Charles Barkley has agreed to a 10-year deal with TNT that is expected to be worth well north of nine figures. The exact amount Barkley will make is not yet known if he fulfills the entire contract, but it will be well in excess of $100 million and could approach $200 million. Barkley could decide to retire from TV before the deal ends.
Adrienne O’Riain is leaving the Turner networks after 11 years, most recently as SVP, original programming for TNT, TBS and truTV, serving as co-head of scripted development for the TNets. O’Riain is the latest senior programming executive to leave the TNets following the Discovery-WarnerMedia merger as WarnerMedia’s ad-supported entertainment linear networks became one of the first cost-saving targets for the new regime.
Warner Bros. Discovery’s U.S. Networks Group will be reorganized under Kathleen Finch, chairman and chief content officer, with long-time Discovery executive Nancy Daniels adding responsibility for TBS, TNT and truTV. Those former Turner networks had been overseen by Brett Weitz, who is leaving WBD, the company confirmed.
The exec had been with the so-called “TNets” for 14 years, with the linear networks now under the oversight of Discovery’s Kathleen Finch.
After 25 years, the TNets are consciously uncoupling from the Screen Actors Guild. TNT and TBS will no longer air the SAG Awards. (The kudoscast had aired on TNT since 1998, while sister network TBS began simulcasting the event in 2007.)
TNT and TBS are moving out of the scripted game under new parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, which CEO David Zaslav has promised will find $3 billion in cost savings across the new company in the post-merger era. The WarnerMedia-run cable channels will no longer develop new scripted content, three sources close to the matter tell Variety. It is unclear what will happen to TBS and TNT’s current slate of scripted programming.
Riding a hot sports market after a regular season in which ratings were up 19%, Disney Ad Sales and Turner Sports report high demand and near sellouts for the NBA playoffs, which started Tuesday night on TNT.
HBO Max, TNT and TBS will air U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Team matches beginning in 2023 in an eight-year deal. About half of the matches will stream on HBO Max and air on TV, with the rest exclusive to the streaming platform.
Turner Sports is embracing the multicast for its coverage of the NBA All-Star Game. Sunday’s game will feature two separate feeds — the traditional telecast on TNT, and an alternate one on TBS that Turner is calling Inside the All-Star Game, anchored by its Inside the NBA crew of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who signed a unique deal with Turner Sports in January, will also contribute to the TBS telecast.
Although NBA Finals viewing was up from a year ago, it was down big time from 2019 — registering the fourth-least-watched NBA Finals ever, according to Nielsen data. The silver lining is that streaming data showed continued growth.
ESPN will retake the ice for the first time since 2004 when it airs an NHL opening-night doubleheader in the fall. And the league’s other new TV partner, Turner Sports, also revealed its inaugural games on TNT. The league unveiled its 82-game 2021-22 regular-season schedule today
National Basketball Association broadcasting legend Marv Albert signed off for the final time on July 4, his final words a simple “good night” to his legion of fans. Albert, whose 55-year-career was punctuated by his trademark “Yes!” call when someone made a crucial jump shot, finished his career with TNT, as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony airing at 9 p.m. ET on TNT and TBS will be taped, bowing to the pandemic that has upended the entertainment industry’s awards season. For the SAG honors, the challenge became how to evoke the tradition of ceremonies past.
TNT dramedy Claws has paused filming its fourth and final season for the next 14 days due to a team member testing positive for COVID-19. According to sources, the asymptomatic diagnosis was confirmed as a result of required and ongoing testing for all employees on productions of Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind Claws.
The AT&T-owned company is seeking to reduce costs by as much as 20% as the pandemic drains income from movie tickets, cable subscriptions and TV ads, according to people familiar with the matter.
Kenny Smith, one of the hosts of TNT’s Inside the NBA, walked off the set of the show on Wednesday night. Smith did so to show solidarity with the Milwaukee Bucks and other NBA players who are boycotting their playoff games following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
The NBA All-Star Game on TNT will include a commercial-free fourth quarter as part of a new format aimed at honoring the late Kobe Bryant. The sportscast will air on WarnerMedia’s TNT at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 16.
Although early-season NBA TV ratings have been mediocre at best, Turner’s TNT network has seen strong advertising results in terms of revenue, new advertisers, and pricing — for regular-season games so far, and for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game. TNT has earned low double-digit percentage hikes for the cost-per-thousand viewers for the regular-season games — and for the All-Star Game — according to media-buying executives.
The march to the launch of HBO Max in May is driving changes across WarnerMedia. John Stankey, AT&T chief operating officer and WarnerMedia chairman, told investors on Wednesday that cable powerhouses TNT and TBS will lean into more unscripted programming as WarnerMedia steers its investment in high-end scripted programming to the nascent subscription streaming platform.
The NBA is throwing up bricks in national TV ratings over the first quarter of the regular season. A combination of big stars being absent from national telecasts, a marquee team mostly missing from the league’s two biggest broadcast partners and the fall of a recent dynasty have all factored into the drop. But there’s still time for the league to find its touch.
The upstart promotion’s Dynamite premiere pulled in solid numbers Wednesday, beating USA’s NXT head to head.
TNT’s AEW Dynamite debuted Wednesday night live from Washington, D.C.’s Capital One Arena. (The show will broadcast from different cities each week.) AEW stands for All Elite Wrestling, the buzziest and most audacious promotion to put its hat in the ring in at least a generation.
Following through on plans articulated at TCA winter press tour, WarnerMedia emphasized its new strategic direction during a brisk upfront pitch, highlighting a more blended approach to the formerly drama-centric TNT and comedy-focused TBS.
As the NBA post-season action gets underway, strong demand has already gobbled up between 85% and 95% of the inventory on ESPN, ABC and Turner’s TNT with percentage rate increases over last year in the high single digits, according to time buyers and sellers.