NBC is putting femmes front and center in the upcoming season. On Wednesday the Peacock gave orders to four new series, all from Universal Media Studios and all with high-profile female leads.
Based on the pilot pickup buzz of the past few days, none of NBC’s picks was a surprise. “Smash” is the Broadway-set drama with Debra Messing that NBC Entertainment topper Robert Greenblatt brought with him from Showtime. “Prime Suspect” is a redo of the Brit detective series that will star Maria Bello.
Comedy calls went to Whitney Cummings, who is set for a Tina Fey turn as star and creator of laffer “Whitney,” which revolves around a young couple’s ups and downs. And from Emily Spivey — currently a writer on “Parks and Recreation” — there’s “Up All Night,” starring Christina Applegate as a working woman who has to deal with a child and stay-at-home husband. Show is exec produced by Lorne Michaels.
NBC is far from finished, however, and more announcements could come today as it preps for Monday’s upfront sked presentation in Gotham.
Also considered strong contenders are “The Playboy Club,” about a high-end nightclub in the 1960s, and “Awake,” from scribe Kyle Killen, who is looking to get back in primetime after his short stint last year with Fox’s “Lone Star.”
Sources say a renewal for the David E. Kelley midseason drama “Harry’s Law” is likely, but it’s not looking so good for Kelley’s take on the “Wonder Woman” remake starring “Friday Night Lights” alum Adrianne Palicki.
Two drama pilots said to be on the fence at the Peacock are Don Johnson starrer “A. Mann’s World,” from “Sex and the City” scribe Michael Patrick King, and “Reconstruction” (aka “The Crossing”), a post-Civil War period piece about a soldier who is seen as a savior in a new town.
Comedies “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” and “Bent,” from “Scrubs” scribe Tad Quill, could still get a greenlight. Buddy comedy “Free Agents” and “Family Practice,” from “Parks and Recreation” writer Dan Goor, have had strong support along the way but are still considered longshots.
According to sources, NBC might open a second night of comedy in September. Peacock has long used Thursday as a platform for its top comedies, but if Greenblatt feels he has an overflow of quality laffers, he may opt to make Tuesday or Wednesday a comedy beachhead as well.
As for NBC’s existing bubble shows, “Chuck” is likely to return for at least 13 episodes, while insiders said “Law and Order: Los Angeles” could go either way. One advantage for “LOLA” is that UMS owns the show, so if the network sees a potential upside going forward, both the studio and net would reap the benefits.
“Parenthood” is considered a lock for a third season after solid numbers the past few months. But it’s curtains, to no one’s surprise, for much-hyped drama “The Event” and laffer “Outsourced.”
Over at ABC, there was strong indication that sudser “Good Christian Bitches” is already a go, along with “Charlie’s Angels,” as both shows are said to have begun recruiting staffers. “Bitches,” for which the first order of business is a new title, comes from writer Robert Harling and exec producer Darren Star. Show revolves around a woman who returns to her home town after a divorce.
Fox kicked off the pilot order frenzy late Tuesday with its greenlights for two laffers (“New Girl,” “I Hate My Teenage Daughter”) and two dramas (“Alcatraz,” “The Finder”). There was strong chatter Wednesday morning that the net was considering a midseason berth for Rob Thomas’ “Little in Common,” albeit with some serious reworking.
Meanwhile, another Fox comedy that had a lot of heat, “Family Album,” has cooled off. It’s expected to undergo some creative retooling but may not land an order in time for Fox’s upfront schedule presentation on Monday.