NBC called on some of the A-list talent it has lined up for its new fall series to tout its development slate to advertisers Thursday.
Among the notables were Academy Award-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis (Crash), who is executive-producing the new NBC series The Black Donnellys, and Matthew Perry, the former Friends star who is leading the cast of another fall series, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
Black and Studio are two of the three series that already have received 13-episode commitments for the fall. Pickup of the third, Kidnapped, was also announced at the event, which NBC hosted on the Culver City-based casino set of the current series Las Vegas.
NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said that the casino was an apropos setting for introducing the next generation of hoped-for hits. "I really do believe we have the potential to hit the jackpot next fall," he said.
Haggis was joined by executive-producer Bobby Moresco, both of whom expressed excitement to be working with NBC on Black, a tale of four Irish brothers who get involved in organized crime.
"I'm really thrilled to be doing this," Haggis said. "This is something Bobby and I have been passionate about for a while."
Perry was among the ensemble Studio cast also in attendance, sharing the stage with Bradley Whitford and D.L. Hughley.
"You want to surround yourself with really talented people, and I think I have," Perry said.
Reilly also reiterated that NBC was moving away from the traditional development cycle, ramping up a new slate of programs in June for on-air consideration in spring and summer 2007. He talked up what he referred to as NBC's most aggressive summer lineup yet, including the drama Windfall, which will start in the Thursday 10 p.m. slot now inhabited by ER.
In addition, coming to NBC in the summer is the English-language adaptation of telenovela Body of Desire, as well as the reality trio America's Got Talent, Last Comic Standing, and Treasure Hunters.
Reilly also offered sneak peeks of footage from pilots in contention for fall slots, including Friday Night Lights, Heroes, and Raines.
NBC also gave its growing digital presence a portion of the development meeting with a presentation from Jeff Gaspin, president of cable entertainment, digital content, and cross-network strategy at NBC Universal.
He expressed commitment for exploiting NBC content across a range of platforms, including new acquisition iVillage, whose vast online communities could be cross-pollinated with programming ranging from Medium to The Biggest Loser.
Gaspin also pledged to have Web-only video supplements online tied to new NBC series and announced an Internet offshoot scheduled in the summer for comedy The Office. Supporting cast including Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, and Oscar Nunez are shooting 10 two-minute webisodes to air on NBC.com. The serialized plot centers on a search for $3,000 missing from Office headquarters.