As WarnerMedia prepares for the launch of its new streaming service later this year, it is expanding the content breadth and depth of two of its biggest linear network brands, TNT and TBS.
“We’re committed to long-term value creation,” Kevin Reilly, Chief Creative Officer, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer, and President, TBS/TNT said during WarnerMedia's May 15 upfront presentation at Madison Square Garden. “We’re in the midst of a transformation at WarnerMedia, building upon our significant assets to create new capabilities and new possibilities – more connection, more insight and more value in the complex media landscape."
Once focused on drama and sports content, TNT will welcome more unscripted content to its lineup, according to Reilly. Along with scripted shows such as the Alienist -- which will return to TNT for its sophomore season in 2020 -- the network will add the Ann Curry hosted non-fiction series Chasing the Cure, in which patients battling puzzling ailments meet with a panel of top doctors who work to help solve their cases. At the same time viewers will be able to interact with the show across social media pages, a Facebook group, and a dedicated website where users can submit their cases, according to network officials.
TNT will also team with NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal on a new unscripted docuseries Shaq Life, following the NBA On TNT co-host on his pursuit to become the ultimate businessman and entertainer, according to TNT.
And TNT will get back into wrestling for the first time in 20 years as it teams with AEW Wrestling for a weekly primetime series later this fall.
For the comedy-centric TBS, the addition of drama shows like thriller series Snowpiercer -- which has already been renewed for a second season ahead of its 2020 debut -- helps bolster the network’s brand as it looks to distinguish itself in a very crowded marketplace.
“Snowpiercer is the perfect show to kick-off TBS’ entry into dramas with intricate storytelling, stunning visuals and first-class acting,” said Brett Weitz, general manager for TBS and TNT.
Now the industry will wait to see what WarnerMedia does with its new streaming service, which WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said will have an advertising element as part of its design. “We’re investing in premium content across all of our platforms to create deeper, more meaningful connections with consumers,” he added.
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.