TNT Slates Mystery Movie Set

New York — TNT will jump back into the
original movie business with a slate of six
mystery movies to debut in November, Turner
Broadcasting System executives said at an
upfront presentation in New York last week.

The TNT Tuesday Night Mystery will feature
contemporary crime dramas from bestselling
novelists depicting both true-to-life
crimes and fictional mysteries, executives
said at the May 18 upfront. Titles include
Scott Turow’s Innocent; Richard North Patterson’s
Silent Witness; Sandra Brown’s Ricochet;
Lisa Gardner’s Hide; April Smith’s Good
, Killer; and Mary Higgins Clark and
Carol Higgins Clark’s Deck the Halls.

These are the first original movie productions
for TNT since 2009’s Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson
. During the early to mid-2000s, TNT
developed a number of original films — including
a package sponsored by Johnson & Johnson
— that helped build the network’s audience.

Michael Wright, executive vice president
and head of programming for TNT, TBS and
Turner Classic Movies told Multichannel
the network would see how well the
movies perform before making a long-term
commitment to the genre.

“We think mystery-themed movies are a
promising complement to our midweek lineup
of popular procedurals,” he said. “We’ll
wait and see how the movies do this fall before
committing to another wheel, but with
success we’d love to make them a regular part
of the schedule.”

TNT also is bringing closure to hit scripted
drama The Closer after seven seasons with 15
episodes to air this summer and an additional
six to air in summer 2012. The Kyra Sedgwick
starrer — the most-watched scripted series in
cable history — will launch a new series
spinoff , dubbed Major Crimes, with Mary
McDonnell (BattlestarGalactica) reprising
her Closer role of Capt. Raydor.

New shows from the Turner camp include
TBS’s The Wedding Band, an hourlong
comedy set to debut in 2012 about four friends
who perform in a band. Slated for TNT in 2012
is Perception, a drama with Eric McCormack
(Will & Grace) about a neuroscientist who aids
police in solving criminal cases.

TNT had already announced summer
launches of the sci-fi series Falling Skies and
legal dramedy Franklin & Bash.
Turner’s Adult Swim separately announced
new shows at a different upfront presentation.
The network — which uses Cartoon Network’s
channel space between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. —
has planned for later this year The Heart,
SheHoller, a live-action satirical soap opera
about the “emotional Hee-Haw-ification of
America”; China, IL, about two self-obsessed
history teachers at a state college; and the animated
Tight Bros, described as about two moronic
“clergybros” on a quest for fat beats, hot
chicks and tricked out cell phones.

They join previously announced new Adult
Swim series NTSF:SD:SUV:: (National Terrorism
Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle)

and Black Dynamite.

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.