Turner Network Television (TNT) builds on its legacy of critically acclaimed original film productions that have included, most recently, Hope, Buffalo Soldiers and the CableAce and Golden Globe Award-winning George Wallace with twice as many high-profile TNT Originals and series as the network has ever premiered before. The TNT Originals and series production slate for 1998-'99 was announced today by Julie Weitz, executive vice president of original programming, TNT.
- Executive producers Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Quincy Jones bring to TNT PASSING GLORY, the true-story of an idealistic young black priest who uses the basketball court to challenge the social conventions of a segregationist town. The two-hour film is a co-production of Magic Johnson Entertainment and Quincy Jones Entertainment from two scripts by Academy Award" nominee John Sayles (Lone Star, Passion Fish, Eight Men Out) and Harold Sylvester.
- Based on the book Fire in the Valley by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swain, TRIUMPH OF THE GEEKS is the fascinating, funny and unforgettable true-story of the remarkable visionaries whose battle to rule the fledgling computer empire changed the world. Steven Haft (Dead Poets Society, Emma) will executive-produce the script by Joseph Dougherty and Martyn Burke (The Second Civil War, Pentagon Wars, Animal Farm), who is also set to direct the Haft Entertainment production.
- A high-profile murder case throws two legal eagles-one a seasoned pro and the other an idealistic rookie-into the media spotlight in the TNT Original film LEGALESE, starring James Garner (Twilight, My Fellow Americans, Maverick), Kathleen Turner (War of the Roses, Romancing the Stone) and Gina Gershon (Palmetto, Face/Off, Bound). A New Line Television Production , the film will be produced by J. Paul Higgins (Truth or Consequences, N.M.). Glenn Jordan (Barbarians at the Gate, The Promise) will direct the script by Billy Ray.
- A Capra-esque tale of a man disillusioned by life who dreams of saving the world-and a rooster seemingly sent from the heavens to help him-comes to TNT as FRED THE ROOSTER. Craig Baumgarten and Reuben Cannon will produce the Citadel Entertainment production with executive producer David Ginsburg.
- The moving portrait of a black man's exploration of his white Jewish mother's buried past comes to TNT as the original film THE COLOR OF WATER. The film is based on James McBride's best-selling memoir. Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury, whose credits include How to Make an American Quilt, And the Band Played On, Desperately Seeking Susan and Eight Men Out, will executive-produce the film for Sanford/Pillsbury Inc. McBride will adapt his book for the production.
- The amazing true story of courage and ingenuity is the subject of the original film THE HUNLEY. John Gray (The Day Lincoln Was Shot, Glimmer Man) will direct the Adelson Entertainment (Hiroshima, I Know My First Name is Steven) production from his script. The year is 1863. Civil war has ravaged the South, and Charleston lays in ruins. A secret weapon-the first submersible vessel-is the last hope for the Confederates stranded within the Union's blockade. Numerous attempts to use the submarine failed, resulting in the death of twenty men, including its inventor, Horace L. Hunley. The invention seems like a failure until a brave young lieutenant, George Dixon, steps forward to lead a desperate effort to commandeer the Hunley and strike a blow against the Union blockade.
- The dramatic true story of African American sailors who defied their commanding officers by refusing to perform life-threatening duties during World War II, and paid for it with their freedom, comes to TNT as the original film PORT CHICAGO MUTINY. Fifty brave men who stood their ground against orders to continue the deadly work of loading ammunition onto Pacific bound ships were charged with mutiny and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Paula Weinstein will executive-produce the Spring Creek Productions film.
- TNT chronicles the dramatic, true story of a daring group of women who joined the ranks of the Women's Air Force Services Pilots (WASPS) and overcame all obstacles to fight for the right to defend their country during World War II, in the original film WOMEN OF COURAGE. Stuart and Alise Benjamin (La Bamba, Everybody's All American) will executive-produce the two-hour drama.
- The riveting true story of the largest cash robbery in Unites States history is the subject of the original film THE HEIST. When washed-up mobster Jimmy Burke coerces his son Frankie to help pull off "The Crime Of The Century"-the theft of $8 million dollars from JFK airport-everyone wants a piece of the action. A complex web of betrayal, deceit and murder lead a FBI agent on a search for justice that challenges the bonds of family and the power of friendship. Gary Hoffman (Bastard Out Of Carolina) will executive-produce the film. Jere Cunningham adapted the story from the novel by Ernest Volkman and John Cummings.
- PURGATORY WEST OF THE PECOS is a surprising western thriller that takes place in a deceptively quiet town, where the citizens are not who they seem. This unusual twist on good vs. evil stars Sam Shepard (The Pelican Brief, The Right Stuff) and Eric Roberts (It's My Party, The Pope of Greenwich Village). David Rosemont will executive-produce the two-hour period drama, scripted by Gordon Dawson (Into the Badlands, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia) for Rosemont Productions.
- Jonathan Schaech (Hush, That Thing You Do!, How To Make An American Quilt) stars as Harry Houdini, the amazing magician and escape artist who mesmerized the world with his thrilling and dangerous performances in the TNT Original HOUDINI. Houdini spent his career suspended from bridges, strapped in straight jackets and buried in coffins, but he could never escape the dark side that cast a shadow on his personal life. Richard Barton Lewis, Pen Densham and John Watson, partners of Trilogy Entertainment Group (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Backdraft, Buffalo Soldiers) will executive-produce this two-hour film, with Trilogy partner Densham (Moll Flanders) directing from the script he wrote. (previously announced)
- ANIMAL FARM, the George Orwell novel that remains one of the most controversial, widely read books ever written, will come to life under the direction of John Stephenson of Jim Henson's Creature Shop. ANIMAL FARM chronicles an uprising of farm animals against their human masters and is considered one of this century's literary masterpieces. The film will be executive-produced by Robert Halmi, Sr., the chairman of Hallmark Entertainment. (previously announced)
- Based on Stephen E. Ambrose's epic recounting of the heroic exploits of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, UNDAUNTED COURAGE will be executive-produced by Robert Halmi, Sr., the chairman of Hallmark Entertainment. The film is a co-production of Hallmark Entertainment and National Geographic. (previously announced)
- TNT has entered into a three-picture production deal with Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights) to star in a trilogy of movies for Larry Levinson Productions and TNT Original films. HARD TIME is the first of the franchise, about a veteran ex-cop/ex-con. Levinson will executive-produce the films, in association with Frankfurter Filmproduktion and Degeto Film. Reynolds will also direct. Principal photography is set to begin this May. (previously announced)
- An ancient vault filled with relics believed to hold the secret to eternal life is the centerpiece of the two-hour film BABYLON 5: The River of Souls. Martin Sheen (The American President, Apocalypse Now), Ian McShane and series stars Tracy Scoggins, Jerry Doyle, Richard Biggs and Jeff Conaway will headline TNT's third BABYLON 5 full-length movie. Douglas Netter and series creator J. Michael Straczynski will executive-produce the two-hour film from the script by Straczynski. The film is a production of Babylonian Productions and licensed by Warner Bros. (previously announced)
- The story of the central figure of the Christian faith, known as the son of God and the Messiah, will air as a two-part miniseries titled JESUS. The film is an international co-production of TNT and LUX, the Italian independent production company; Germany's BetaTaurus; and the Italian network RAI. The film will be executive-produced by Lorenzo Minoli and Judd Parkin. (previously announced)
- A suspenseful treasure hunt played out in the post-Civil War western badlands sets the scene for the upcoming TNT Original film A DOLLAR FOR THE DEAD, starring Emilio Estevez (The War at Home, Stakeout, Young Guns), William Forsythe (Firestorm, The Rock, Raising Arizona) and Howie Long (Firestorm, Broken Arrow). The film re-united members of the crew of legendary director Sergio Leoni (A Fistful of Dollars, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) in Almeria and Madrid, Spain, when it began production in mid-March. Stanley M. Brooks (Christmas in Connecticut, Too Close to Home) executive-produces the two-hour drama, with Gene Quintano (Sudden Death, The Quest, Operation Dumbo Drop) directing from his original script. The film is a co-production of TNT, Once Upon a Time Films, Endemol Entertainment International and Enrique Cerezo Producciones Cinematograficas. (previously announced)
- From J. Michael Straczynski, creator of the Hugo and Emmy award-winning series BABYLON 5, comes CRUSADE, an all-new original series from TNT. With the threat of the Shadows gone, all is quiet on Earth-too quiet. An alien race vows revenge for the loss of the Shadows and aim their wrath at Humans unleashing a deadly biogenetic plague. Only five years remain for the inhabitants of Earth unless an Alliance ship, the Excalibur, succeeds in its quest to find a cure for the mutating plague. CRUSADE launches with the spectacular two-hour TNT original film A Call To Arms. Douglas Netter and series creator J. Michael Straczynski will executive-produce both projects for Babylonian Productions. Warner Bros. licensed the series and film.
- From Academy Award"-winning director and producer Oliver Stone comes an exciting, all-new TNT-exclusive action/adventure series. In the tradition of Batman, Darkman and Spawn, WITCHBLADE is a mesmerizing story of a New York detective, Sara Pezzani, whose relentless search for justice brings her into contact with an ancient, intelligent, living weapon. Throughout the ages the Witchblade has chosen women of great fortitude, intellect and beauty to be its host in order to battle Earth's darkest evil forces. For years, the powerful Witchblade has lain dormant, but its powers are awakened when it comes into contact with the mortally wounded Sara, healing her as it binds its powerful will within her. WITCHBLADE launches with the premiere of a two-hour movie adventure in early 1999.
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