Network announces early pickups at TCA
NBC has given early pickups to Peacock staples “The Office,” “30 Rock” and “The Biggest Loser.”
Renewals were announced Thursday afternoon during NBC’s portion of the TV Critics Assn. press tour by new primetime entertainment prexy Angela Bromstad and incoming alternative topper Paul Telegdy.
“These renewals represent our faith in ‘The Office’ and ’30 Rock’ as they continue to represent the gold standard in acclaimed and award-winning series,” Bromstad said.
Thursday’s tour stop repped Bromstad’s and Telegdy’s first press tour in their gigs. Meanwhile, NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chairs Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff were roaming the halls of the Universal Hilton but didn’t take the stage to answer questions.
During their exec session, Bromstad said that NBC still planned to shoot about the same number of pilots it did two years ago — six dramas and four comedies.
Given the loss of five hours to Jay Leno, NBC wasn’t expected to shoot as many pilots this year as it had in the past. In addition, last year, a post-strike NBC opted to greenlight most of its series sans pilots and suggested that it might continue to do so in the future.
Bromstad said NBC may indeed still go directly to series on some shows but that it still values the pilot process.
“It’s just too critical,” Bromstad said. “One thing we can’t do is we can’t stop taking shots. If we have strong scripts, we’re not going to cut back (on pilots).”
Bromstad said she envisions launching as many as three hours next fall depending on the Peacock’s ultimate alternative series pickups.
Meanwhile, asked to justify her position as NBC’s top programmer, Bromstad — who’s been in the new job for only 10 days — pointed out that she had already run the Peacock’s TV studio for three years.
“Those were the years that ‘The Office,’ ‘House,’ ‘Heroes’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’ were developed,” she said. “And those were some of the strongest shows that have been developed at NBC in a long time. My strategy is to live up to the brand and legacy of NBC.”
Other news at NBC’s session:
- “The Philanthropist” is still on tap for a potential midseason bow — which would make for an even busier spring for new NBC series.
According to Bromstad, movement on the show was delayed after thesp James Purefoy pulled a hamstring; he’s since healed.
- Bromstad said “Lipstick Jungle” isn’t dead — at least not yet — but the long-term future of shows like “Chuck” and “Life” are also still uncertain.
- Although the creative community has expressed concern over Leno’s 10 p.m. berth, Bromstad said she’s had “only positive conversations” with producers such as Dick Wolf (who’s currently shooting the pilot “Lost and Found” for the Peacock).
But “no showrunner ever wants to see their show moved when it’s performing well,” she added.
- The Peacock also announced that Conan O’Brien’s last night on “Late Night” will be Feb. 20, with Jimmy Fallon taking over on March 2.
- As expected, John Wells’ new police drama, renamed “Southland,” will fill the “ER” void on Thursdays at 10 p.m. starting April 9; the “ER” finale, meanwhile, has now been pushed to April 2.
“ER” will say farewell with a one-hour retrospective that night at 8 p.m., followed by its two-hour sendoff.
- NBC’s Amy Poehler laffer — still untitled — will air Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. (in place of “Kath and Kim”) starting April 9, while reality competish “The Chopping Block” will air Wednesdays at 8 starting March 11.
- As previously noted, “Kings” — originally slated for Thursdays — will air on Sundays at 8 p.m. beginning in March.
Incoming “Tonight Show” host Conan O’Brien said he didn’t think Jay Leno’s move to 10 p.m. diluted his move to the long-running latenight franchise.
“Since 1949 or ’50, ‘The Tonight Show’ has been at 11:30 on NBC,” O’Brien said. “To me that is sacred territory. This show has huge resonance for me. So no, it doesn’t in any way affect the show that I’m getting.
“I’ve had a few people ask does this in any way diminish ‘The Tonight Show,'” he added. “To that I say I don’t need any help diminishing the ‘Tonight Show’; I’ve got that covered.”
O’Brien and his long-running “Late Night” producer Jeff Ross, who’s moving with O’Brien to helm the show in Los Angeles, said they’re still determining who and what will make the transition with them.
An introspective O’Brien admitted that he will miss “Late Night” once he departs that show on Feb. 20.
“I will cry like a baby when ‘Late Night With Conan O’Brien’ ends,” he said. “That’s going to be a very hard show to walk away from, but creatively, there’s an old saying that you have to keep moving or you’ll die.”
Meanwhile, the man who’s replacing him at 12:30 — Jimmy Fallon — admitted that his show will be rough around the edges at first.
“It takes time — Kimmel came out, and people hated him (at first),” Fallon said. “Through time I’ll get better and better and more used to it.”
As for concerns that Leno’s 10 p.m. show could exhaust the talkshow audience by the time Fallon airs at 12:30, exec producer Mike Shoemaker said he was nonetheless happy that Leno is sticking with the Peacock.
“It’s better for us to have Jay here than anywhere else,” Shoemaker said.