The players: Time Warner's entertainment nets TBS and TNT
Key executives: Mark Lazarus, president, Turner Entertainment Group; David Levy, president, Turner Broadcasting Sales and Turner Sports; Linda Yaccarino, exec VP, Turner Entertainment ad sales and marketing
The ratings game: In 2006, TNT fell to No. 2 (behind USA) in prime-time ratings for adults 18-49 and total viewers. Also in prime time, TBS' comedy lineup continued to rank higher than Viacom's MTV and Comedy Central among 18-to-34-year-olds during the same daypart in 2006. Meanwhile, Court TV enjoyed the strongest ratings year in its history.
What you'll hear: TNT and TBS are the fifth- and sixth-ranked networks in terms of reach. TNT's "The Closer" became ad-supported cable's No. 1 original series of all time in households and total viewers in its second season. TBS has a hit with its original comedy "My Boys."
The digital play: Turner launched a new dedicated broadband site, Super Deluxe, that hosts subversively humorous content for the 18-to-34-year-old demo. Also, TNT now has Dramavision at tnt.tv.
Last year's upfront: Turner turned several of its upfront deals into branded entertainment: TBS' microseries "Lovebites" was made in conjunction with Unilever, and TNT's "Change of Plans" was sponsored by Chase.
The buyer's verdict: Peter Knobloch, president of R. J. Palmer, lauded Turner's Mr. Lazarus. "He's in a position to serve the marketplace a little differently than some of the other heads of networks. To a large degree they're one of the more aggressive sales operations out there. If they do things the way they've historically done them, they'll be bullish, go in early and write a bunch of business."