NBC will roll out two new comedies and four new dramas during the 2009-10 season, the network announced Monday.
Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, talked up the quality and diversity of the new slate.
"It's a lot harder for us to program because we don't have one kind of show. We've got to give [viewers] diversity," said Silverman, adding "we can't just give a middle-aged male actor who plays cops a show," a knock at CBS and its slate of crime dramas which, it should be noted, have been successful for the network.
Returning series include midseason replacements Southland and Amy Poehler's Parks and Recreation. Heroes,
which experienced a ratings decline this season, also will get another
season. And the network has ordered six new primetime installments of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, which will air in the Thursday comedy block next season.
New comedies include the Chevy Chase laugher Community, about an eclectic band of misfits and nerds at a community college, and 100 Questions, about a woman (Sophie Winkleman) navigating the world of online dating. Community is from Arrested Development directors Joe and Anthony Russo. And 100 Questions is written and executive-produced by Christopher Moynihan (For Your Consideration). James Burrows (Will & Grace, Friends) directed the pilot.
The hefty drama slate includes two medical hours. Trauma is about first responders and is from executive producer Peter Berg (who also produces Friday Night Lights, which has already been picked up for a fourth season). Mercy
follows the doctors and nurses at Mercy Hospital and is told via the
point of view of nurse Veronica Callahan (Taylor Schilling), who has
returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with more medical prowess than all of
the hospital's residents.
Additional dramas include a series adaptation of the big-screen classic Parenthood (watch a preview clip below), executive produced by Ron Howard, and the apocalyptic Day One, which
takes place after a global catastrophe has devastated the world's
infrastructures. The series, which is being billed by the network as an
"epic event series" will bow during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The story arc will wrap in 13 episodes, but the network could commission more if the first season proves successful.
When asked if he was concerned about finding homes for so many dramas with the 10 p.m. hour occupied by Jay Leno's primetime variety show, Silverman shot back: "You wouldn't ask that question of Fox."
"We're doubling down on our scripted content," he said. Taking the 10 p.m. hour out of the equation, he added, "gives us the opportunity to be more thematic and surgical and focused [with scheduling]."
announced series pickups include The Office, 30 Rock, The Biggest Loser, The Celebrity Apprentice, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and new alternative series The Marriage Ref, Breakthrough With Tony Robbins and Who Do You Think You Are?
Knight Rider, Kath & Kim, and Life have been cancelled.
What is not known is the fate of Thursday night comedy My Name is Earl as well as Medium, Law & Order, and sophomore comedy Chuck, which has an ardent online following.
As series mature, their licensing fees increase. It's possible that if NBC passes on some of these on-the-bubble shows, they'll land at another network. Marc Graboff, co-chairman, NBCU Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, said the network will make decisions "defensively" and "live with our decisions."
Noting the migration of ABC Studios-produced Scrubs from NBC to ABC this season, Silverman added, "Obviously there is going to be movement as the business evolves. Some of those moves are playing out now and will continue to play out over of the next two or three seasons."
The network will announce
additional series pickups May 19, during the traditional broadcast
Watch a preview of Parenthood below. To watch clips of other new fall shows from NBC, click here.