NBC added four comedies and a drama to its list of frosh series pickups Monday, but there are still plenty of question marks hovering over its schedule.
To make room for a slew of new laffers, the Peacock will give shorter episode orders to most of its returning comedies including “30 Rock,” whose seventh season will likely be its last.
The network declined comment.
NBC made the first frosh drama series order from its pilot development slate with “Revolution,” an actioner from J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke set in a post-apocalyptic America where all electronics have blacked out.
Hour joins Justin Kirk starrer “Animal Practice,” the White House-set “1600 Penn,” gay domestic comedy “The New Normal” from Ryan Murphy, and “Save Me,” a comedy starring Anne Heche as a housewife who comes to believe she’s a prophet.
Still more drama orders are said to be imminent for Universal TV dramas “County” and “Chicago Fire,” from Dick Wolf.
All four of the comedies are single-camera vehicles, as is the Matthew Perry starrer ” Go On,” which was picked up late last month.
NBC made a point of trying to field some multicamera develop-ment prospects this year, so some bizzers were surprised at the slew of single-cam orders. But while additional comedy pickups are a possibility — the remaining contenders are said to be multicams “Guys With Kids” and “Table for Three” — just how many will likely depend on which series NBC chooses to bring back.
In addition to “30 Rock,” veteran NBC comedies likely to return — including “Community” and “Parks and Recreation” — are not expected to get the traditional 22-episode order, though a truncated order doesn’t necessarily signify a final season.
“30 Rock,” however, is the exception as NBC has apparently decided the upcoming seventh season of the Emmy-winning Tina Fey vehicle will be its last, with 13 episodes enough to bring the series to a close, possibly in the midseason instead of fall.
Rookie comedies “Whitney” and “Up All Night” have been on the cancellation seesaw for weeks. With Monday’s wave of orders, speculation was that renewal prospects were looking better for “Up All Night” than for “Whitney.”
Even Peacock stalwart “The Office” may wind up with a less-than-22 order for the fall. The limited-episode order is something all broadcasters are taking a hard look at: Shorter runs allow nets to take more chances on more shows and enable opportunistic year-round scheduling.
NBC is set to unveil its 2012-13 season sked on Sunday, a day ahead of its upfront presentation in Gotham. Fox will bow its own sked Monday, which means its pilot pickups are imminent as well. The only series considered virtual locks at this point are Kevin Williamson serial killer drama “Mastermind” and the untitled Mindy Kaling comedy. Fox has tough decisions to make in both comedy and drama. Guy’s ensembler “Rebounding” leads a pack of strong possibilities in comedy, which will be affected by whether Kevin Reilly converts Tuesday to a block consisting of four half-hours or leaves “Glee” in place. Drama is a toss-up as well: Not a single hour developed can be ruled out at this juncture.
Less is buzzing over at ABC, CBS and the CW, which have their upfront schedules later next week, Tuesday through Thursday, respectively.
All five of NBC’s new comedies will be considered for the series the Peacock is eyeing to bow before September immediately after the Olympics. The hope is that heavy promotion during NBC’s coverage of the games in August, before the crush of new programming that traditionally rolls out in the fall, will give those series a lift.
Universal TV’s “Animal Practice,” penned by Brian Gatewood and Alex Tanaka, features the “Weeds” star as a veterinarian who loves animals but hates their owners.
“1600 Penn,” also from U TV, was penned by former White House speechwriter Jon Lovett who exec producers with Jason Winer and star Josh Gad.
“New Normal,” from 20th Century Fox TV, is about a blended family of a gay couple and their surrogate mother. Ellen Barkin, Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha star. Murphy exec produces with co-creator Allison Adler and Dante Di Loreto.
“Save Me” exec producers are John Scott Shepherd, who wrote the pilot; Scott Winant, who directed the pilot; and Original Films’ Vivian Cannon and Neal Moritz.
Joining Abrams and Kripke (“Supernatural”) as exec producer on “Revolution” is Bad Robot’s Bryan Burk. Jon Favreau directed the pilot.