett, former NBA star Kenny Smith, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, and Gay Rosenthal on reality.

There are six unscripted series on TNT's development slate, a new genre for the network. Michael Wright, SVP Original Programming said that in looking for projects, he identified those that would easily fit in with TNT's drama-centric schedule and revolved around one of three themes: crime and punishment, aspirational storytelling, and interesting people and places. "We're trying to capture the middle-American, everyman spirit with programs for real people who want to see their lives reflected on television." (Variety)

The schedule will continue to feature NBA games on Thursdays and acquired movies on Friday nights and weekends. And that's your week on TNT.


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