TCA 2012 NBC Recap: Ryan Murphy, Matthew Perry, Bob Greenblatt on New Blood, Rocky Past
Rolling out a lengthy slate of new programming, the third place network -- that's right, third! -- discusses axed employees, "Voice" burnout, conservative backlash and the benefits of hiring a trained monkey.
NBC took on the first of two days at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Tuesday, bringing out trusted talent -- Matthew Perry, Ryan Murphy, Dick Wolf -- and newer faces (Crystal, the Hangover II monkey).
Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt also took on the executive Q&A with Entertainment president Jennifer Salke and alternative and late night programming president Paul Telegdy, fielding questions on a variety of the network's transitioning properties.
Executive Session: “NBC has not finished better than fourth since the 2003-04 season,” Greenblatt was quick to point out, noting promise of sustaining the new status by rolling out new series during the Olympics. “I think we’ve done a great job of stacking the deck and taking advantage of the platform that the Olympics give us every couple years." The trio also tackled doubling up on The Voice (different but the same), dumping Dan Harmon (no hard feelings) and ditching Ann Curry (that's a NBC News question).
Guys With Kids: The first of many scripted comedies to roll out over the day, co-creator Jimmy Fallon joined the panel via satellite where he charmed reporters by saying that he really just wanted a show about "DILFs." Co-star Tempestt Bledsoe also promised to bring some of her Cosby Show ratings when the series debuts.
Chicago Fire: Though the actual creators were conspicuously absent EP Dick Wolf spoke effusively about his new series. "What we're trying to do here is a classic, adult, NBC platinum drama," the he said, drawing comparisons to his own Law & Order franchise, ER and Hill Street Blues.
Animal Practice: It's only fitting that a press conference for a comedy set in an animal hospital focuses almost entirely on the animals. After talking about her for almost the entire panel, Crystal the Monkey (of Hangover II and We Bought a Zoo fame) rolled in on a toy ambulance with to announce it was time for the last question. "[Crystal is] the most famous monkey in Hollywood," said series star Justin Kirk. "So you just try to be cool around her."
Revolution: Trying to sell TV audiences on another mythology-heavy serial, creator Eric Kripke was adamant that the science behind his power outage series is sound. "We did our homework, and we came up with something that actually is quite possible," he said, going as far to bring up the physicist they brought to the writers room. "We pitched him the secret as to why all of the power went out, and his face just lit up. He said, 'That's absolutely possible.'"
The New Normal: Co-creator Ryan Murphy had a pretty solid retort for conservative group One Million Moms, who recently called for a boycott of the series that portrays a gay couple having a child. He's writing them into the show. "I think if they would have watched the show, they would love it, because they're represented," said Murphy. "Ellen Barkin's character is one of them." (Fun fact: Murphy also revealed that he used to work on Jennifer Salke's landscaping.)
Go On: Matthew Perry, once and future king of NBC? The Friends star talked about his rich history on the network and his subsequent disappointments. "It's either this or The Whole Ten Yards," he said to several whoops of laughter, after navigating several probes about how funny the dark comedy will be.
Ready For Love: Though there's no premiere date for NBC's venture into the dating arena -- matchmakers trying to set up three very eager bachelors with the right women -- reality TV super-couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic did give the gentlemen their stamp of approval. "I'd set any of them up with my sisters," said Bill.
Stars Earn Stripes: The eclectic cast -- Terry Crews, Laila Ali and Dean Cain included -- talked about their bizarre, grueling and subversive military training. Questioning stayed appropriately benign until one reporter asked Todd Palin if he had any sore feelings over the network's 2008 Saturday Night Live Lampooning of his wife. He didn't really answer.
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