Today marks the first day of the Network portion of the 2011 Television Critics Association Press Tour, the twice-annual Los Angeles-based gathering of critics from around North America. First on the firing line, newly-minted NBC Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt. So just what did he have to say about the Network’s prospects, a Scott-free season of THE OFFICE and the future of Daytime TV? Find out for yourself after the jump.
He’s Standing Behind His Schedule
Despite the fact that NBC Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt has only been on the job six months, he was very quick to point out that this upcoming Fall schedule is his. “For better or worse, I was very engaged in these pilots” said Greenblatt, “I will take all the credit for the shows that work and blame people who are no longer at NBC if they don’t.” On a more serious note, Greenblatt, who spent the past few seasons turning Showtime into a viable HBO competitor is hoping to bring with him some of the excitement that cable fare like DEXTER, WEEDS and NURSE JACKIE generated, claiming that in his brief time at the helm of the perennial fourth-place network, “We tried to come up with shows that are original, hopefully attention getting and high quality.” And if that doesn’t work….
There’s a Big Focus on the Future
Greenblatt is betting big on the future of Universal Media Studios to generate some hits for NBC and helping him to accomplish that goal is the headline grabbing announcement of development deals with some of the biggest names in the industry. Not only has THE OFFICE/PARKS AND RECREATION co-creator Greg Daniels re-upped with Universal Media Studios to focus on both live action and more interestingly enough, animation (Note to Fox’s Animation Domination lineup: Watch Your Back!), but he has lured Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s Production House (“Gary Sanchez”) to NBC for their first ever television production deal. Also returning into the fold is WILL & GRACE’s Shawn Hayes, who will put his surprisingly prolific producing career on hold (Fun Fact: He is responsible for producing both HOT IN CLEVELAND and NBC’s upcoming GRIMM) to headlining a comedy on NBC next season. And speaking of comedy…
The Future of THE OFFICE is a Positive One
So just what is Greenblatt expecting from the first-ever completely [Michael] Scott-free season of THE OFFICE? “My expectations are always very measured so we can under-expect and hopefully over-deliver. I was at the first table reading and I think James Spader is completely different from Steve [Carell], the character is really unique and I think he’s the perfect fit in that mix. Yes, it will cause some slight adjustments for the rest of the cast as things go around, but I always look at the glass as half full. Reinvention makes the writing stuff get back on their game, forces everyone to refocus on what the show is, so we’ll have to see what happens. Plus, this is playground for really extraordinarily comedy actors, which you saw in the last couple of episodes, I think there will be a few people that are going to guest star as the season goes on.”
Daytime Isn’t Dead… Yet
Reports of daytime’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, at least where DAYS OF OUR LIVES is concerned. Said Greenblatt on the future of NBC’s only remaining daytime serial, “We may be seeing this genre going into the twilight years of its existence with all the other talk shows and such, but it [DAYS OF OUR LIVES] is the only soap we have and I think it does relatively well for us. At the moment, we’re really happy with its performance and I think it will be on for a while.”
Odds and Ends
As expected the second season of NBC’s THE VOICE has been officially awarded the coveted post-Super Bowl timeslot on February 5th with SMASH getting a February 6th premiere…. When asked about the status of Mariska Hargitay Greenblatt clarified that she will be in every episode of LAW & ORDER: SVU… Greenblatt promises a multi-cam comedy revival with shows like WHITNEY in the fall and the Chelsea Handler’s semi-autobiographical laugher in 2012… NBC will ring in the holidays season with Michael Buble’s first ever Network Television Variety Special…