TV Critics Tour: Bochco Credits TNT For ‘Raising the Bar’

Beverly Hills, Calif.—Steven Bochco, creator and executive producer of TNT’s new legal show, Raising the Bar, Friday lauded the cable network for carving out a real identity and home for scripted dramas.

“They’ve really done a brilliant job of creating a menu of shows that thematically are compatible,” Bochco said at the Television Critics Association summer tour. “TNT now has an identity.”

Multiple Emmy-winner Bochco (left) and the cast of Raising the Bar—Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Jane Kaczmarek and Gloria Reuben and the show co-creator, lawyer-writer David Feige—were part of a panel on the new show, which premieres Sept. 1.

At the panel, Michael Wright, senior vice president of Turner Entertainment Networks’ Content Creation Group, said that legal, medical and police shows all entail strong characters and conflict, which makes for good dramatic fodder for the network. TNT is also home to the hit shows The Closer and Saving Grace, whose new seasons premiere next Monday.

Wright isn’t daunted about putting Raising the Bar on the air in the fall when the Big Four are also premiering their new shows.

He said that at some point you have to trust your programming “and jump in with both feet.”

Wright also told TV critics that TNT has committed to air originals in primetime Monday through Wednesday by 2010.

To cap her show’s panel, Kaczmarek (right) said that she looks forward to attending TNT events, because of Wright.

“He’s so cute,” she said.

TNT will also debut Leverage in December, the first regular TV series from IndependenceDay producer Dean Devlin. The series stars Timothy Hutton as the head of a team of “thieves, hackers and grifters” who help normal people seek revenge against those who use power and wealth to victimize others.

Producers said the series will retain a “fun, bouncy” tone focusing on five members of the team who are broken in one way or another.

“Separately, they're not so great. Together, wonderful,” said Devlin.

Producers said plot ideas come from real life.

“We sat down and picked up a newspaper and a thousand people fell out,” said executive producer John Rogers.

Plot lines range from avenging the death of a child—a tragedy caused when safety problems are suppressed by Big Pharma—to one inspired by post-Hurricane Katrina housing scams.

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