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
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
"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.