Heard Inside the Upfronts
Which shows and people were getting buzz at TV's parties and presentations.
♦ Clearly, NBC's Bob Greenblatt is besotted with the midseason musical Smash, which he developed at Showtime. One insider said the pilot cost $7.5 million, but a screening for network execs prompted a standing ovation, with some -- including NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke -- even shedding tears.
♦ Over at ABC's press breakfast, topper Paul Lee made it clear that midseason horror drama The River is his darling. Clips suggest the show is a change-up from ABC's typical femme-skewing dramas. Paranormal Activity writer-director Oren Peli uses shaky camerawork to creep out his audience. "I think it may play at Comic-Con," Lee boasted.
♦ "Musical shows do well, but there will be saturation at some point," griped one ad buyer of the rash of competitions, including American Idol, The Voice, The X Factor and the newly expanded Sing-Off at NBC. Even Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly acknowledged that the field is getting crowded. "I do worry about too much clutter," he said at the network's post-upfront party at Wollman Rink.
♦ Asked how long it will take him to put his imprimatur on NBC, Greenblatt cited his pet project. "Smash took me three months, so it can happen quickly," he said. "But I was very involved in all these pilots. Ninety percent of them I didn't develop initially, but I was on the job soon enough to really have an effect on all of them -- casting, the directors, execution. So for better or worse, I will have to take some credit for the successes and the failures."
♦ There were rumblings at the NBC party of its Prime Suspect drama needing to be tweaked a bit. In addition to star Maria Bello's outfits, which met with tepid reviews, the episodes will likely be infused with more engaging puzzles, noted one insider.
♦ SNL's Seth Meyers isn't finished with his skewering of Donald Trump. "I never thought for a second that he was going to run -- and neither did he," joked Meyers. Trump snuck out before NBC's lunch, avoiding an awkward encounter.
♦ With the Parents Television Council on its case, nobody expected ABC to keep the working title Good Christian Bitches for its soapy drama. Some had wanted to call it Good Christian Babes, but women were offended, noted one insider. The group settled on Good Christian Belles, which will be shortened to GCB. It could have been a lot worse -- a source said someone at Sony suggested calling it GCC (we won't print what that stands for).