True Blood will push the basic cable envelope this weekend when an edited version of HBO’s famously gratuitous series joins the TNT lineup.
The somewhat surprising move is part of Warner Bros. Discovery’s latest strategy to attract new audiences using existing IP. Along with True Blood coming to TNT, edited episodes of HBO comedy Silicon Valley will also begin airing on TBS, our sister publication Variety reports.
“We have an enviable arsenal of networks and assets which gives us flexibility and allows us to put our impressive content library to work on platforms where it can attract new audiences,” Kathleen Finch, chairman and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Discovery’s U.S. Networks Group, tells Variety. “On any given night 30 percent of the available cable audience is watching one of our networks — on average that’s more than 86 million viewers a week — so our ability to move content around and promote to and engage that huge audience strengthens our hand in an evolving business.”
Both shows will debut on their respective channels after the NBA All-Star Game on Saturday, Feb. 18. They will then move to their regular time periods — Silicon Valley will air Sundays at 10 pm on TBS, while True Blood will air Mondays at 10 pm on TNT.
The shows will be edited for time and content, similarly to how episodes of Sex and the City were made appropriate for basic cable back in 2003. In addition to making time for commercials, it’s also likely that some elements — nudity, violence and language — will be toned down to fit the standards of basic cable, though both shows will still air with TV-MA ratings.
True Blood, which aired for seven seasons (2008–2014) on HBO, follows the exploits of psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and the other supernatural residents of a sleepy Louisiana town — most notably vampires Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard).
As TVLine exclusively reported, a reboot of True Blood has been in the works since December 2020, with Riverdale boss Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa originally attached as an executive producer alongside original True Blood creator Alan Ball.
“There’s been multiple versions of it,” Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys told TVLine when we asked for an update on the reboot‘s status in February 2022. “I don’t know that we’ve landed on the one. I don’t want to give you the impression that it’s anything close to [getting a green light].”
Tech comedy Silicon Valley aired for six seasons (2014–2019), boasting a cast that included Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani and Zach Woods.
Are you curious to see how True Blood and Silicon Valley will translate to basic cable? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.