Brill’s Video Beat: NBC 2010-2011 primetime announcement


Attendees who were en-route to yesterday’s announcement at the NY Hilton couldn’t help but notice an entire fleet of painted taxicabs festooned with NBC’s peacock logo and slogan, “More Colorful.”

NBC’s  announcement opened up with a hilarious video from Alec Baldwin in character as Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock’s Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming.

Up next was NBCU’s, Entertainment Chairman, Jeff Gaspin who joked about not being able to get Radio City this year (never mind that they haven’t been there for three years) and having to hold their upfront event at the Hilton instead, which allows him to gain some Hilton Honors rewards points.

Entertainment president, Angela Bromstad took us through her strategy for the 2010/2011 season.  She made a point of telling the buyer/researcher/advertiser attendees that they are committed to quality programming and working with big name writers and producers such as JJ Abrams, David E. Kelly and Jerry Bruckheimer.

NBC has wisely abandoned its In-front and returned to a traditional Upfront. The network has its work cut out for them. It’s in fourth place in Adults 18-49 and has a lot of scheduling holes to fill, especially Monday–Friday at 10 p.m., the former home of the short-lived Jay Leno Show.

Mike Pilot, President of Sales and Marketing spoke of NBC’s commitment to advertisers’ brands and their ability to form thematic connections with shows and consumers.

Overall the buyer/advertiser community seemed optimistic regarding NBC’s commitment to scripted programming.

Schedule Overview
Twelve new scripted series including Law & Order spin-off, Law and Order L.A. are on the menu for the 2010/2011 season.

NBC’s fall slate has all-drama lineups on Mondays and Wednesdays. Comedies will rule on Thursdays. Tuesdays and Fridays will feature a combination of non-scripted fare and scripted drama. Saturday will be a night of drama repeats (see below for schedule summary).

New midseason scripted entries are The Cape, Friends with Benefits, Perfect Couples, Harry’s Law and The Paul Reiser Show. The Non-scripted series include another edition of Celebrity Apprentice, a sophomore season of The Marriage Ref and the new non-scripted series America’s Next Great Restaurant, which stars celebrity chef/restaurateur Bobby Flay.

New shows that have potential 
The action-adventure conspiracy drama The Event (Monday’s at 9 p.m.) showed great promise.  It will air in Heroes former timeslot and could potentially attract former viewers of 24 who are seeking an adrenaline rush. Jerry Bruckheimer drama, Chase (Monday’s at 10 p.m.) about a female U.S. Marshall also showed some promise. 

While new fall comedy Outsourced had funny moments, I have concerns that the premise may not be able to sustain itself on a weekly basis. The show will need to move beyond the call center and focus more on several core characters.  Otherwise, it is better suited as a movie.

Outlaw, puts Jimmy Smits back in the courtroom. His character, a Supreme Court judge who decides to leave the bench and become a defense attorney standing up for the underdog is reminiscent of Sifuentes, the character he played in 80’s drama LA Law.
Also of interest is the JJ Abrams spy drama, Undercovers, about married ex-CIA agents who get reactivated. Think of this new show as a combination of movie, Mr. and  Mrs. Smith and TV show, Hart to Hart.

The show that is the most questionable was Love Bites.  The show seemed to be a throwback to 70’s ABC’s anthology series Love, American Style. Announced leads Becky Newton and Jordana Spiro, were nowhere to be found in the vignette shown to attendees.  Instead, we were shown a vignette featuring Greg Grunberg (Heroes) and the object of his desire Jennifer Love Hewitt, the object of his desire.

Promising midseason series with potential are The Cape (Berman/ Braun), a drama about a police-officer who gets framed for murder and decides to take the law into his own hands by becoming a coming book hero. Also impressive was new david e kelley legal drama starring Kathy bates, who was absolutely riveting in the preview clip.

Attendees were disappointed that Law & Order was not renewed for a 21st season, dashing its chances to break Gunsmoke’s record for longest running TV drama series.

Speaking of cancelled series, I ran into Grunberg (Parkman) during lunch and asked him whether NBC will definitely work with creator Tim Kring regarding a Heroes movie so that fans can get some closure. His reply was a non-committal, “I hope so”. 

Here is NBC’s fall and Sunday night post-football schedule at a glance:
Seven new scripted series and one new non-scripted show are slated for the fall. Five new scripted series are planned for midseason.


8-9 p.m. – Chuck
9-10 p.m. — “THE EVENT”
10-11 p.m. – “CHASE”
8-10 p.m. – “The Biggest Loser”
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood”
8-9 p.m. – UNDERCOVERS
9-10 p.m. – Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
10-11 p.m. – LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES
8- 8:30 p.m. – Community
8:30-9 p.m. – 30 Rock
9-9:30 p.m. – The Office
9:30-10 p.m. – OUTSOURCED
10-11 p.m. – LOVE BITES
8-9 p.m. – Who Do You Think You Are?/SCHOOL PRIDE
9-10 p.m. – Dateline NBC
10-11 p.m. – OUTLAW
Encore programming
7- 8:15 p.m. — Football Night in America
8:15-11:30 p.m. — NBC Sunday Night Football
Post Football
7-8 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
8-9 p.m. – “Minute to Win It”
9-11 p.m. – “The Celebrity Apprentice
(Shows in Bold are New)

NBC midseason

The Cape
Harry’s Law
Friends with Benefits
The Paul Reiser Show
Perfect Couples

Returning Midseason Shows:
Parks and Recreation,
The Marriage Ref
The Apprentice

— Shari Anne Brill, Industry Analyst and former SVP/Director of Programming and Strategic Audience Analysis for Carat. You can reach her at [email protected]; and follow her on Twitter @shariannebrill.