- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2011

DETROIT (AP) - The Motor City is getting another shot at small-screen exposure: Cable network TNT is developing a show created by Detroit newspaper columnist, author and radio host Mitch Albom.

The same week that ABC officially canceled crime drama “Detroit 1-8-7,” TNT announced plans for the untitled hourlong Albom show as part of a slate of projects during its upfront presentation in New York. That’s when networks present schedules to prospective advertisers.

TNT described the show as set in a Motor City radio station and “following a station manager who, against his wishes, returns home to try and breathe life into his struggling city.”

Albom, who is best known for “Tuesdays with Morrie,” a memoir that sold millions and spawned a made-for-TV movie, said he’s writing the pilot and expects it to debut sometime next year. He described it as a comedy with some drama.

“I also like the idea that it’s a comedy, first and foremost,” Albom told The Associated Press. “I’ve written a lot of things that are very serious, about death and dying. … It’s about life, not necessarily the meaning of life.”

Albom said the show will draw on his experiences working at Detroit radio stations, and the Philadelphia native wanted the show to be about the adopted city he has embraced.

“It really is a Detroit story,” he said. “There’s a sweetness to the story about how people stay in Detroit … and their love of hometown. The guy who left sort of gets lassoed back in, like Jimmy Stewart in `It’s a Wonderful Life.’”

Still, Albom said it’s unlikely the show will be filmed in Detroit, as “Detroit 1-8-7” was, because of the state governor’s proposal to change a program that offered some of the nation’s most generous film tax credits. Gov. Rick Snyder proposed a limit of $25 million a year on incentives as part of his budget-savings plan, and the state’s current incentive program for filmmakers is not capped.

A film version of Albom’s book, “Have a Little Faith,” has received approval for a Michigan tax credit.

“My first choice is always to create work in Detroit,” Albom said. “I think a show about Detroit would be wonderful in Detroit, but I don’t control such things.”


TNT is owned by Time Warner Inc.; ABC is a unit of The Walt Disney Co.

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