Sunday, May 22, 2011

Turner's 2011-12 Upfront - what could possibly go wrong?

Adult Swim adds three new series

Leave it to Turner to have an upfront presentation that leaves a lasting impression - even if its an unusual one.

Turner's cable networks rolled out their presentations Wednesday to advertisers and media buyers. Things were going smoothly until a power surge hit during a live video chat from L.A. featuring Conan O'Brien. Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin took to the stage and tried to keep the audience entertained: "My name is Steve Koonin, formerly with Turner Broadcasting."..."Unfortunately we had a power surge. It blew something... the shit stopped working. ... I think you can make Univision tomorrow, but I’d ration your pastries and beverages." Among the festivities while the problem was being fixed included Ray Romano and George Lopez doing impromptu stand-up routines and Koonin trying to lead the audience in a rendition of Row Row Row Your Boat (nothing like public-domain songs to get the crowd to party.)

When the presentation resumed, it gave Conan O'Brien some more ammo to aim at Turner. One of the quips: "You know I love working at TBS -- the commitment to detail," and "We’re already No. 1 in TBS’ key demographic: people who can’t afford HBO."

Many in attendance praised Koonin for keeping the Turner presentation under control despite the numerous technical glitches.

On a more serious note, the presentation featured clips from upcoming programming from TNT and TBS, and a tearful farewell from Closer star Kyra Sedgwick, who show concludes next year and spins off Major Crimes, a series set in the Los Angeles Police Department. TNT is developing a Tuesday Mystery Movie, featuring six made-for-movies with a mystery theme set to debut in November (which somewhat resembles the NBC Mystery Movie series from the 1970's), and launching Perception from ABC Studios next year. Perception is about a neuroscientist (Eric McCormick from Will and Grace) who works to solve complex criminal cases.

TNT has a lot of new shows ready and raring to go this summer including Steven Speilberg's Falling Skies and law dramaedy Franklin & Bash (which can easily be mistaken for a David E. Kelley show.)

TBS announced it was launching a new sitcom titled The Wedding Band featuring what else? A wedding band. TBS also announced Conan is returning to New York during the first week of Novemeber and heading back to Chicago for shows in 2012.

Turner also released a list of current series in development. To see the complete list, click here.

Adult Swim

You know if there is an Adult Swim "upfront presentation" - you know it's a party. The event took place Wednesday night at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan (right across from the Ed Sullivan Theater, the home of Late Show with David Letterman.)

Forget about Steve Koonin singing Row Row Row Your Boat - how about Jay-Z performing his hits like Dirt on Your Shoulder and 99 Problems? In fact, the Brooklyn-born rapper performed an entire set.

As for the programming, Adult Swim announced (in a span of only five minutes) several new series: The Heart, She Holler a live-action comedy about a small rural town; Tight Bros., an animated series about two "clergymen" who sells religious items by day in a kiosk at a shopping mall - by night, they go out clubbin' (this series premieres next year); and China, IL is an animated series about two brothers who teach at a state university (sounds about right) in a fictional Illinois town. These join the previously announced animated series National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sports Utility Vehicle (or NTSF:SD: SUV for short) and Black Dynamite. Returning series include Aqua Unit Patrol Squad (the sequel to Aqua Teen Hunger Force), Robot Chicken, and live-action comedy Children's Hospital.

Did you know? China, IL is the first animated sitcom to ever be set in the state of Illinois. No word on whether Governor Pat Quinn will do a voice cameo.

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