NBC kicked off the first of two summer press days with a new slate of scripted comedies, two offerings from uber-producer Dick Wolf and one dating show. The network capped it all off with a poolside bash, drawing everyone from Sarah Palin to Crystal the monkey (from “The Hangover II”). Yeah, you read that right.
Network heads Bob Greenblatt, Jennifer Salke and Paul Telegdy began the day by fielding questions about their third-place status and the future of Thursday night comedy.
“These shows, especially the Thursday night shows, are just great shows. They’re award-winning and incredibly sophisticated and clever. We couldn’t be prouder of them and yet, given what’s been happening at the network in terms of the general decline, we can’t get the biggest audience for those shows. They do tend to be a little more narrow and sophisticated than we would want for a broad audience.”
The touchy topic of Ann Curry’s Today Show departure was briefly mentioned but quickly deemed an “NBC news question.” Executives also detailed their extensive promotional plans during Olympics programming, which will feature several in-depth previews of the fall lineup:
GUYS WITH KIDS
A flat-screen Jimmy Fallon joined the conversation via satellite to talk this Fallon-produced dad-comedy. Anthony Anderson, Jesse Bradford and Zack Cregger star as the leading “DILFS,” the acronym Fallon claims is the show’s inspiration.
If Crystal the monkey’s Summer Press Tour debut is any indication, the stars of this veterinarian comedy have some cuddly scene-stealers to compete with. Crystal stopped the show as she drove on stage in her toy ambulance to announce the last question for her co-stars.
CHICAGO FIRE & STARS EARN STRIPES
NBC vet Dick Wolf will launch two shows honoring our modern heroes, one scripted and the other a reality competition. Wolf defines Chicago Fire as a “classic, adult drama” in the vein of other NBC landmarks like Law and Order, ER and Hillstreet Blues. Stars Earn Stripes will challenge celebs like Nick Lachey, Laila Ali, Dean Cain, Terry Crews, Todd Palin to compete in authentic, military-inspired missions.
READY FOR LOVE
Though an air date has not been set, entertainment power couple Bill and Giulana Rancic are set to host this reality dating show that dares to be different, as three skilled matchmakers find love for three suitable bachelors.
SyFy’s Supernatural creator Eric Kripke explores the aftermath of a wide-scale blackout. Taking cues from The Lord of the Rings and Logan’s Run, director Jon Favreau and executive producer J.J. Abrams hope this is the show LOST fans have been yearning for. Everyone’s favorite Breaking Bad villain Giancarlo Esposito headlines the show, claiming he loves “to make bad guys somehow good.”
THE NEW NORMAL
Much to the chagrin of anti-gay group One Million Moms, Glee creator Ryan Murphy joins NBC’s fall lineup as the co-creator of this irreverent portrait of the American family. Starring The Hangover’s Justin Bartha and Book of Mormon Broadway star Andrew Rannells, the story is semi-autobiographical (according to Murphy) and speaks to his dream of one day having children.
Part of NBC president Jennifer Salke’s vision for warm, accessible, soulful comedies – this offbeat series reunites Emmy-winning Friends writer Scott Silveri with Friends alum Matthew Perry. Harold and Kumar’s John Cho stars as Perry’s closest friend and boss, who forces Perry to join a support group to address his issues. Silveri jokes that the only difference between working with Perry now and on Friends is that “[Perry] actually knows my name.” Let’s face it, wouldn’t you want to be where everybody knows your name?
Day two of NBC’s Summer Press Tour features an unscripted-leaning lineup on sister networks Oxygen, E! and Bravo with shows like Opening Act, Married to Jonas and Love You, Mean It With Whitney Cummings. But, with Celebs.com’s Simone Boyce in the midst of the action at the conference, we’ll be bringing you more television line-up news as it comes to hand.