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TNT Introduces New Cast of Characters

TNT has unveiled a new slate of character-driven dramas that focus on the family.
Robert Redford will executive-produce hour-long Generations, about three generations of one family who live in the same house.

The network is teaming with TheCloser executive producers Greer Shephard and Michael Robin for hour-long drama The Norms, which follows a dysfunctional Southern clan.

Hour-long Middletown, from Sony Pictures Television and writer/executive producer John Masius (Providence), will focus on a husband and wife who are teachers at a local high school and are raising a 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old autistic son.

The new shows were announced at the TNT/TBS upfront presentation to advertisers Tuesday in New York. Rather than being the result of a concerted effort to focus on home life, the shows made TNT’s slate because they’re all “character dramas,” says Michael Wright, senior VP of original programming, Turner Entertainment Group. “All of our development is motivated by a pretty specific take of the TNT brand—shows that are complementary to the acquired shows and dramas that make you feel and think.”

The new shows are being developed as the network readies production for its 2007 six-hour limited series The Company, a CIA thriller set during the Cold War. The series comes from Sony Pictures Television and executive producers Ridley Scott (Gladiator), Tony Scott (Numb3rs), John Calley (The Da Vinci Code) and David Zucker (Phone Booth).

In the nearer future, the network will run its three big summer events ad free. Season two of last summer’s big hit, the police procedural The Closer, returns in June, ad-free and sponsored by Audi. This summer’s medical franchise drama, Saved, starring Tom Everett Scott as a paramedic, premieres in June. Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, a series of eight King horror stories, premieres in July.

Premiering in fourth quarter is the network’s sequel to the Noah Wyle original movie The Librarian, titled The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines. The network is hoping The Closer returns to big numbers and the new shows make enough of a splash to best TNT’s own record numbers from last summer, if not put it above USA, which has used wrestling and Monk to solidly stake its claim as the No. 1 cable entertainment network for months.

Elsewhere in development at TNT are the untitled Hollander Project, an hour-long drama from Warner Bros. Television and writer/executive producer David Hollander (The Guardian) about a separated couple working in the world of heart-transplant surgery; the untitled Greene/Levine Project, an hour-long drama from Warner Bros. Television and Shephard/Robin about a New York sports doctor who joins a rehabilitation clinic after botching surgery on a major athlete; and the untitled Finkelstein/Clark Project, an hour-long cop drama from writer/executive producer William M. Finkelstein (NYPD Blue, Law & Order) and executive producer Bill Clark (NYPD Blue).