Warner Bros. Discovery officially ends TBS/TNT scripted show development

WarnerMedia hadn’t debuted a new scripted series on either network in three years.
TBS and TNT will no longer release original scripted programming. Among their current offerings: TNT's "Snowpiercer" and TBS's "The Last O.G." TNT/TBS

Credit: TNT/RBS

Credit: TNT/RBS

TBS and TNT will no longer release original scripted programming. Among their current offerings: TNT's "Snowpiercer" and TBS's "The Last O.G." TNT/TBS

In May of 2019, TBS greenlit a new scripted comedy “Chad” starring Nasim Pedrad and a new drama “Snowpiercer” featuring Jennifer Connelly that would later move to TNT.

That was the last time either TBS or TNT would announce a new scripted program that has actually made it on air. Three years later, under new ownership with Discovery, Variety confirmed that there would be no more new scripted shows on either network.

These two networks were nurtured and built originally by Ted Turner in Atlanta. Currently, programming decisions for both networks are made out of Los Angeles and New York.

It’s clear WarnerMedia before Discovery even came along to create Warner Bros. Discovery was already focused on building its two-year-old streaming service HBO Max rather than feeding scripted content to its cable networks. Series such as “Made for Love” or “The Flight Attendant” ended up on HBO Max rather than the cable networks.

Last year, TBS did announce a reboot of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” but it has yet to go into production and it’s unclear if or when it will. A drama “Obliterated” was also announced on TBS in 2019 that never came to fruition. (UPDATE 5/2: The series is moving to Netflix.)

TNT, which for many years was focused on drama under Atlanta’s Steve Koonin, generated one breakout hit during its heyday: Kyra Sedgwick’s “The Closer,” followed by the spin-off “Major Crimes.”

Other notable TNT series over the years included Holly Hunter’s “Saving Grace” (2007-2010), Timothy Hutton’s “Leverage” (2008-2012), Angie Harmon’s “Rizzoli & Isles” and a reboot of “Dallas” featuring many of the original stars (2012-2014). More recently, the network had success with Eric Dane’s “The Last Ship” (2014-2018) and Niecy Nash’s recently ended “Claws” (2018-2022).

Only two original scripted series remain on TNT: Ellen Barkin’s “Animal Kingdom,” which wraps its fifth and final season this summer, and “Snowpiercer,” which has a fourth season forthcoming.

TBS spent most of the latter 2000s and early 2010s focused on comedy under Koonin. The network in 2005 and 2006 came out with “10 Items or Less,” “The Bill Engvall Show” and “My Boys,” shows that are now largely forgotten, though “My Boys” did introduce the world to Jim Gaffigan. The network more notably was the first one to give Tyler Perry a chance by airing his first few scripted shows including “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns” before Perry moved to OWN.

Its scripted comedy efforts in the 2010s were a mixed bag. TBS picked up Courteney Cox’s “Cougar Town” from ABC in 2013 and revived Fox’s animated series “American Dad” in 2014. The critically acclaimed “Search Party” debuted in 2016 but later moved to HBO Max. “The Last O.G.” starring Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish in 2018 generated plenty of buzz over four seasons (and has now been canceled) and “Miracle Workers,” a quirky show featuring Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi in very different settings each season, remains on the schedule and a fourth season is expected.

WarnerMedia also largely stopped feeding new programming to truTV, which now runs seemingly endless marathons of “Impractical Jokers” and not much else. Its last new program was “Fast Foodies,” a reality cooking competition show, which first debuted in early 2021. The network barely dabbled in scripted programming over the years, most notably “Those Who Can’t,” focused on a group of dysfunctional teachers, from 2016 to 2019.

In recent years, other basic cable networks such as VH1, MTV, TLC, A&E and USA have dropped original scripted programming, which is generally pricier than unscripted shows, as more eyeballs have gone to streaming services.