NBC’s upfronts today were part programming presentation, part homage to “The Voice” and the back-from-the-brink boost it’s given the network.
Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt, who helmed the first presentation under the network’s new Comcast ownership, put it best, and simply: “Thank you, God, for ‘The Voice.'”
Greenblatt said the show, which will have its season-two debut in January rather than this fall, will “dramatically redefine the first and second quarter” of 2012.
And NBC is running with the music theme.
Greenblatt hyped “Smash,” a Broadway musical drama that’s being produced by Steven Spielberg and stars Katharine McPhee, Debra Messing and Anjelica Houston.
(In discussing that show, Seth Meyers cracked that producers wanted him to pass along a message: “Gwyneth Paltrow, if you’re listening, they’ll call you.”)
He also highlighted the way music will figure into drama “The Playboy Club,” set at the famed Chicago bar in the early 1960s. “You’ll see [actors playing] a young Tina Turner and Sammy Davis, Jr.,” Greenblatt said.
Greenblatt, who’s considered a programming luminary and who came from Showtime, has definitely infused the network’s new shows with a premium-channel vibe.
Some comedies seem looser and slower, while the new dramas — like “Prime Suspect,” which stars Maria Bello — have a gritty film and darker look.
The writing's on the wall with this show: NBC is clearly going to throw all sorts of resources behind it and has slotted it behind season two of 'The Voice.' 'Smash' looks like a good bet to capture a chunk of the 'Glee' audience -- specifically viewers who might feel a little weary of high school and would love to watch the grown-ups sing for a while.
It stars Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph, and Will Arnett, who gets his first real TV crack at playing someone other than Gob on 'Arrested Development.'
It's got an undeniably catchy concept: a man, his wife and their son get into a car accident that ostensibly kills both mother and child -- but the man continues to live life in two paralell existences, one where his wife is still alive, and one where his son is. The preview is unexpectedly touching.
We give NBC credit for trying something high-concept with this real-life take on fairy tales, but if something lofty was going to succeed on the network, we'd like to think it would have been 'Kings.' 'Grimm' feels a shade hokey -- though we don't doubt it will develop a fierce cult following.
Kathryn Hahn's time as a headliner has definitely come, but we're not sure we buy her chemistry with Hank Azaria. Still, the trailer has a lot of clever moments.
We rolled our eyes when we read the description of 'Bent,' we rolled our eyes: a single mum falls in love with the surfer-dude contractor working on her kitchen. But the trailer belies a surprisingly sunny, natural tone and an ensemble that seems well-developed from the get-go. (The midseason will also see premieres of strong comedies 'BFF' and 'Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea' -- but 'Bent' feels the most innovative.)
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