TNT has lined up several heavy hitters -- George Clooney, Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Avnet and "24" co-creator Joel Surnow -- for its next generation of original series.
They're all developing projects for the cable network, which staged its upfront presentation (along with sister networks TBS and truTV) Wednesday in the midst of the broadcast networks' annual pitches to advertisers. TNT's goal is to become a prime-time force in the next few years, offering all original programming three nights a week.
To that end, the network unveiled a sizable list of new projects, including one that Wahlberg ("Boomtown," Spike TV's "The Kill Point") will likely star in (he's also executive producing). "Morse Code" is about a war hero who returns to his hometown of Boston to work for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
"Law & Order" veteran Walon Green is writing the pilot and will also exec produce, as will director Jon Avnet ("The Starter Wife," "88 Minutes").
Among the other TNT projects in development are "Delta Blues," about a Memphis cop/Elvis impersonator that Clooney and partner Grant Heslov are exec producing; the Surnow project, which follows the life and career of an ATF agent; and a family drama from "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Aliens in America" scribe Rob Ulin.
The new projects follow on the heels of three series pickups TNT has made in recent months: "Leverage," which stars Timothy Hutton; "Truth in Advertising," with Tom Cavanagh and Eric McCormack; and the Steven Bochco legal show "Raising the Bar."
TBS, meanwhile, has ordered 26 more episodes of its sitcom "House of Payne" and is working on a single-camera comedy that will star and be written by William H. Macy and a sketch-comedy show from Jerry Zucker ("Airplane!," "The Naked Gun"). The channel is also developing a handful of late-night shows, including one called "Top Ten" that puts comedians in competition with one another. It comes from "Daily Show" co-creator Madeleine Smithberg.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times