TCA Winter 2013: TNT, TBS Pursuing Year-Round Original Schedule

TNT’s ‘Dallas’ To Honor Hagman’s Passing
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TNT and TBS will pursue a year-long original programming schedule, backed by the launch of several new reality series.

The networks, known mostly for its summer-based original scripted series, will launch five reality series over the next six months --TBS’ King Of The Nerds (January) and Who Gets The Last Laugh (Spring); TNT’s Boston’s Finest (February); The Hero and 72 Hours (both in May), said TNT and TBS president, head of programming Michael Wright during the Turner Networks TCA presentation Friday.

TNT's reality series will join on the schedule a new hospital-based drama series Monday Mornings as well as the drama network's returning series Falling Skies, Rizzoli & Isles, and Franklin & Bash. TBS' non-fiction series will join TBS freshman series Sullivan & Son and Wedding Band, as well as the fourth season of off-ABC comedy series Cougar Town.

“For years the bulk of original programming on basic cable has been confined to the summer months to avoid direct competition from the broadcast networks,” Wright said. “Today basic cable networks are rolling out new shows and new seasons throughout the entire year, and TBS and TNT are no exception.” 

Wright also said the networks are hoping to continue its strong 2012 ratings performance. TBS finished the year as the most watched network in primetime among adults 18-34, while TNT launched cable’s three most-watched new series on cable in Major Crimes, Perception and Dallas.

With regard to Dallas, Wright said the series will return in January and will acknowledge the death of series actor Larry Hagman with an episode featuring the funeral for Hagman’s iconic character J.R. Ewing.

“I have a special appreciation for what he meant not just to the show but to the industry,” he said. “The show is going to honor Larry’s passing with an episode that includes JR’s funeral and a storyline that follows that we believe would have made Larry very happy.”