TBS, TNT Promote Original Programs, O'Brien's Success
With the Latino population surging in the U.S., TBS host George Lopez predicted his show would eventually make it to No. 1 in late night. He told advertisers at the Turner upfront: "Start buying your CPMs or whatever the f*ck that means."
Lopez then continued a stand-up routine at the upfront presentation Wednesday. Also entertaining at the event was Conan O'Brien, whose show precedes Lopez on TBS.
O'Brien again jabbed at NBC's decision to can him, which led to his joining TBS last fall. He mentioned that Matt Lauer was recently asked if he would be leaving the "Today" show at NBC. Lauer said no because he has a long-term contract.
"All I have to say is Matt: 'Welcome to TBS," O'Brien said.
O'Brien also plugged his show's early success since debuting last fall. "We're already No. 1 in TBS's key demographic: People who can't afford HBO."
Ray Romano, who stars in TNT's "Men of a Certain Age," helped Turner form a big three in stand-up; during his performance, he lamented the possibility of using erectile dysfunction drug Levitra. "Am I going to have to drag two tubs down to the beach to have sex?" he asked, basically describing ads for the medication.
There was also humor at the event of a different sort -- depending on perspective -- as a power surge caused about a 10-minute delay when a video would not play.
But Turner executives simply continued introducing new programming and highlighting returnees.
One highlight was when an emotional Kyra Sedgwick took the stage and spoke about the end of "The Closer," the show that helped propel TNT to its current success with original programming. The series is concluding with 15 episodes this summer and six in 2012.
The six episodes next year will be used to launch a spinoff in "Major Crimes," featuring Mary McDonnell, who has appeared on "The Closer" as a character who has clashed with Sedgwick's. TNT has ordered 10 episodes of "Major Crimes."
This summer, TNT is launching new dramas "Falling Skies" with Noah Wyle and legal dramedy "Franklin & Bash."
TNT, by one measure, is the third-most-watched cable network in prime time among 18- to-49-year-olds, with ratings up 7%. TBS is in fourth place with ratings in the key demo, down 8% by one measure.
This fall, TNT will launch a series of original movies, carrying a working title of "The TNT Tuesday Night Mystery." One film in development is "Innocent," based on the eponymous book by Scott Turow.
In the TNT pipeline is an untitled show being developed, in part, by Mitch Albom, about a station manager at a Detroit radio station. Famed author Albom is a Detroit radio personality.
TNT also has reality series in development, such as a show where a business bigwig helps a struggling family business turn itself around. Also, legendary action-reality producer Thom Beers has a show about the Alaskan Coast Guard.
Planned for TBS in summer 2012 is the comedy "The Wedding Band" (working title), starring Brian Austin Green ("Beverly Hills, 90210") and focusing on four friends in a band. The TBS reality lineup includes game show "Pyramid," an updated take on the famed "The $10,000 Pyramid," that will be hosted by O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter.
Turner also said it would launch a marketing campaign promoting the availability of its programming on all sorts of devices, rooted in the "TV Everywhere" movement.