NBC Announces Peter Pan Live!, the Wizard of Oz Adaptation Emerald City, and Pilots from Katherine Heigl and Amy Poehler

By Jen Trolio

Jan 19, 2014

NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced quite a bit of new programming during his executive session at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on Sunday, and some of it sounds promising! Some of it, however, sounds laughable. Here's what's on the Peacock's docket for near-ish future, along with what Greenblatt had to say about NBC's current lineup. 

And the follow-up to The Sound of Music Live! will be... Peter Pan Live! 

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who produced The Sound of Music Live! (and who are currently producing the 2014 Oscars), will also helm Peter Pan Live!, which will air on Thursday, December 4. "Get ready for flying children and some sort of state-of-the-art lighting technology," Greenblatt said. Just as The Sound of Music Live! was NBC's interpretation of the Broadway musical (as opposed to the feature film), Peter Pan Live! will use James M. Barrie's 1954 Broadway musical (which itself is adapted from Barrie's original 1904 "fairy play") as its source material. Greenblatt wouldn't say who he's got in mind to play the titular role—though one reporter in the audience suggested Justin Bieber, and Greenblatt himself joked about approaching Miley Cyrus.

NBC has ordered 10 episodes of Emerald City, a Wizard of Oz adaptation where Dorothy is 20 years old

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is the first of many Wizard of Oz projects currently in development to earn a series order. Greenblatt is targeting a launch date of midseason 2015, promising a thrilling, epic show that's "definitely not your grandmother's Oz." Emerald City centers on a 20-year-old Dorothy Gale, who's "unwittingly sent on an eye-opening journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz." The show is not a limited series, meaning it will have a shot at a second season.

Katherine Heigl is producing and starring in a pilot called State of Affairs  

Here's the logline, straight from the network: "Heigl portrays a key CIA attaché who counsels the president on high-stakes incidents around the world. She balances her intense political responsibilities with a complicated personal life." Hahahahaha oh wait this isn't a comedy? It's a drama where Katherine Heigl plays an adviser to the president? Hahahahaha okay sure. That's like letting Sophia Bush play a cop

Natasha Lyonne is headlining a new pilot from Amy Poehler about a young woman who works as an aide to the elderly

This one really is a comedy. The working title is Old Soul, and it's about Lyonne's character trying to find herself while dealing with a bunch of "opinionated" old people. Greenblatt referenced The Golden Girls and said that Old Soul aims to "blow up some of the cliches" about senior citizens, noting that TV spends a lot of times playing to twenty- and thirty-somethings, and that he'd like to see an older age group represented as well. Knowing that it's from Poehler and thinking back to the "Sex Education" episode of Parks and Recreation, I've got high hopes.

Speaking of Amy Poehler, she and NBC have just signed a three-year production deal

Fresh off her Golden Globes win for Parks and Rec, Poehler has committed her comedy chops to developing new shows for the network, including Old Soul. Perhaps that's why Greenblatt was so quick to confirm a seventh season of Parks and Rec later in the panel.

On the miniseries front, get ready for eight hours of The Slap 

No, it has nothing to do with How I Met Your Mother-style bet. From Jon Robin Baitz (the creator of Brothers & Sisters), The Slap is based on the Australian series of the same name; it's about a family that gets torn apart when a child gets smacked by a family member at a BBQ, and the incident eventually devolves into an ugly court case. Baitz wrote all eight episodes, and Greenblatt is looking at a release date of sometime in early 2015. The project is completely closed-ended, with no possibility of a second season.


Grimm is looking good for a Season 4 renewal

Greenblatt said the show's prospects are "very good." NBC entrainment president Jennifer Salke, who was also present for the exec session, pointed out that "the genre audience proves to be a very loyal one that shows up for live viewing," and that she thinks the upcoming Friday-night pairing of Grimm and Hannibal makes sense.

Greenblatt is open to switching up his Thursday-night comedy block

"Thursday night has been a real challenge for us," Greenblatt admitted, saying that it's "not anywhere near where we'd like it to be." But he's not against changing it dramatically. "We may shuffle the whole deck in genres for that night," Greenblatt said, noting that even though it's been in existence for so long that lots of people assume it will stay, anything is open to discussion. Talking about the difficulty of the night overall, Greenblatt acknowledged that "CBS got in there so brilliantly," and complimented ABC for doing "a great job" with scripted dramas at 9pm and 10pm. He also said he's "really unhappy" that NBC hasn't been able to find an audience for The Michael J. Fox Show and Sean Saves the World, but that Community is a "strong possibility" to return for a sixth season, and Parks and Recreation will be back for a seventh

Jay Leno still has a home on NBC... if he wants it

"I want to publicly say, for the record, we want to thank [Leno and his team] for making TV history and for doing it with class on NBC," Greenblatt said. He announced that Billy Crystal, Leno's first-ever guest on The Tonight Show, will also be also be Leno's last guest when Leno concludes his 22-year run on Thursday, February 6. Prior to Leno's official exit, his successor, Jimmy Fallon, will join him on Monday, February 3 for an "official passing of the baton." Going forward, Greenblatt said he would love to have Leno do specials or host something else for NBC, "but we're being very respectful of him and not pushing any of those agendas" until after he wraps The Tonight Show.

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  • ted2332 Jan 22, 2014

    So Jon Robin Baitz is writing The Slap, it must be hard to change a few details from a series that has already been made from a book that has already been written.

  • MichelleHood24 Jan 21, 2014

    Emerald City sound good, I've been waiting for a more adult wizard of oz something abit darker, so I'm looking forward to that, and more of Grimm is always a good thing

  • docspector Jan 21, 2014

    Leno-at-10-every-weeknight failed, so we're going to try Leno-for-three-hours-every-Thursday.

  • BenedictXVI Jan 20, 2014

    I wish they would speak better german, especially in the Vienna scenes. Please, get some austrian actors.

  • numberonecubsfa Jan 20, 2014

    I'm not sure why he thought something like Sean Saves the World would be a success.

    I'm stoked at the possibility of Community coming back, from the mouth of the company boss.

  • docspector Jan 21, 2014

    They hated the numbers for Community, until everything else they tried pulled even lower numbers...

  • numberonecubsfa Jan 21, 2014

    If that's what it takes to keep Community on there air, let the other crap burn

  • JT_Kirk Jan 20, 2014

    Ooh, he's hip and with-it because he doesn't wear a tie. He knows what Twitter is, I'll bet. Too bad he can't keep his network from being a cesspool of bad ideas, marketing, and scheduling.

    Peter Pan Live, who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

    What is with the NBC family of networks and their addiction to Wizard of Oz? Hasn't Siffy, another NBC channel, already milked this to death and beyond enough? It's going to be an expensive CGI-fest that'll still look bad and have a terrible script.

    Natasha Lyonne is great, but carrying a series and dealing with old folks? Never gonna work, and I don't mean to be a dick but who is going to back Lyonne as a consistent person who will definitely show up to work every day? Gonna need some hefty insurance on that.

    Uh, has Amy Poehler helmed anything? I think NBC is once again showing how out of gas they are... oh wait, they're letting Katherine Heigl helm and star, sorry Amy, you definitely aren't as bad an idea as that.

    The Slap might be interesting, might be melodramatic, but the title should really be changed, I don't think it carries enough weight in the US.

    Greenblatt needs to recognize NBC's inability to schedule or even develop shows that work on Thursday, not just sitcoms but the 10pm anchor show too. The Michael J. Fox Show has image problems (too wealthy, too many characters going in too many directions, too many focuses) which is why it's misfiring, "is it a workplace comedy with a large family or a family comedy with a workplace?" And there is no question what the problems with Sean Saves the World are: not funny, and unappealing premise to younger audiences by being a family comedy and to middle-America by being a single parent who is gay. Also NBC needs to keep in mind that nearly everything they make sucks and what doesn't gets damaged by management, so audiences are gunshy.

  • Svanehjerte Jan 20, 2014

    In other words it sounds like NBC is doing something right - for me, hehe.

  • Svanehjerte Jan 20, 2014

    Great news for Grimm! :D

    The Slap sounds a little interesting.

    Old Souls sounds awesome actually! Two ladies with some personality and humor + old people instead of just the usual 20-somethings. Old people have a lot of fun things to say, so it actually sounds like it could be a good sitcom for a change.

    Emerald City sounds like something I definitely will watch and end up liking, but again with the 20-somethings...

  • mattcon25 Jan 20, 2014

    it sounds like they are bringing back the jay leno show

  • Tunacarlos Jan 20, 2014

    I love NBC and mostly everything they do and the only thing i am shaky about is The Slap and why they are doing that.

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