Bob Greenblatt is off to a fast start at the Peacock, ordering four pilots and shifting the network’s commitments on two other high-profile projects.
The newly appointed NBC Entertainment chairman’s early picks include a fresh spin on “Wonder Woman” from David E. Kelley and Warner Bros. TV, and an ambitious tuner from Steven Spielberg, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron that he had been developing during his previous tenure as Showtime entertainment prexy.
On Friday, Greenblatt also ordered an hourlong project from Michael Patrick King, “A Mann’s World,” and a laffer from “Will and Grace” alum Jhoni Marchinko.
At the same time, NBC has backed away from its commitment to a WBTV drama project from Josh Schwartz, and it has rolled a pilot commitment to J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot banner into next year’s development cycle.
With Greenblatt taking over at NBC at the midpoint of the 2011 development cycle, the shuffling of creative choices is not so surprising.
Tuner “Smash,” from Universal Media Studios and DreamWorks, is a show-within-a-show vehicle about a group of people who come together to put on a Broadway musical. It’s based on an idea of Spielberg’s to follow the development of a tuner from soup to nuts, include the offstage home life of key players in the project.
Greenblatt put the project in development in 2009. The concept is close to Greenblatt’s heart, as a legit lover who moonlighted from his job at Showtime three years ago to produce the Broadway tuner adaptation of “Nine to Five.”
Theresa Rebeck has penned the pilot script and will exec produce with Spielberg, DreamWorks TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey and tuner specialists Zadan and Meron. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are onboard to pen the tunes. NBC and UMS are in talks with prominent legit helmer Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening,” “American Idiot”) to direct.
Kelley’s take on “Wonder Woman” finds Diana Prince leading a double life as a high-powered corporate executive and vigilante crime fighter. Project is part of Warner Bros.’ initiative to breathe new life into DC Comics characters.
“Mann’s World,” which King penned and will direct, revolves around a celebrity hairstylist in L.A. and the challenges he faces in running his business, managing his family life and staying relevant in a fast-moving biz.
Marchinko’s “I Hate That I Love You” comes from 20th Century Fox TV. It’s a single-camera romantic comedy in which a straight couple introduces two lesbian friends to one another, eventually leading in a pregnancy.
Greenblatt’s pilot orders came one day after Angela Bromstad announced her resignation as NBC/UMS primetime entertainment prexy. They’re also in keeping with the vow made by NBC U’s incoming CEO, Steve Burke, that execs will hit the ground running on day one. Comcast’s acquisition of a 51% stake in NBC U is expected to close by the end of this week.
Although he yet to formally start his gig, Greenblatt also gave his thumbs up to NBC’s pickup earlier this month of the 1960s-set Playboy Club project and the pilot order Bromstad gave last week to the supernatural-flavored police drama “17th Precinct” from “Battlestar Galactica” exec producer Ron Moore.