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JAN
6
2 YEARS

TCA Recap: NBC Highlights Include the Future for 'Community,' Alec Baldwin and Hit Show 'The Voice'

Chelsea Handler leads a spirited panel, while Ben Silverman returns to the network's dog and pony show.

TCA The Voice 2012
Getty Images
"The Voice"

After starting the morning with an informal breakfast celebrating Betty White's 90th birthday and previewing her upcoming reality series Off Their Rockers, NBC Entertainment topper Bob Greenblatt noted the fourth-place network had a "really bad fall." Beyond addressing the future of Community, 30 Rock andthe Today show, NBC launched into a day of panels that included Smash, Are You There, Chelsea? and Awake. Here are the highlights from Friday's session at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena. 

STORY: TCA: NBC Entertainment Chief Bob Greenblatt Takes It on the Chin

Executive suite: During the executive session, a frank Greenblatt noted the fall, which featured the cancellation of freshman series The Playboy Club, Prime Suspect, Free Agents, was "worse than I had hoped for, but about what I expected."

STORY: TCA: Robert Greenblatt, NBC (Executive Analysis)

News hits: Greenblatt also addressed a number of concerns at the network, including recent reports that Today show host Matt Lauer could depart the morning staple. "The No. 1 priority is keeping Matt on the Today show," he told reporters.

STORY: TCA: Keeping Matt Lauer on 'Today' Show is NBC's No. 1 Priority

Coming back: Greenblatt confirmed that the fan favorite and ratings-challenged comedy Community will return this season. "When I announced our midseason changes last fall and took Community off the schedule, I failed to explicitly say that it would be back," he told reporters.

STORY: TCA: 'Community' Will Be Back This Season

Also returning:Alec Baldwin. The 30 Rock Emmy winner is returning to the Thursday night comedy next year, with the NBC topper telling reporters after his morning presentation that "We have Alec for next season" and that the actor had "quietly re-upped" this past fall.

STORY: TCA: Alec Baldwin Will Stay With '30 Rock'

Guest gig: In announcing his upcoming four-episode arc on Law & Order: SVU, Harry Connick Jr. and Mariska Hargitay offered a first-look at both their on-screen chemistry and off-screen friendship. In an effort to allay fans' fears, both Greenblatt and Hargitay reconfirmed that the actress isn't leaving the veteran procedural anytime soon. Hargitay also noted that she'll be back for next season as well.

STORY: 'Law & Order: SVU': Harry Connick Jr. Joins in Multiepisode Arc

Speaking of returning … Former -- and controversial -- NBC Entertainment topper Ben Silverman returned to TCA with reality series Fashion Star. "I'm bettin' on Bob," he said during the ho-hum panel. When asked about his fiery relationship with the press, he quipped: "You guys were always our friends when the shows were good."

STORY: TCA: Ben Silverman Says 'Fashion Star' Prize 'Well Over $6 Million'

Legal eagle: Josh Lucas shared his fascination with law during session for drama The Firm, telling reporters of his experience serving on a jury that convicted the trial's defendant to life.

STORY: TCA: 5 Things to Know About 'The Firm'

One-liner queens: The session for midseason comedy Are You There, Chelsea? featured Laura Prepon and Chelsea Handler zipping between subjects with one-liners like this, from Handler, who plays the older sister to Prepon's version of her: "I don't have time to star in my own TV show. If I did I would. I like my E! show, I love being under the radar."

STORY: 5 Funniest One-Liners From the 'Are You There, Chelsea?' Session

Chemistry:Amanda Peet talked chemistry with her on-screen handyman in the network's upcoming romantic comedy Bent, while co-star David Walton dished surfing. Meanwhile, co-star Jeffrey Tambor weighed in after the panel on Netflix's Arrested Development reboot.

STORY: TCA: Jeffrey Tambor on 'Arrested Development' Reboot

Broadway bound? The cast and producers -- numbering a whopping 16 on the stage -- addressed pressure to succeed for the network, comparisons to Fox's Glee as well as whether or not the Marilyn Monroe play-within-the-series could eventually make it to Broadway. Plus what could a second season look like and could there be another play developed within the show?

STORY: TCA: 'Smash': Cast and Producers on 'Glee' Comparisons, Broadway and What Season 2 Could Look Like

STORY: TCA: NBC Launching ‘Smash’ Pilot Online Jan. 16

Dueling realities: The complexity of NBC's Awake, about detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs) living in two parallel realities, was a frequent topic of discussion during the session. Executive producer Howard Gordon seemed confident viewers would accept the concept early on, and if not, so be it. "It's a fairly gettable concept. Whatever learning curve there'll be, I hope it's shallow," Gordon said.

STORY: TCA: 'Awake' Creator 'Hopeful' That it Won't be 'Lone Star' All Over Again

STORY: 5 Things to Know About NBC's 'Awake'

Loud Voices: In a spirited debate, The Voice coaches talked Twitter controversies, the differences between all the singing competitions as well as what can be expected in the upcoming second season. Plus: Adam Levine trusts the show more than the recording industry.

STORY: TCA: Why 'The Voice' Isn't 'X Factor' or 'American Idol'

Up next on Saturday: Day 2 with NBCUniversal's cable networks.

STORY: TCA Preview: The Full Schedule and What to Expect