TBS Strategic Opportunities - August 2008



TBS loves its off-net, off-pay TV, and original half-hour comedy series.  FAMILY GUY and THE OFFICE are key to attracting core young male viewers. The focus right now is on original series with franchises such as HOUSE OF PAYNE, THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW and MY BOYS.  Network President Steve Koonin has said in Variety that he is aiming for four original half-hours in primetime and five in latenight, creating a new area of opportunity.


There is a definite push for comedy series "for the whole family."


TBS continues to go after the best comedy series available from both broadcast and cable, becoming a natural second home for hit sitcoms.


TBS does not accept unsolicited submissions.  Your best bet is to get yourself a lawyer or agent.


TBS has expanded their comedy festival coverage and led the rebirth of sitcoms on cable. With a slate of programming successes and record growth, TBS is able to attract top talent to its programs.

The "everyman" or "blue-collar" brand of humor seems to resonate best with audiences. On renewing FRANK TV, Michael Wright, Senior VP in charge of the content creation group for TBS, TNT and TCM says, "Frank has a very appealing everyman sensibility." "He laughs at the same things we all laugh at in the popular culture around us, and the show's sketches catch that comedic point of view perfectly."

With FRANK TV as a foundation, TBS plans to expand its late night presence. They have ordered two late-night pilots -- including an updated version of MATCH GAME -- as well as having three other late-night shows in development. Michael Wright has said "We see late-night as a real growth opportunity."  While he said Comedy Central and MTV have "sort of cornered the market" on "snarky" shows aimed at young men, TBS is looking to offer "feel-good" comedy for the late-20s, date-night movie audience.

The Hollywood Reporter says "The sitcom isn't dead; it has just moved to cable." Cable is the perfect place for the sitcom's comeback, according to TBS' original programming chief Michael Wright. "Because we don't have to aggregate the same size audience as (the broadcast networks) do, we have greater freedom to pursue different forms and grow the audience," he says. ENGVALL in particular fills a void left by the diminishing number of feel-good family sitcoms on the air.

But no matter how funny you are, unless you're a studio or a top name talent, TBS is probably not your target.


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