Walmart, Procter & Gamble behind NBC family-friendly pic
NBC has agreed to another family-friendly project funded by big-ticket advertisers Walmart and Procter & Gamble.Kellie Martin, Brady Smith, Patricia Richardson and LeVar Burton are set to star in “The Jensen Project,” which will be produced as a two-hour TV movie and double as a backdoor pilot in the event that the Peacock is interested in a series. The telepic revolves around a group holed up in the mountains to solve the world’s problems. When one goes rogue, the others are forced to try and stop him. The Peacock’s plan for “Jensen” is identical to the one recently announced for “Secrets of the Mountain,” a two-hour movie that NBC will air on Friday, April 16. Like “Mountain,” “Jensen” is being produced by Canadian shingle Muse Entertainment and it will run as a time buy by Walmart and Procter & Gamble, which will pay for the two-hour slot. “We are committed to delivering more quality family entertainment options to parents across the country,” Walmart chief marketing officer Stephen Quinn said in announcing the “Mountain” deal earlier this month. For NBC, it’s a low-risk gambit. Fridays are already a low-rated night for the nets, and if “Secrets of the Mountain” or “Jensen” are surprise successes, then the Peacock can be more actively involved in turning the movies into series. Procter & Gamble and Walmart co-chair the Assn. of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Family Entertainment. That group recently replaced the Family Friendly Programming Forum, which was launched in 1998 to fund family-friendly scripts — including “Friday Night Lights,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” Joel Rice, Jeff Grant and Brian Wells are the exec producers on “Jensen,” while Monica Macer wrote the project and Douglas Barr is the director. NBC has not yet announced an airdate.