Starting this summer, TBS and TNT will be the first major entertainment networks to stream all on-air content — so subscribers can watch the channels, live, on any mobile device.
“Tablets and smartphones become television sets,” explained Turner Entertainment Networks Steve Koonin, in an announcement released as he was on stage at the Turner upfront presentation in New York City.
The live streaming will kick off timed with the debut of TBS and TNT’s summer programming. And in perhaps more exciting for some viewers, all regular and post-season games of the network’s NBA and Major League Baseball coverage will also be available live.
Meanwhile, on stage at the upfront presentation, Koonin took on the challenge to make his network’s presentation stand out from the multiple broadcast upfronts going on this week; this meant hiring three actors, dressed to look like Koonin, perform backflip stunts, ride a unicycle, and break dance.
In addition, (though how can you really top a unicyclist?) the audience was treated to brief glimpses from network stars: the casts of TBS comedies “Cougar Town,” “Men at Work” and “Sullivan and Son,” plus TNT dramas “Falling Skies,” “Franklin and Bash,” “Perception” and more. Will Ferrell and and Charles Barkley appeared in a too-long taped bit in which Will Ferrell — whose “Funny or Die” company has a partnership with Turner — pretended to take over the company, installing Barkley — a commentator for TNT basketball — as president of TBS.
Michael Wright, Turner’s head of original programming, introduced clips of upcoming programming, from Michael Bay’s drama “The Last Ship,” Frank Darabont’s film noir-esque “Lost Angels,” and “Legends,” a spy show from Howard Gordon and the “Homeland” team. He boasted about TNT’s attempt to branch into reality shows, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s upcoming physical competition series, “The Hero.”
Johnson, who apparently couldn’t make it to New York, appeared in a brief video clip to talk about his show. This was of much amusement to TBS late-night Conan O’Brien, who showed up toward the end of the presentation to banter about how early it was (11 a.m.) and how the advertisers should just give the network their money so everyone could just go home.
“When do I get to send a tape like The Rock?” he snarked. “That’s [expletive]. He made that two blocks from here, 10 minutes ago.”
Conan also managed to crack a joke about D.C., noting that Washington recently got involved with a hot-button topic in the television world.
“John McCain is proposing a bill where customers can purchase cable channels a la carte,” Conan said, adding that McCain asked, “Why should I pay for 100 channels when I only watch Logo and BET?”
Read more 2013 upfront coverage:
Video: A look at ABC’s new series
Blog: ABC’s 2013-2014 schedule
Video: A look at Fox’s new series
Blog: Fox’s 2013-2014 schedule
Video: A look at NBC’s new series
Blog: NBC’s 2013-2014 schedule