Upfronts 2011: TNT To Launch New Original Movies Franchise

TNT will jump back into the original movie business with a slate of six mystery movies to debut in November, the network announced during a technology-plagued upfront presentation Wednesday in New York.

The network also announced it will bring closure to its 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 also serve as the launching pad for a new series dubbed Major Crimes, in which Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica) will reprise her role as Captain Raydor from the The Closer, network officials said.

The movies, tentatively titled The TNTTuesday Night Mystery, will feature contemporary crime dramas from best selling novelists depicting both true-to-live crimes and fictional mysteries, according to network officials. Titles slated for the block are Scott Turow's Innocent, Richard North Patterson's Silent Witness, Sandra Brown's Ricochet; Lisa Gardner's Hide; April Smith's Good Morning, Killer and Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark's Deck The Halls.

New shows announced during the upfront include TBS' The Wedding Band, an hour-long comedy set to debut in 2010 which follows the exploits of four friends who perform in a band. Also slated for 2012 is Perception, a series starring Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) that centers on a neuroscientist who aids police in solving criminal cases.
The shows follow on the heels of already announced summer launches of TNT sci-fi series Falling Skies and dramedy legal series Franklin & Bash.

TNT will also return several veteran shows including Rizzoli & Isles, Men of A Certain Age, Leverage, HawthoRNe, Memphis Beat and Southland, said network officials.

"With strong brands and solid foundations in programming, TNT and TBS present a great value proposition to our clients," said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting System Inc. "Turner continues to make investments in original programming that has broad demographic appeal for advertisers and their brand messages."

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.