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TNT greenlights new series from Steven Spielberg and George Clooney

January 21, 2010 |  2:17 pm

TNT has ordered a slate of new series including a Steven Spielberg-produced alien invasion drama and George Clooney's offbeat comedy "Delta Blues."

The cable network has also picked up "Rizzoli & Isles," an adaptation of the popular Jane Rizzoli-Maura mystery novels by Tess Gerritsen. TNT has ordered 10 episodes of each project.

The untitled Spielberg drama stars Noah Wyle as the leader of a rag-tag group of soldiers and civilians struggling against an occupying extra-terrestrial force. Spielberg will executive produce alongside DreamWorks Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank and screenwriter Robert Rodat.

Jason Lee will return to prime-time TV in "Delta Blues," a series following a Memphis cop who lives with his mother and moonlights as an Elvis impersonatorGeorge Clooney andGrant Heslov will executive produce with Liz W. Garcia, who wrote the script with Joshua Harto.

Then there's "Rizzoli & Isles," about a pair of female crime-busters played by Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. Janet Tamaro and Bill Haber executive produce.

TNT plans to premiere "Delta" and "Rizzoli" later this year, while Spielberg's alien project will debut in 2011. Orders come on the heels of the recent renewals for first-year comedic drama "Men of a Certain Age" and a third season of "Leverage."

The official details on each of the three new series from TNT's announcement:

Untitled Alien-Invasion Series

The series opens shortly after aliens have wiped out most of the human population. The aliens are now rounding up the few people left, but they are met with strong resistance from a group of soldiers and civilians who fight for their survival – all while struggling to maintain their humanity. Wyle plays Tom Mason, a former college history professor who becomes the reluctant leader of one of the resistance groups. Also starring in the series are Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) as Anne Glass, a therapist who works with the surviving children to help them cope with the traumatic situation; Drew Roy (Lincoln Heights) as Hal and Maxim Knight (Brothers & Sisters) as Matt, Tom’s two sons; Jessy Schram (Crash) as Karen, who is one of the survivors’ motorcycle scouts; and Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds) as Lourdes, an orphaned teenager who helps run the group’s commissary.

"Delta Blues"

In "Delta Blues," Lee plays Dwight Hendricks, a Memphis police officer who lives with his mother. His intimate connection with the city and its people sets him apart from his fellow officers. Alfre Woodard plays Lt. Tanya Rice, a demanding boss determined to keep Dwight on a short leash. Also starring in "Delta Blues" are Celia Weston (Junebug) as Dwight’s mother; Sam Hennings as Charlie White, a.k.a. Whitehead, his partner; Robyn Lively (Saving Grace) as Charlene, Dwight’s ex-wife; Leonard Earl Howze (Barbershop) as Reginald Greenback, a detective who works with Dwight and Whitehead; Abraham Benrubi (ER), a detective who uses Chickasaw tribal wisdom in his work; and DJ Qualls (My Name Is Earl) as Sutton, Dwight’s protégé.

"Rizzoli & Isles"
In "Rizzoli & Isles," Harmon plays Jane Rizzoli, a Boston detective who works closely with medical examiner Maura Isles (Alexander) to solve crimes. Lorraine Bracco (The Sopranos) plays a recurring role as Jane’s mother. Also starring in the series are Lee Thompson Young (FlashForward), who plays Jane’s current partner, Barry Frost; Bruce McGill (Law Abiding Citizen) as Det. Vince Korsak, Jane’s seasoned former partner; Jordan Bridges (Dawson’s Creek) as Jane’s brother, Frankie, a patrol cop who hopes to become a detective; and Billy Burke (The Twilight Saga) as FBI agent Gabriel Dean.

-- Denise Martin