In their first appearance in front of TV critics since being charged with reviving NBC’s primetime schedule in a re-organization at NBC Universal’s TV units, Angela Bromstad and Paul Telegdy unveiled a handful of plans to get new shows on the air this spring, in time for a crack at a spot on the fall schedule.
Bromstad, president of primetime entertainment for NBC and Universal Media Studios, announced March premiere dates for new drama Kings and new cooking competition series The Chopping Block. Premiering in April: Southland, a new drama about the Los Angeles Police Department from ER creator John Wells and The Untitled Daniels/Schur/Poehler Series, starring Amy Poehler.
“When I came in we talked about launching another drama this spring,” Bromstad says. “We feel so strongly about both shows [Kings and Southland], so as opposed to waiting for fall we wanted to get both on the air to see the potential to be on schedule next fall.”
In addition, three additional episodes of ER were ordered, pushing the series finale to an ER “extravaganza” April 2, with a retrospective 8-9 p.m. and the two-hour finale from 9-11 p.m., she says.
Bromstad emphasized the fate of existing shows on NBC’s schedule depends largely on the quality of the pilots in development. Many shows that have not yet been renewed, including Lipstick Jungle, Life and Chuck, remain in consideration to come back. New shows will have to “beat” what the network already has going.
NBC will, of course, have five fewer hours per week in primetime to schedule next fall since the announcement that a Jay Leno vehicle will be stripped at 10 p.m. However, Bromstad says she will shoot the same number of pilots the network shot the year before last, when there was no writers strike. That means six dramas, four comedies, she says.
Much has been made of NBC’s move toward ordering some projects straight to series – skipping the typical pilot phase – and Bromstad says those types of decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Bromstad and Telegdy, executive VP of alternative programming for NBC and Universal Media Studios, say they will work together to establish the balance among scripted and reality shows. Teledgy says the point is that whatever is on NBC primetime, it hews to the NBC brand, which the exec-duo defined as both “popular” and “high-quality.”
Bromstad said several times that Heroes, which has seen ratings declines, is “secure.” She also said showrunner Tim Kring is in the process of “getting back to the core of the show with ordinary people with extraordinary powers and that they may have taken on too much with multiple characters and storylines.”
When asked how she feels about inheriting a somewhat “broken” lineup, she says, “I have to disagree a little bit.”
She says though the fall was “challenging, we still have some amazing shows on the air. … My job and Paul’s job is to add more amazing dramas and comedies … it’s what I’m here to do.”
*NBC has made a development deal with Don Cheadle and is developing a new pilot from Law & Order creator Dick Wolf
*The network renewed comedies 30 Rock and The Office and reality series The Biggest Loser
*New drama Kings re-set for two-hour premiere on Sundays beginning March 15
*Ordered three additional episodes for the final season of ER moving the two-hour series finale to April 2
* New John Wells drama Southland will debut on Thursday, April 9 at 10 p.m.
*"The Untitled Daniels/Schur/Poehler Series" will premiere Thursday, April 9 at 8:30 p.m.
* New cooking competition series The Chopping Block premieres Wednesday, March 11 at 8 p.m.
Stephanie Robbins contributed to this report.