NBC Party Diary With Adam Levine, Kathy Griffin and the Cast of 'Smash'
A minute-by-minute look at the network's TCA bash in Pasadena, which drew Blake Shelton, Steven Pasquale and the "Shahs of Sunset" cast, among many others.
Following a day of panels and a handful of "we're finally No. 1" plugs, the network invited members of the Television Critics Association to mingle with NBC and its collection of cable outlets on night three of the winter tour. Here's a minute-by-minute look at what went down – from Adam Levine’s gaggle to Aaron Tveit’s admission -- inside Sunday night’s party at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena.
6:19 p.m. Revolution's Billy Burke (Miles) goes casual for the party, trading the day's suit for jeans and a Seattle Seahawks hoodie following the team’s win earlier in the day. He is busy chatting with castmate Elizabeth Mitchell (Rachel), before David Lyons (Bass) hijacks him for a photo.
6:22 p.m. 1600 Penn executive producer/director Jason Winer tells Deception's Tate Donovan about the "great response” that the White House comedy’s lunchtime panel received earlier in the day. 1600’s Robbie Amell, cousin to Arrow star Stephen Amell, drops by for a quick hello; Winer introduces him to Donovan.
6:35 p.m. Bravo talk show host Kathy Griffin greets Apprentice vet Omarosa Manigault by the door, showering her with compliments. “You look beautiful. Like a model. You should be on The Face,” Griffin tells the reality star, referring to the Naomi Campbell-fronted supermodel competition series coming to Oxygen.
6:41 p.m. New Smash showrunner Josh Safran has a line four reporters deep in front of him as he tucks himself into a corner. They’re all waiting to talk changes to season two, which he said earlier in the day would entail the show being both bigger and younger. Nearby, his star Jack Davenport (Derek) is being grilled on the same topic. He tells critics that the focus this season will be on the Broadway aspects of the show.
6:45 p.m. The Voice coach Adam Levine slips into the back corner, where he’s seated, fed and instantly surrounded by a gaggle of females. Fittingly, a Maroon 5 song blasts through the loudspeakers. A half hour or so later, Levine and his crew slip out through the back exit as quietly as they came in. Fellow Voice coach Blake Shelton is now posted up near the bar, where he entertains a parade of reporters passing through. Across the room, host Carson Daly is posing for a photo. The gang wasn’t on hand for a panel because new entrant Shakira – the spring edition's only female -- is in Spain about to deliver a baby.
6:50 p.m. Smash executive producer Neil Meron -- who earned kudos during the series' panel for his honesty surrounding season one's shortcomings -- chats with Deception co-stars Victor Garber and Wes Brown, while the youngest member of the 1600 Penn cast (Benjamin Stockham) takes a lap with his parents. Meanwhile, former Disney honcho-turned-Shine America CEO Rich Ross is making the rounds in search of a recently injured Campbell, whose The Face is a Shine format. His first official day on the job is Monday.
6:56 p.m. Stage vet Aaron Tveit, who plays Enroljas in Tom Hooper's Les Miserables adaptation and is set to star in USA's summer drama Graceland, was candid about his past experiences in TV. "[Sometimes] you don't always agree with what you have to do and that's fine, that's the job," he acknowledges, alluding to his Gossip Girl turn as Trip Van Der Bilt. "I learned so much doing that show."
7:08 p.m. Cast members of Bravo’s second season series Shahs of Sunset arrive, dolled up in gowns that have many in the room buzzing. The group beelines to the bar. Do No Harm star Steven Pasquale is already there, picking up a round of drinks for the cast of Smash.
7:12 p.m. Smash newbies Jeremy Jordan and Krysta Rodriguez make their way through the crowd together, with Jordan, a Broadway alum, noting that the transition to TV has been easy thus far: "I get weekends off, and I'm not doing eight shows a week!"
7:20 p.m. The award for the chummiest cast goes to the Deception crew, who remain inseparable for much of the evening. Garber, Brown, Donovan and creator Liz Heldens powwow, while star Meagan Good makes the rounds. Across the room, Apprentice returnee Marilu Henner snaps a photo of her son with Revolution star Giancarlo Esposito. Smash EPs Meron and Craig Zadan – who will be producing this year’s Oscars telecast -- quietly leave through a side door.
7:26 p.m. NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke heads over to cable chairman Bonnie Hammer and USA co-president Chris McCumber to say hello. McCumber – just back from a tropical vacation -- congratulates her on the fall’s success. His network, too, is coming off a strong fourth quarter, ending the year as the No. 1 cable network for the seventh consecutive year. His co-president Jeff Wachtel is mingling nearby, while NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt holds court in the corner.
7:45 p.m. New Smash series regular Leslie Odom Jr. interrupts an interview to gush over Phylicia Rashad, best known for her long-running role as The Cosy Show's Mrs. Huxtable. The duo winds up chatting Broadway and mutual friends for some 10 minutes before wrapping up the conversation with a photo of Rashad, Odom and his wife. The party is winding down for others, with 1600 Penn exec producers Jon Lovett and Winer both waiting for their cars as Deception’s Donovan signs autographs by the door.