TBS Adding Two Original Scripted Comedies

Apr 11, 2006  •  Post A Comment

TBS is adding two original scripted comedies to its schedule, network executives announced Tuesday during Turner Broadcasting’s upfront presentation to media buyers in New York.

One comedy is called “My Boys” and stars Jordana Spiro. The other is called “10 Items or Less,” which is set in a family-owned supermarket and is part-scripted and part-improvised. Both shows are scheduled to join the TBS lineup in the fourth quarter.

“We’re developing comedy where the laughs are rooted in strong character work and great storytelling,” said Michael Wright, senior VP of original production for TNT and TBS.

The scripted comedies are a shift in strategy for TBS, which defines itself as a comedy network and relies mostly on off-net comedies such as “Seinfeld” and Sex and the City.” Over the past two seasons the network’s approach to original programming has been less-expensive unscripted reality shows such as “The Real Gilligan’s Island” and “Daisy Does America,” which drew less-than-spectacular results.

Mr. Wright said that the originals were designed to complement the acquired series already on the network and that “My Boys” should appeal to the audiences of “Seinfeld and “Sex and the City,” while “10 Items” should fit with “Family Guy.”

The comedy in the original shows is based on “characters and relationships” with a “feel-good” attitude,” he said.

TBS is also working with HBO on a Comic Relief event planned for the second annual “The Comedy Festival” in November. TBS again will be the title sponsor of the event.

TNT plans to launch a new original series called “Saved” on June 12 at 10 p.m. (ET), following the second-season premiere of “The Closer.” “We like the summer launch pattern,” said Steve Koonin, executive VP and general manager of TBS and TNT.

“Saved” stars Tom Everett Scott as a paramedic. Next summer the network will launch “The Company,” a six-hour series about the activities of the CIA during the Cold War.

TNT also will air an anthology series, “Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King,” beginning in July. Among the actors featured in installments of the show are William H. Macy, Kim Delany, Tom Berenger and William Hurt.

Also coming to TNT is “The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines,” starring Noah Wyle, in the fourth quarter.

The network plans to launch “Saved” and “Nightmares” with commercial-free premieres as it did last season with “The Closer.” This year’s season premiere of “The Closer” will again be sponsored commercial-free by Audi. Audi vehicles will appear in episodes of the series. Turner did not disclose the names of the sponsors of “Saved” or “Nightmares.”

TNT also said it was developing series including “Generations” from Robert Redford; The Norms,” about a family in the new South; “Middletown, a family drama set in a high school; and untitled projects from David Hollander, Richard Levine-Lyn Greene and William Finkelstein-Bill Clark.

In development at TBS are “My Embarrassing Life,” and an untitled project from comedian Larry Miller,

“We are making significant investments in programming for our linear networks,” said Mark Lazarus, president of Turner Entertainment Group, “and new digital opportunities to enhance and extend our great brands.”