UPDATED with quotes from upfront presentation: TBS, known for its comedy lineup, is making its first foray into drama programming, beginning with the high-profile post-apocalyptic sci-fi series Snowpiercer. Ahead of the Season 1 premiere, WarnerMedia has given an early second season renewal to the series, starring Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, which will move from its current home on TNT to TBS. The first season of Snowpiercer, from ITV-backed Tomorrow Studios, Turner’s Studio T and CJ Entertainment, is now slated to debut in spring of 2020.
The move is part of a broadening of programming flexibility and more integration among the WarnerMedia networks in coordination with its forthcoming streaming service, said Kevin Reilly, President TBS, TNT and Chief Creative Officer Turner and Direct-to-Consumer, at Wednesday’s upfront presentation in New York. As for the networks, “We’re going to be more flexible in our programming strategy to go where the audience is and use every programming tool and asset we have to maximize delivery and connection,” Reilly explained. TBS, TNT and TruTV are stronger if we’re less bound by a single brand position or genre.”
Based on the acclaimed 2013 movie of the same name, Snowpiercer is set more than seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland. It centers on the remnants of humanity, who inhabit a gigantic, perpetually-moving train that circles the globe.
In addition to Connelly and Diggs, season one of Snowpiercer stars Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Susan Park, Iddo Goldberg, Katie McGuinness, Lena Hall, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto, Roberto Urbina, Sheila Vand and Jaylin Fletcher. Rowan Blanchard has been promoted to series regular for season two.
“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. “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 long-gestating series underwent a showrunner change in January 2018 when Josh Friedman, who was an executive producer and wrote the pilot, exited the series, over what was described as creative differences. He was replaced by Orphan Black’s Graeme Manson.
Snowpiercer is produced by Tomorrow Studios (a joint venture between Marty Adelstein and ITV Studios), along with CJ Entertainment, who produced the original film. The series is executive produced by Tomorrow Studios’ Marty Adelstein (Cowboy Bebop, Hanna, Prison Break) and Becky Clements (Good Behavior, Aquarius, Last Man Standing); showrunner Graeme Manson (Orphan Black), who wrote the first episode; director James Hawes (The Alienist, Black Mirror); Matthew O’Connor (Continuum, Tin Man); Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Doctor Strange), and the original film’s producers Bong Joon Ho, Miky Lee, Tae-sung Jeong, Park Chan-wook, Lee Tae-hun and Dooho Choi.