TNT day at TCA: Mark-Paul Gosselaar back as a lawyer, and Noah Wyle fights aliens with machine guns!
Image Credit: Mark Hill/TNT
The producers of TNT’s new dramedy Franklin & Bash reassured TV critics Thursday in Pasadena, Calif., that the show debuting in June is “not an ambulance-chasing” ditty about the legal system and will actually tout serious moments as it tells the story of two rogue lawyers played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer. The show also features Malcolm McDowell as the patriarch of a white collar law firm who recruits the two men.
“We’re trying really hard to have cases where you root for people,” said executive producer Bill Chais. “These aren’t sleazy cases. They are cases that mainstream lawyers wouldn’t take because the obvious pot of gold isn’t there.”
Still, the comedy plays a major role, which is what inspired the producers to develop Franklin & Bash in the first place. “We’re big fans of the bromance genre, that subversive quality of the Judd Apatow films,” says Chais. Just don’t go comparing it to Gosselaar’s last TNT show, Raising the Bar, from Steve Bochco. “I don’t see the similarities,” said Gosselaar. “This to me feels like a completely different show. This is a much fresher idea.”
Image Credit: Ken Woroner/TNTFringe, FlashForward, V, and now… Falling Skies, another genre show about an alien invasion (and the regular people who battle them) that’ll bow on TNT in June. But TBS/TNT chief Michael Wright is not discouraged about the low ratings that continue to plague other high-concept series on broadcast as he prepares to launch Skies, which stars Noah Wyle (ER) and Moon Bloodgood (Journeyman). “Every show gives you pause, but there is an inherent relatability to this, which informs what series we choose,” Wright says. “What’s driving the story is the need to hang onto your humanity during incredibly tough circumstances — which is as relatable as it gets.”
Adds Darryl Frank from DreamWorks TV, which is producing the show, “It’s a duel franchise. It’s a family show. What we are trying to do here is not just sci-fi, but a show about characters.”
That said, there is plenty of action and gun-play against those flying species — something that certainly appealed to Wyle. “It’s the most physically demanding work I’ve done in my life,” he says. “Half the reason we decided to do this show is to look slightly heroic to my 8-year-old son. Using machine guns to fight aliens is half the fun.”
The producers didn’t want to share too many spoilers about the alien visitors and the citizen soldiers who protect the people against the insurgency, but they did promise that DreamWorks’ Steven Spielberg had a big say on the actual look of the out-of-this-world baddos. “We can’t overstate how involved Steven was in creation of the aliens,” says Frank. “He would weigh in on the amount of dust coming from a footstep.”
Image Credit: Art Streiber/TNTDuring a panel for Men of the Certain Age, TNT’s cult hit that stars Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula, Wright acknowledged that ratings may be down in the second season but it’s one show that can continue to exist without a huge audience. (And just for the record, it averages over 900,000 weekly viewers between the age of 25 and 54).
“We are running six episodes now and will come back and do six in the summer to see how that works,” Wright said. ” We couldn’t be happier with the show. We look for a lot of different metrics on TNT. Obviously we want big ratings success, but we also want attention and good reviews from critics. This show works on a lot of levels for us.”
Wright added that the show sells out weekly with advertisers.