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TNT and TBS gear up for the content wars with new series, big changes

For TV networks, now more than ever, content is king. With more cable networks than ever before, as well as Netflix, Amazon, and a host of other Web services creating acclaimed series, competition has never been more fierce. So it comes as no surprise that in the upfronts, Turner confirmed that TNT and TBS would be ramping things up going forward, including doubling the number of original series the networks offer over the next three years, as reported by Variety.

Not only will there be more content, but Turner Chief Content Officer and President of TNT and TBS Kevin Reilly said that we’ll see a “big shift” in the tone of the latter network. Most known for hosting sitcoms, including a steady stream of repeats of Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory, TBS will add content like live-action comedies, original animation, late night talk show programming, more sports, and “big unscripted ideas with attitude.”

Related: Where’s my CNN? Dish subscribers lose channels over Turner contract dispute 

Already confirmed for TBS is Wrecked, a 10-episode program that follows a group of strangers who become stranded on a remote island and must fend for themselves. The network will also be airing the pilot episode of The Group which involves a support group of alien abductees, and is produced by Greg Daniels (The Office), and also boast Conan O’Brien’s Conaco banner behind it.

Meanwhile, over at TNT, there will be a more subtle shift, with some more “daring shows” that Reilly warns may not appeal to its current viewer base. Clearly, the attempt is to attract new, younger viewers with edgier content. But a balance will certainly be needed to avoid turning off the existing ones. TNT currently airs mostly dramas, sports, and si-fi/mystery/suspense programming that would most likely appeals to an older demographic, like Castle, Bones, and Law & Order.

Ordered for TNT are two new pilots: Animal Kingdom, a crime drama based on an Australian movie of the same name that takes place within the surfing community; and Will, a show that delves into the wild, early times of William Shakespeare. TNT will also present an eight-part murder mystery series called The Alienist by Cary Fukunaga of True Detective fame and based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name by Caleb Carr.

While Reilly calls the shift at TNT simply an “evolution,” the new Content chief calls his plans for TBS a “revolution.”