TBS Superstation Tinges Its Originals With Reality

TBS Superstation is mixing a little reality into its programming recipe of acquired comedy sitcoms and movies.

The network is developing five unscripted original shows slated to air later this year.

Turner Entertainment president Mark Lazarus said TBS will only commission about eight episodes from each of the reality series, a far cry from the typical 13-installment season run for most reality and scripted series. He also said that of the five shows, only two would most likely be on air at the same time.

“We’re not all of the sudden going to take our lineup and flip it into a reality-based schedule,” Lazarus said.

TBS will collaborate with Gilligan’s Island creators Lloyd and Sherwood Schwartz to create a reality-based takeoff on the vintage sitcom. Much like the original series, the reality skein — to bow in the fourth quarter — will feature a real-life skipper, first mate, millionaire couple, movie star, Kansas farm girl and professor. The shipmates will also work together to try to get off the island, with stunts modeled after some of the situations that occurred on the original show.

Also on tap for the network is TBS is a relationship series from Nash Entertainment (Meet My Folks, For Love or Money, Who Wants to Marry My Dad?) that will launch in June.

A hidden-camera reality series from actors Martin Lawrence and Jamie Foxx and a reality dating series hosted by Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City) and produced by September Films (Bridezillas, Single in the City) are also moving through the pipeline.

The new shows will complement TBS’s comedy lineup featuring such off-network sitcoms as Friends, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond and Sex and The City.

It also coincides with a June repositioning plan for TBS Superstation, which will include a new-on air look, logo and tagline: “TBS … Very Funny.”

R. Thomas Umstead

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.