Q&A: Angela Bromstad
President, primetime entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios
Angela Bromstad: It's to move away a little bit from serialized stylized shows that are harder for entry and try to get big, broad-type shows. Having not been here for the development season, it was a rare sort of opportunity to just come in and be completely objective and say what do we have in the procedural, big tent kind of shows. We deviated from that a little bit with "Parenthood" and "Day One." With "Parenthood," we had such an exceptional script from Jason Katims. It's a real big messy family that covers all boundaries. The other unique thing this year is that we're shooting a lot outside of L.A. -- and not due to any financial reason. We're shooting "Trauma" in San Francisco, "Parenthood" in Philadelphia, we're shooting "Mercy" in New Jersey or Connecticut, we're shooting a comedy in Chicago. It's an opportunity to use the cities as a character in the show.
THR: Given that you have a healthy number of pilots and also have to make room for Jay Leno, how many shows can you back next fall?
Bromstad: We can still bring back as many as we like.
THR: Clearly, when you take one whole hour out of the week, you obviously don't want to jump everything to midseason. I would assume you have to bring back fewer than you normally would. It's just the math.
Bromstad: Right. Well, there are obviously shows that are on the bubble. And there are the obviously shows that won't be brought back. And then there are shows that if we can work out a financial arrangement, maybe.
THR: Is "Heroes" considered a bubble show at this point?
THR: Have you considered -- like "Lost," "Battlestar Galactica" and "The Shield" -- setting an end date for the series?
Bromstad: Yes, absolutely. In terms of the way that they did that, it was really smart. So absolutely we have thought about that. But next season wouldn't necessarily be the last one.
THR: Does it limit you creatively to not have a 10 p.m. hour to put grittier dramas?
Bromstad: Right now, it's not limiting. It's allowing us to be focused about what time slots we're developing, so it's taking some pressure off and that's been a positive thing for us. The only way it probably limits us is that we don't take as many shots because we don't have as many hours to fill. We want very accessible programming. Even "Day One "is a big event and we're looking at that to come in the "Heroes" spot. Right now it's being looked at as a 13-episode run.
THR: How many episodes are you looking at for "Heroes"?
Bromstad: Anywhere from 18 to 20 episodes for "Heroes" next season.
THR: What is it like for you, personally, to come into this position given all the changes and headlines during the past year?
Bromstad: It's been good because I've been truly out of the country and away from all of it so I'm not encumbered by everything that's been going on.
THR: In making the Leno announcement, Ben Silverman said NBC planned to do more scripted programming on Friday and Saturday. Is this still the plan, and have you ordered any pilots with an eye for that?
Bromstad: We are primarily focused on Monday through Friday with our scripted development efforts.
THR: "Lipstick Jungle." We keep hearing it's not dead, but two of its stars booked pilots. What's the latest on that?
Bromstad: We were giving our cable companies opportunities to look at it and the financials, and it doesn't look like that it will be continuing.
THR: What about "Chuck"?
Bromstad: It's too early to tell. It's a really fun show and well done.
THR: And "Life"?
Bromstad: "Life" is a show I developed when I was here before I left. Damian (Lewis) is a great star. We wish the ratings were better. That's really all we can say.
THR: What's going to change with you running the studio and network?
Bromstad: I have to keep reminding myself I have a network job. You get so immersed in the shows.
THR: Has "Kings" been underpromoted, do you think that's accurate?
Bromstad: We're now heading into our serious promotion time, it (recently) had five promotion spots on "The Apprentice." We have no intent on letting "Kings" go underpromoted.
THR: Did you plan to have four comedies on Thursday in the fall?
Bromstad: We'll still be looking at four comedies there next fall.
THR: Last year, NBC had its "All-American Summer"; any particular theme or goals this year?
Bromstad: Those are conversations we are having right now. We'll have original reality shows and original programming.
THR: So original scripted as well?
THR: Would it be a co-production like "Flashpoint"?
Bromstad: Could be one or the other. Those are ongoing conversations.
THR: Did being outside the country for a time give you any different perspectives that you've been able to apply here?
Bromstad: What it taught me is our content really is global content. Our production values are so high, and when you go to different countries and every single place has heard about "Heroes" -- whether you're in China or Japan or Russian -- to me, that is global content. We have an opportunity to create things that connect people. Also, just looking at a show like "American Dreams" or even "Friday Night Lights," which are beloved shows, but they don't necessarily travel the way "Heroes" or "House" does. It doesn't have to be a genre show, "House" is a procedural, yet an international hit.
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