TNT partners with Spielberg for alien-invasion TV series

Basic cable network TNT is going into the sci-fi business with Steven Spielberg and ER's Noah Wyle in an as-yet-untitled alien-invasion series set for 2011.

The network has given the green light to 10 episodes of the new show, which will star Wyle, who has made a mark on TNT in the fantasy Librarian series of movies.

Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) wrote the pilot from an idea he co-conceived with Spielberg (Syfy's Taken), and it was directed by Carl Franklin (One False Move).

Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) also stars.

The series takes place after an apocalyptic invasion of Earth and focuses on a ragtag group of survivors; Wyle plays a former teacher who finds himself caught up in the rebellion.

Following ABC's V, NBC's Day One and the canceled Invasion among similarly themed series, the TNT show will have a lot to live up to. Do you think it will?

(Read more in the edited version of TNT's announcement, below.)

For the latest sci-fi news, follow us on Twitter at @scifiwire
Release Date: 1/21/2010

TNT Aggressively Expands Original Programming Slate by Greenlighting Three New Original Series

Alien Invasion Series Stars Noah Wyle, Produced by DreamWorks Television and Executive-Produced by Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Robert Rodat ...

As part of a continuing strategy to expand its slate of original programming, TNT has given the greenlight to three new original series: a bold alien-invasion series from DreamWorks Television and Steven Spielberg that stars Noah Wyle (ER, TNT's The Librarian movies); DELTA BLUES (working title), an offbeat series starring Jason Lee(My Name Is Earl) and Alfre Woodard (Three Rivers) and produced for TNT by George Clooney and Grant Heslov's Smokehouse Pictures and Warner Horizon Television; and RIZZOLI & ISLES (working title), a crime drama starring Angie Harmon (Law & Order, Women's Murder Club) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS), based on Tess Gerritsen's popular mystery novels and produced for TNT by Warner Horizon Television and Ostar Productions.

TNT's announcement brings to 10 the total number of original series currently on the TNT slate. "We're very happy with the quality and performance of our original programming, and we're excited to be expanding our horizons with these excellent new shows," said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "These three series - ranging from science-fiction to a quirky drama to a gripping crime procedural - are wide ranging in their appeal and subject matter. They're rich in character, with great performances and engaging stories. And with their emphasis on relatable, everyday heroes, they're a great fit with our lineup."

TNT has ordered 10 episodes of each of the three new series, with plans to have DELTA BLUES and RIZZOLI & ISLES premiere in 2010 and the untitled alien-invasion series debut in 2011. TNT's announcement comes on the heels of the network ordering a second season of its acclaimed hit series MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE. Also returning are THE CLOSER, starring Kyra Sedgwick, which will be enjoying its sixth season, and SAVING GRACE, starring Holly Hunter, which will wrap up its third season this year with nine final episodes. HAWTHORNE, starring Jada Pinkett Smith, and DARK BLUE, starring Dylan McDermott, both return for their second seasons. TNT has also ordered a third season of LEVERAGE, starring Timothy Hutton. The network is currently airing SOUTHLAND, with new episodes set to begin in March.

The following are details for each of the three newly greenlit series:

Untitled Alien-Invasion Series

In this series from DreamWorks Television, Noah Wyle will star as the leader of a rag-tag group of soldiers and civilians struggling against an occupying alien force. The project is being executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, along with DreamWorks Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank and screenwriter Robert Rodat. Rodat, who earned an Oscar® nomination for his screenplay for Saving Private Ryan, wrote the pilot from an idea he co-conceived with Spielberg. The pilot was directed by Carl Franklin (One False Move, Out of Time).

"This series has the potential to be one of the most exciting and provocative shows on television," Wright said. "It grabs your heart and mind from the start and doesn't let go. It combines personal human drama with dynamic action to create the kind of series people will be talking about the morning after. We are especially thrilled to be working once again with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television, as well as Noah Wyle and the extremely talented cast of veterans and newcomers around him."

The series opens shortly after aliens have wiped out most of the human population. The aliens are now rounding up the few people left, but they are met with strong resistance from a group of soldiers and civilians who fight for their survival - all while struggling to maintain their humanity.

Wyle plays Tom Mason, a former college history professor who becomes the reluctant leader of one of the resistance groups. Also starring in the series are Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) as Anne Glass, a therapist who works with the surviving children to help them cope with the traumatic situation; Drew Roy (Lincoln Heights) as Hal and Maxim Knight (Brothers & Sisters) as Matt, Tom's two sons; Jessy Schram (Crash) as Karen, who is one of the survivors' motorcycle scouts; and Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds) as Lourdes, an orphaned teenager who helps run the group's commissary.

This project marks Wyle's fifth venture with TNT, following three popular Librarian action-adventure movies and the acclaimed movie Pirates of Silicon Valley. TNT previously worked with DreamWorks Television on 2005's award-winning limited series Into the West. ...

TNT, one of cable's top-rated networks, is television's destination for drama and home to such original series as the acclaimed and highly popular detective drama The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick; Men of a Certain Age, with Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula; Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter; HawthoRNe, with Jada Pinkett Smith; Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton; and Dark Blue, starring Dylan McDermott; as well as the newly acquired Southland, from Emmy®-winning producer John Wells (ER). TNT also presents such powerful dramas as Bones, CSI: NY and Numb3rs; broadcast premiere movies; compelling primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards®; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

More from around the web