Upfronts 2012: TNT gets more reality; TBS builds off its reruns
NEW YORK -- Turner Entertainment Networks held its upfront presentation Wednesday at the Hammerstein Ballroom -- squeezing in as one of a couple of cablers in a week of broadcast networks -- and unveiled beefed up slates for TNT and TBS.
The "Dallas" remake might be the highest profile of TNT's new shows set to premiere this summer, with more announced in the works, including a medical drama, "Monday Mornings," and two more unscripted series in addition to its soon-to-be-launched "The Great Escape."
TBS, meanwhile, seems to be the new network offering life support. After giving Conan O'Brien a home for his talk show, the network has now taken in ABC's "Cougar Town."
"It's good to be back on cable," Courteney Cox, star of "Cougar Town," told Show Tracker at Turner's luncheon with reporters. "There's not as much micro-managing. And I think we'll find that "Cougar Town' is a great fit with the network. I definitely wish ABC had paid more attention to us. It's nice to feel wanted." The series will roll out on the network in 2013.
TBS also has a new competition series, "King of the Nerds," built to complement its "Big Bang Theory" repeats; the newly green-lighted "Deon Cole's Black Box," in the vein of "The Soup" and "Tosh 2.0"; and "Who Gets the Last Laugh?" And much was made of the network's success with its repeats of "Family Guy" and "The Big Bang Theory."
Here's an overview of what to expect:
"Men at Work" (Thursdays 10 p.m.): Executive produced by "Franklin and Bash" star Breckin Meyer, the series follows a guy reentering the dating scene with the help of his coworkers.
"Sullivan & Son" (midseason): The series touts Vince Cagh as an executive producer and centers on a corporate lawyer who decides to ditch his job and run his parents' Pittsburgh bar.
"Wedding Band" (midseason): The series centers on a Seattle-based wedding band. But in the clip that was shown to advertisers, "Beverly Hills, 90210" alum Brian Austin Green (a.k.a. Mr. Megan Fox) accidentally pops a bride's breast implant with a champagne cork.
"Who Gets the Last Laugh?" (2013): A "Punk'd" rip-off
"Deon Cole's Black Box" (2013): Comedian Deon Cole watches and pokes fun at viral videos.
"King of the Nerds" (TBA): This show was developed to be paired with "The Big Bang Theory" reruns and is essentially a reality nerd competition.
"Dallas" (Wednesdays 9 p.m.): The revival of the campy soap features Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Steve Kanaly, Charlene Tilton, and Ken Kercheval. The focus, this time, is John Ross Ewing II (son of J.R. and Sue Ellen) and Christopher (Bobby and Pam's adopted son).
"The Great Escape" (Sundays 10 p.m.): An action-adventure reality competition series.
"Perception" (Mondays 10 p.m.): Eric McCormack stars as Dr. Daniel Pierce, a neuroscientist who works with the FBI to solve unusual cases.
"Major Crimes" (midseason): A spinoff of "The Closer" focuses on LAPD detectives.
"Monday Mornings" (2013): From producer David E. Kelley, the medical drama based in Portland, Ore., is based on a novel of the same name by Sanjay Gupta.
"Boston Blue" (2013): A police docu-drama that follows the Boston Police Department's gang unit.
"72 Hours" (2013): Strangers are dumped on a deserted island and compete for a grand prize -- think "Amazing Race" meets "Survivor."
-- Yvonne Villarreal
Photo: Executives and stars of TNT and TBS after the networks' upfront presentation in New York on Wednesday. Pictured: Andy Richter, Phil Kent, Michael Wright, Larry Hagman (in the hat), Steve Koonin, Linda Gray, Tony Denison, Patrick Duffy, Donna Speciale, Eric McCormack, Frank Sgrizzi, Angie Harmon, Mary McDonnell, Courteney Cox, Brenda Strong, David Levy, Conan O’Brien, Steve Byrne, Vince Vaughn and Noah Wyle at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Credit: Jeremy Freeman / Turner Broadcasting