Although an appearance from TBS's new late-night man Conan O'Brien stole the show, TNT made some news of its own at the network's joint upfront presentation to advertisers here today.
The "drama network" announced that it will move to a fourth night of original programming this summer, joining the fray on TV's most-watched night by shifting Timothy Hutton-starrer Leverage into the 9 p.m. hour on Sundays, beginning June 20.
In addition, TNT hopes to heat up the warm-weather months with the return of the sixth season of cable's top-rated show, The Closer, on Mondays at 9 p.m., starting July 12. It will be followed by Rizzoli & Isles, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as a Boston homicide detective and medical examiner team in Boston. Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, called the series, based on Tess Gerritsen's mystery novels, the "most compatible" lead-out ever from the Kyra Sedgwick-hit
On June 22, Jada Pinkett Smith's tough nurse series Hawthorne and Jason Lee and Alfre Woodard's new Memphis Beat detective show will pair on Tuesdays, while Dark Blue shifts to Wednesdays, beginning Aug. 4. The final campaign of Holly Hunter's Saving Grace will also play out this summer.
The sophomore season of Ray Romano's Men of a Certain Age will return late this year, with fresh installments of Southland, the LA police drama discarded by NBC, set for a January 2011 debut.
Moreover, summer 2011 will mark the landing of Steven Spielberg's post-alien invasion series, Fallen Skies, starring Noah Wylie and Moon Bloodgood.
TNT also showcased clips and cast members, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer and Malcolm McDowell, from the recently greenlit, barrister buddy series Franklin & Bash. It is also scheduled to premiere in summer 2011.
On the development side, TNT has a number of projects cooking:
*an untitled medical show, centering on doctors at an urgent-care clinic in LA circa 1971, executive-produced by Don Cheadle;
*Graysmith, which is based on the life of cartoonist, writer and part-time private eye Robert Graysmith, executive-produced by Ridley Scott;
*Green Detective, from Steven Bochco and Jonathan Abrahams, orbits an environmentalist, looking for truth as an adjuster for a large insurance firm;
*Brain Trust, about a quartet of brilliant, but social awkward academics who solve crimes;
*Jamie Foxx's Miss Philly, which examines the quiet suburbs and urban war zones of Philadelphia, where the mayor has hired the city's first African-American police commissioner; and
*Dear God, a look into the U.S. Postal Service's dead letters bureau.