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.