TCA: NBC's Greenblatt Touts Importance of Olympics, Early Premieres in Fall Launch
Says 'Voice' will be tweaked to extend competition between judges later in cycle
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/24/2012 1:31:34 PMComplete Coverage: TCA Summer Press Tour 2012
Los Angeles -- With the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics just three days away, NBC Entertainment -- like the rest of Comcast-NBCUniversal -- is squarely focused on the Summer Games, and more specifically how it can help launch its new crop of fall series.
At NBC's executive session at the TCA press tour here Tuesday morning, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said he was feeling optimistic about the fall because of the promotional platform of the Olympics, not just with on-air promos, but previewing two of its series -- Go On and Animal Practice -- during the Games and launching the majority of its fall lineup in August and September before the official start of the TV season.
"It's important to take what the Olympics are going to do for us and not just go dark," Greenblatt said of the scheduling. "We're in the position where we are with our ratings where we have to do everything we can possibly do to build buzz."
As for another major scheduling change -- the expansion of The Voice to the fall, NBC's reality chief Paul Telegdy, who was also on stage for the executive session, said they have made tweaks to its format to sustain it through two cycles, including keeping the competition between the coaches -- in those spinning red chairs -- going through the later part of the competition.
Much of the session was focused on NBC's strategy to broaden out its comedies and get more on its schedule -- it will launch four new laffers in fall alone. That means the order for critical darling but low-rated Community got cut to 13, though Greenblatt said the network could possibly extend that, and that he would love for the series to find a following on Friday and be able to continue it for another season. But its focus in comedy development is finding shows that can reach a wider audience than its current Thursday night lineup.
"I hope these new shows that we've got for the fall and spring are also clever and also smart...but can also draw a broader audience," he said, adding that sophomores like Whitney and Up All Night were steps in the right direction. "I hope when we come back here in six months we can say the fall comedies did even better than last year's comedies."
Greenblatt was also quick to praise sophomore Smash while acknowledging that as with every primetime soap, it had its ups and downs creatively, which he hopes will be fixed in season two.
"Where we didn't do as good a job as we hope we do this year with the new showrunner is arcing of storylines," he said. "I think we were inconsistent going back and forth with some things."
"It just felt like there's a real plan in place," NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke added. "It feels more consistent."
Also of note: NBC will return its Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday franchise for the 2012 election season, airing two live specials on Sept. 20 and 27.
But here's the problem now with NBC and premiering shows during the Olympics. I'm Ok with the fact if the network just airs the Closing ceremonies straight through and then goes to local news and airs the episode of whatever show they plan to air, or air it when the local news is supposed to air and then air the news a half-hour later, but this stupidity that NBC is doing with premiering a program while cutting away from the event is just ridiculous and they got called out on this two years ago when they aired the horrible Marriage Ref. Another reason why I wish NBC wouldn't have gotten the games for future years but seriously, NBC needs to get a clue as to what they're doing or we're going to see another mass overhaul of executives and staff members and management a year or so from now.
Jed - 7/24/2012 11:08:12 PM EDT
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