TNT and TBS President Kevin Reilly, speaking Sunday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, said the networks’ experiment with reducing ad loads on new TNT dramas by 50 percent has met with early success, and that he was open to expanding the effort to sister channel TBS.
The reduced ad load has given 10 minutes of air time back to storytelling for both Animal Kingdom and Good Behavior, and while the network is still running deeper studies on overall impact, Reilly said that early results show higher commercial viewing, less tune-out, and a ratings lift.
“It’s being emulated by some other competitors on a one-off basis. If we get the results that we’re beginning to see, we’ll look at doing it on TBS,” Reilly said.
Reilly pointed to the success of Animal Kingdom and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee as examples of how his team is giving a “fresh coat of paint” to the TNT and TBS brands.
“We’re competing with HBO, Netflix and FX. And with comedy, it’s open-field running. I don’t think anybody’s quite doing what we’re doing.”
Among the announcements Reilly brought with him to the Beverly Hilton:
—TNT has ordered a six-episode limited series from Charles Barkley called The Race Card for early 2017. The series will explore some of the thorniest subjects in contemporary America. “We as Americans never discuss the issue of race in this country and how it impacts everything in our lives until something bad happens,” Barkley said. “I see this project as a way to talk about race, class and cultural differences and challenge everyone’s status quo.”
—TNT has given a pilot order to Monsters of God, a post-Civil War drama from Rob Lurie and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.
—New TBS comedy Search Party will premiere with a two-episode rollout each night of Thanksgiving Week — with an eye towards entertaining a population of younger viewers who will find themselves with a lot of extra time on their hands.
—The new TBS alien abduction comedy People of Earth will premiere on Halloween night.