UPFRONTS: TNT Moves into Documentaries & TBS Expands with Conan O’Brien


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Cabler TNT is hoping to make big waves in the next year as it made clear at the Turner upfronts presentation, where they unveiled a slate that refocuses the network’s brand on high-end drama series and unscripted that are documentary-centric.

Tony Award-winner Daveed Diggs has joined TNT’s adaptation of Snowpiercer. The project is set seven years after an apocalyptic ice age leaves Earth as a frozen wasteland, Snowpiercer will focus on the survivors who “inhabit a gigantic, perpetually moving train that circles the globe,” per a press release. Diggs has been cast as Layton Well, a “prisoner barely surviving the harsh conditions in the tail end of the train. A quiet thinker who spends his days sniffing the industrial-waste-turned-drug Chronole and tending to his cage full of rats, Layton becomes a reluctant participant in a struggle that could upend life on the train.”

The network is developing and original sci-fi project with Ridley Scott, as well as Highland starring Margaret Cho. On the non-fiction side, TNT is ordering Michael Moore Live from the Apocalypse and Who Run the World? from Sarah Jessica Parker and Morgan Spurlock.

Meanwhile, TBS is continuing to evolve its brand of comedy with talk show host Conan O’Brien showing the network’s ability to grow. In O’Brien’s new deal with TBS, his Conaco LLC will develop content for digital venues, podcasting, mobile , pay , and live tours. The company is currently behind People of Earth and the upcoming Final Space.

TBS has given a straight-to-series order for the anthology comedy Miracle Workers, which stars Daniel Radcliffe and Owen Wilson. The project hails from Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels. The show is a heaven-set workplace comedy based on the Simon Rich’s book What in God’s Name. Radcliffe plays Craig, a low-level angel responsible for handling all of humanity’s prayers, and Wilson will play Craig’s boss, God, who has pretty much checked out to focus on his favorite hobbies. to prevent Earth’s destruction, Craig must achieve his most impossible miracle to date.

Also upcoming is Tracy Morgan’s half-hour series The Last O.G., which has added Cedric the Entertainer to the cast. The show was created by Jordan Peele and John Carcieri and stars Morgan as Tray, an ex-con who is shocked to see just how much the world has changed when he is released on good behavior from a 15-year prison stint. Returning to his newly gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood, he discovers that his former girlfriend, Shay, has married an affable, successful white man who is helping raise Tray’s twin sons who he never knew existed. Wanting nothing more than to connect with his kids, but having neither the money to support them nor himself, Tray falls back on the skills he learned in prison to make ends meet while treading unfamiliar territory.

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