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.