The Telefile
TNT & TBS Upfront 2013: Reaping What Other Networks Sowed

Turner has a winning formula: Use a lot of ampersands, play a ton of sports and, when in doubt, take creative teams, actors, plots and sometimes entire series (new episode or syndicated -- either will do!) from other networks and air that. It may feel cheap, but based on the number of completely original new shows that bombed from the 2012 development slate, it's not the worst idea in the world... that would be cancelling Southland. Anyway, my personal bitterness aside, some of the new series really do look great. Below are the ones the upfront audience actually got to see, in order of best to worst:


Lost Angels (Late 2013)
Formerly L.A. Noir and painfully not titled Lost Angeles, this is not a remake of the 1989 Donald Sutherland film, but rather, Frank Darabont's (The Shawshank Redmption, The Green Mile and of course The Walking Dead) true-story-based series on the LAPD's battle with Mickey Cohen's criminal ring in the '40s and '50s. Starring Shane Jon Bernthal, Jess Milo Ventimiglia, Dale Jeffrey DeMunn, Gwen Raiden Alexa Davalos, SUPER CREEP Neal McDonough and Too Many Things to Link Ron Rifkin, the cast is outstanding. The trailer looked pretty awesome too -- more Boardwalk Empire than Magic City.

The Last Ship (2014)
From Michael Bay and starring Eric Dane (Grey's Anatomy), this Navy-centric series shockingly (and thankfully) shares very little with ABC's axed Last Resort beyond the boats. Instead, based on a novel of the same name, this Last Ship is a post-apocalyptic series about a remote crew who learns that the mainland world has gone to hell, and they're the few survivors. Fun stuff, honestly.

Legends (2014)
Sean Bean leads this one, executive-produced by Homeland's Howard Gordon. Frankly, the trailer made it seem ridiculously generic, but the basic premise is that Bean plays an undercover agent working for the FBI's Deep Cover Operations who transforms himself so well that he's began questioning his own identity. Bourne meets Memento, perhaps?

Cold Justice (Tuesday, September 3)
A reality procedural series starring former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and crime-scene investigator (who inspired the role of CSI's Catherine Willows) Yolanda McClary as they solve cold case files and kick just a ton of ass.

King & Maxwell (Monday, June 10)
She (Rebecca Romijn) is a hard-ass! He (Jon Tenney) is a goofball! Each week, these former-Secret -Service-agents-turned-private-investigators get themselves into all kinds of trouble! Kitschy enough to work, if not predictably on-brand.

The Hero (June 6)
I guess I should mention that The Rock is doing a reality competition where "America" chooses the ultimate "hero" a.k.a. person who is willing to do the most obviously non-lethal physical challenges.

There were some less (if at all) hyped unscripted series, including: 72 Hours... it sounds intense; S.O.B. (Save Our Business), which sounds like every other generic takeover reality series; Life Flight about air-paramedics; Nashville Confidential, which is sadly not at all related the ABC's Nashville; and Inside Job about getting a job or something, whatever -- see how well that worked for CBS.


Deal With It (Tuesday, July 16)
A hidden-camera competition hosted by Theo Von and executive-produced by Howie Mandel, and hey why did you stop reading this?

Ground Floor (2014)
From Bill Lawrence, Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect, or, to me, "the guy who went down on Shoshanna on Girls") plays a successful finance hot shot who falls for a lady who works in his company's zany support staff. I can't stand Scrubs' John C. McGinley, but he costars as well and seems to be a selling point for TBS. I realize this sounds horribly contrived, but the trailer made Ground Floor look better than most of the crap I've seen in the networks' upfronts -- though to be clear, that is saying very, very little.

The CeeLo Life (2014)
A reality show about CeeLo Green and his crew. At least Carson Daly won't be in it, right?

Untitled Pete Holmes Late Night Show (November 2013)
We adore Holmes here at TWoP thanks to his You Made It Weird podcast, so we're looking forward to seeing him try out late night. Conan O'Brien produced his series, which must be worth some cred.

These unscripted shows are also on the lineup, but I know very little about them after the presentation: Bam's Bad Ass Game Show, which won't be nearly as good as Steve-O's Killer Karaoke; Trust Me, I'm a Game Show Host from Mark Burnett and starring D.L. Hughley and Michael Ian Black; Who Gets the Last Laugh? "from the creators of Punk'd"; and Deon Cole's Black Box, TBS's shot at a pop culture show.

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