10:12 AM ET: “In times of change, good teams move forward; great teams — retreat,” Turner Entertainment says to open its presentation. We see video of ad sales team working out with The Rock, because they want to be #1-ier. They learn things like “Blind cc’s are for bitches.”
10:15 AM ET: Traditional Network Ad Sales Airport-Tarmac-Hand-Gesture Speeches. Attempting to figure out what the future holds is really hard. Our industry famous for investing new and futuristic ideas. Nobody loves to think about the future more than Turner. This is most important time of year to keep one foot firmly on the ground. This year both TBS and TNT are here to talk about NowMedia. It’s not old media or new media, but an innovative way to capitalize on best of both.
10: 30 AM ET:Michael Wright, head of programing at TNT, TBS, and Turner Classic Movies, take the stage: “I’m pretty sure most of you agree change is good. Sometimes change is even necessary. For TBS — not so much not now. The headline is: TBS is in great shape…But for TNT now change is in the air. Time to evolve and grow the network. That starts with refreshing the brand and content with it — get younger, more dual, and louder. The clear promise to the audience: if you’re in the mood for drama that thrills, you turn to TNT.”
He introduces a video about TNT’s new 18-49-targeting brand: TNT Drama. Boom:
Boom is the sound that drama makes when it hits you. Like the plot twist that sends your head spinning. The clue that leaves your jaw on the floor. The chase that makes your heart pound. The half-court shot that has you standing on your couch screaming.
Boom is the reveal, the shock, the cliffhanger and the climax. It’s the moment you sit glued to the screen, fists clenched, heart racing, hair on edge. The moment it all comes together. Or falls apart. TNT drama. Boom.
10:37 AM ET: Wright begins to talk about the 5th century Gen Sun Tzu, who is credited with writing the ancient Chinese military treatise The Art of War, while advertisers wondered what they were in for. Tzu advised that while you’re moving forward you should protect your rear, Wright said — we’ll take his word for it, having not gotten to that chapter. This is Wright’s segue to a shoutout to casts of TNT’s returning, non-BOOM series, like Falling Skies, Cold Justice, Rizzoli and Isles, who are in the audience and who wave to the cameras and look kind of stricken, having been described as being part of TNT’s past and its “rear” — except the cast of Dallas, who look pleased as punch to be there.
10:44 AM ET: Wright walks advertisers through clips of new BOOM-era dramas, The Last Ship, Legends, Murder in the First and recently announced Public Morals, Proof and The Librarians – a clip that includes a Bob Newhart sighting, which is an odd-ish way of shouting “18-49” and “BOOM.” Advertisers seem to like what they see, based on applause levels — especially for Edward Burns’ Public Morals, and Kyra Sedgwick’s Jennifer Beals starrer Proof.
10:50 AM ET: Wright walks advertisers through two new reality series. First: On the Menu, from Mark Burnett, in which amateurs who make one special dish really well compete to have theirs declared the best amateur dish — a dish that will be slapped on the menu of a major restaurant the next day. Hosts are Ty Pennington and Emeril Lagasse. Next, Wake Up Call stars The Rock, who will be there “front-to-back,” Wright says. It’s about people who need tough love, mostly in the weight-loss department. Wright said the show hopes to tap into Rock’s social media footprint of 30 million people.
11: 00 AM ET: Steve Carell interrupts programing chief Michael Wright from the audience, telling him to stop with the drama nonsense and get to the comedy, saying Wright had promised this presentation would only take half an hour. He calls Wright a liar; Wright calls him crazy talent. Nice segue to TBS — a network, Wright says that programs to “Comedy Rebels and the Comedy Relatables.” Seth MacFarlane is of the former group, and Wright announces more MacFarlane animated comedies migrating to TBS which becomes “the only place to see all new episodes of American Dad.”
Comedy Relatables like a good, comfortable laugh, and are a susceptible to reruns of The Big Bang Theory, which TBS will continue to use to grow its own comedies. Those include new police procedural spoof Angie Tribeca, from Steve and Nancy Carell, starring Rashida Jones. Jere Burns, Deon Cole and Andree Vermeulen co-star on the series, with Alfred Molina, Lisa Kudrow, Gary Cole, Nancy Carell, Macarthur and Matthew Glave making appearances in the pilot.
11: 03 AM ET: Wright introduces a clip of new series CeeLo Green’s The Good Life, followed by former The Voice judge CeeLo on stage — very briefly. Competition series Funniest Wins from Marlan Wayans, involves aspiring comics competing and the funniest person on the show wins — something. They will perform on a moving open-air double-decker tour bus, based on the clip.
11:15 AM ET: More new comedy clips. Earlier this month, TBS loaded up on workplace comedies. Buzzy’s is an ensemble multi-camera workplace comedy from Will & Grace creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. Buzzy’s marks Kohan and Mutchnick’s first cable series. It revolves around a group of kids from high school, who ran in different circles but now all work together at a local Charlestown, MA barbershop — called Buzzy’s.
Also picked up: Your Family Or Mine, a family comedy from Greg Malins, and Sony TV and Jamie Tarses’ Fanfare. Adapted from Israeli series, Your Family Or Mine, revolves around Oliver and Kelli, who are living proof of the adage that when you marry someone you marry their whole family. The cast includes Richard Dreyfuss and JoBeth Williams. (It originally was developed at ABC as single-camera during the 2012-13 season.)
11:20 AM ET: Programing chief Michael Wright ends his Upfront presentation by bringing out Conan O’Brien, announcing TBS has signed the late-night show host for three additional seasons. Conan: “I want to thank TBS for that incredible vote of confidence…This new contract takes me into my 26th year as a talk-show host. That’s crazy! I’ve gone from ‘Who is this young punk?’ to ‘Oh my god, what has he done with his eyes?! I think he got The Full Pelosi! Conan looks like Bruce Jenner’s mother’!”
More Conan: “Michael is an actor best know for what he accomplished outside of acting — just like John Wilkes Booth. I’ll stand by that joke — he’s a murderer,” Conan says as advertisers groan.
11:25 AM ET: Conan on Michael Wright’s new comedy about an Asian couple who adopt him: “Two Wongs Don’t Make A Wright. That just happened, ladies and gentlemen! I’m going to give you reporters time to write that down — cause that really happened. This is the guy with a longterm deal [at TBS]. This is a guy who doesn’t care – Two Wongs Don’t Make A Wright”!
A few jokes later, Conan brings Wright back on stage. They faux-argue as to whether Conan’s new deal is for three or five more years. “Asshole!” Conan shouts. “Asshole!”