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TBS Superstation dumps original movie division to focus on new unscripted series

By Reality TV World staff, 08/25/2003 

Count TBS Superstation as having climbed aboard the unscripted television bandwagon. According a Hollywood Reporter story, TBS Superstation is getting out of the original movie business, dismissing the division's top executives, and moving its focus onto developing original nonscripted prime-time series.

"We felt we had a better idea about investing our dollars," said Steve Koonin, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Turner Entertainment Group. "We want to [TBS to] become an active player in the light entertainment/reality business." Koonin is the same Turner Entertainment Group executive credited with turning the company's TNT cable channel into a destination for dramas. He added TBS to his list of responsibilities back in April (which is likely not coincidently around the same time as TBS announced plans for its first reality series -- "House Rules.")

Despite receiving great ratings on their original movies, Koonin believes that TBS must subsist only on programming that reinforces the new brand identity. TBS has long been criticized for being an ill-defined jumble of syndicated sitcoms, Atlanta Braves baseball, and movies. With the original movies now gone, Koonin hopes to focus around the network's core strength of syndicated sitcoms that have dramatically lowered the median age of its viewership

To complement its core strength, Koonin wants to add new series in the vein of "Punk'd" or "Survivor," which can attract a like-minded young viewership. "TBS has a lot of comedies that do extremely well," Koonin said. "We believe light entertainment/reality is more compatible than movies."

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