In Depth

Turner’s Spielberg, Bochco and James Projects Crash Broadcast Upfront

Turner Broadcasting announced new original series projects with Steven Spielberg, Steven Bochco and Kevin James.

Turner, which is crashing the broadcast networks’ upfront advertising sales week with a presentation of its own Wednesday, has been pumping up the amount of original programming on TNT and TBS in an effort to extract more advertising dollars and higher prices for its commercials.

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“More people are watching television than ever before, driven by ad-supported cable networks, and the medium remains a great place for advertisers and the best way to reach a mass audience,” David Levy, president of ad sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., said in a statement.

Turner’s new dramas in development include an untitled alien invasion project from DreamWorks Television that will be executive produced by Mr. Spielberg. The show is set six months after a worldwide alien invasion.

Other dramas at TNT include:

—“Class Action” (working title) from Mr. Bochco, who also produces TNT’s “Raising the Bar.” The show is about a down-on-his-luck attorney who fights for the disenfranchised.

—“Zapata, Texas” (working title), executive produced by Kyra Sedgwick of TNT’s “The Closer” and her husband Kevin Bacon. The series is about the new sheriff in a Texas border town.

—An untitled family drama from Matt Williams, a creator of “Roseanne” and “Home Improvement” about a family trying to keep it together when events conspire to pull them apart.

—Untitled drama from Daniel Pyne about a Los Angeles detective set in 1954.

—“Pastor Jazz” from Charles S. Dutton about a minister and his music.

—“Macalister,” about a novelist turned professor who tries to inspire his rich kid students.

—“Proof” about an eccentric neuroscientist who helps the Feds solve complex cases.

TNT is also developing the unscripted series “The Mayo Clinic” and “Trip of a Lifetime.”

TNT said it will be debuting the Ray Romano series “Men of a Certain Age” in December.

TBS is developing three series:

—“The Game of Life,” about four friends from Pittsburgh who reunite, from Kevin James and Jeff Sussman.

—“Big Tow” about a single dad who runs a towing company.

—“Wee Hours,” a sketch comedy show from Second City telling stories of Chicagoans set between midnight and 6 a.m.

TBS will be premiering “Neighbors from Hell,” an animated series about a family actually from the netherworld, during 2010.

“Our networks are continuing to grow as rivals to broadcasters, with original programming that reaches a wide spectrum of viewers,” Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, said in a statement. “With TNT, we are delivering on our promise to air original programming three nights a week. TBS is offering shows that attract young viewers and a diverse audience, while truTV continues to expand its lineup of exciting original series.”

(Editor: Baumann)