Here are some numbers that should stagger you a little:
“TBS, TNT, Adult Swim, and truTV collectively generate 1.3 billion hours of engagement and reach 239 million unique viewers each month. If we were a country, we’d be the fifth largest in the world,” Kevin Reilly, chief creative officer, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer, and president, TBS/TNT told media buyers at the company’s first-ever collective upfront at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
That stat alone explains the power of combined media, which the company is fully looking to exploit as it moves forward into a new world of streaming.
WarnerMedia’s portfolio of media brands include Adult Swim, Bleacher Report, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, Crunchyroll, Great Big Story, HLN, Rooster Teeth, TBS, TNT, truTV, Turner Sports and Warner Brothers Syndicate.
Following is a look at what TNT, TBS, Adult Swim and truTV have planned for the coming year, with WarnerMedia’s new streaming service still on tap with details yet to be announced.
As it seeks to expand its live sports footprint, something that’s hard to do in an environment where every content provider is trying to add live events to their docket, WarnerMedia is partnering with new outfit All Elite Wrestling.
The new wrestling league, which will feature both male and female wrestlers, will launch across the multiple platforms of WarnerMedia, opening on May 25 on B/R Live and on pay-per-view (PPV). Later this year, live matches will air on TNT primetime as well as being streamed on B/R Live and on PPV.
All Elite Wrestling is founded by president and CEO Tony Khan and its headlined by members of The Elite, which includes all-star wrestlers The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), Cody and Brandi Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, and Chris Jericho. Omega, Cody and The Young Bucks also serve as executive vice presidents of the company in addition to in-ring talent, and Rhodes also serves as Chief Brand Officer.
Chasing the Cure
A documentary executive produced and anchored by former NBC anchor Ann Curry, Chasing the Cure will air as a live, multiplatform event bringing together a weekly two-hour television broadcast with a 24/7 global digital interactive experience. The project’s mission is to help people who are suffering from undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or uncured medical mysteries.
While the show is airing on TV, viewers will be able to interact with it via social media platforms, including a Facebook group and a dedicated website.
Veteran journalist Kim Bondy serves as showrunner and executive producer of this 10-episode project from Lionsgate Television, B-17 Entertainment and Motiv8 Media.
Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal snagged an order for his docuseries about himself, Shaq Life.
“Over the years I’ve had many endeavors outside of sports but never this many all at once,” said O’Neal in a statement. “I’m ready to bring viewers along for the wild ride that is my life.”
Included in the NBA Hall-of-Famer’s many activities are side gigs as a deejay, starring in a movie and commercials, speaking publicly, hosting the NBA Awards, running his “Big Chicken” restaurant, actually spending time with his five children and apparently, more, although he really seems out of time at this point.
“Shaq is the ultimate example of living your biggest, best life,” said Michael Bloom, senior vice president of unscripted and specials for TBS and TNT, also in a statement. “Shaq Life will be the first time viewers will get a fly on the wall look inside his extreme ambitions and the non-stop fun he brings to everything he does.”
Shaq Life is produced by Steve Michaels, Jodi Flynn, and James Macnab of The Content Group. Perry Rogers, Colin Smeeton and Mike Parris serve as executive producers.
Coming over to TBS from TNT, drama Snowpiercer will debut next spring on TBS with a second season already ordered. The move marks TBS’ shift away from being a comedy-focused network.
“Snowpiercer is the perfect show to kick-off TBS’ entry into dramas with intricate storytelling, stunning visuals and first-class acting,” said Brett Weitz, general manager for TBS and TNT, in a statement. “We believe in the longevity of this series and that audiences will be amazed by the fantastical world that brings to life such relevant social, political and environmental issues.”
The show, based on the film of the same name, stars Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly and Tony winner and Hamilton star David Diggs. It’s set in a future where the Earth has become a frozen wasteland and the remaining people live on a gigantic, perpetually moving train that constantly circles the globe.
Orphan Black’s Graeme Manson serves as executive producer and showrunner. It’s produced by Tomorrow Studios and CJ Entertainment, which produced the original film. It’s executive produced by Tomorrow Studios’ Marty Adelstein, Becky Clements, Manson, James Hawes, Matthew O’Connor, Scott Derrickson, and the original film’s producers Bong Joon Ho, Miky Lee, Tae-sung Jeong, Park Chan-wook, Lee Tae-hun and Dooho Choi.
Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi are back as Miracle Workers, an anthology comedy created by Simon Rich and executive produced by Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels. This time around, the show will take place in a medieval setting with people mostly just hanging out and trying not to be murdered.
The series was the number-one new comedy on cable this season, according to TBS, with 26.4 million viewers across all TBS platforms.
“I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to bring my novel What in God’s Name to life in season one,” said Rich in a statement. “And now that I’ve bled that sucker dry, I’m really excited to tell a brand-new story with the same group of brilliant actors.”
Besides Rich, who also created FX’s Man Seeking Woman, and Michaels, Miracle Workers also is executive produced by Andrew Singer and Katy Jensen of Michaels’ Broadway Video, along with Radcliffe and Buscemi.
The Last O.G.
Tracy Morgan and the ubiquitous Tiffany Haddish will be back for a third season of The Last O.G., which stars Morgan as Tray, a man who dreams of being a chef and Haddish as his ex-girlfriend Shay.
The Last O.G. was cable’s top-rated comedy when it launched in 2018 and the highest-rated comedy to launch on cable since 2015.
It’s co-created and executive produced by another ubiquitous talent, Jordan Peele, who also recently had Us, starring Lupita Nyong’o, in theaters and a modern reboot of The Twilight Zone on CBS All Access.
The second season of The Last O.G. was executive produced by Tracy Morgan and Jordan Peele for Monkeypaw Productions; Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum for The Tannenbaum Company; Saladin Patterson; and Joel Zadak of Artists First.
The network also gave a full-series order to Chad, starring Saturday Night Light’s Nasim Pedrad as a Persian-American high-school freshman as he strives to become popular.
“I’m so grateful to TBS for believing in Chad and giving an adult woman the opportunity to live her dream of playing a jarringly awkward teenage boy, while also running the show behind the camera,” said Pedrad in a statement.
The show entered development when Reilly was still president of Fox Entertainment and came with him to Turner, now owned by AT&T’s WarnerMedia.
Besides starring, Pedrad is creator, writer, executive producer, co-showrunner. She’s joined in the cast by Ella Mika, Saba Homayoon, Paul Chahidi, Jake Ryan and Alexa Loo. Hayes Davenport is executive producer and co-showrunner, 3 Arts’ Oly Obst also serves as executive producer along with Rob Rosell.
Untitled Amy Hoggart Project
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee correspondent Amy Hoggart will blend scripted and unscripted elements in her new half-hour series.
“I’m so relieved to be finally getting my money’s worth after an expensive and so far useless psychology course,” said Hoggart in a statement. “I’ll be exploring the topics we all have a hard time coping with, learn why we do the insane things we do, and unnecessarily demean myself for laughs. I’m beyond thrilled to continue my creative partnership with Sam and the wonderful team at TBS.”
Hoggart will continue her duties for now as a correspondent on Full Frontal, where she is well known for her pieces on Brexit and Scotland, and generally using her accent to make Americans think she’s more intelligent than she is. Previously, Hoggart wrote and starred in the faux-reality series Almost Royal.
Leo Allen will serve as showrunner and executive producer with Samantha Bee of Swimsuit Competition along with Tony Hernandez and Brooke Posch of Jax Media.
Rick & Morty’s legion of diehard fans should be thrilled to learn that the Dan Harmon-created animated series will be back for season four this November.
We heard some of you were interested in this information. #WarnerMediaUpfront @rickandmorty pic.twitter.com/UkUINBmw9a
— [adult swim] (@adultswim) May 15, 2019
It also picked up live-action comedyThree Busy Debras from Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions; Birdgirl, an animated spin-off of the network’s Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law; and Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal, a new animated series from the creator of Samurai Jack.
WarnerMedia’s smaller comedy-focused network announced orders for two new series, with Jo Koy’s animated This Functional Family, executive produced by Stun’s Mark Feldstein and Brad Roth, getting a 10-episode series order. That joins Game Changers, which stars comedians Clayton English and Noah Gardenswartz in their own Atlanta-based studio show that will be a mix of celebrity sketches, pro athlete drop-ins and comedic field investigations. Both new series are expected to air in 2020.
At Home with Amy Sedaris also scored a season-three pick up, while the network ordered new seasons of Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks and hidden-camera show The Carbonaro Effect.
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