'1600 Penn' Taking Political Cues From 'The West Wing'

1600 Penn TCA - H - 2012
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

NBC may have two political comedies when 1600 Penn joins Parks and Recreation on the Thursday block this week, but the former's creators insist that they are two decidedly different entities.

Cameos from the likes of Joe Biden, John McCain, Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe, as seen on this season of Parks, won't have any place on the sitcom about a fictional first family starring Bill Pullman, Jenna Elfman and Josh Gad.

"Our show exists in an alternative political universe," said pilot director and EP Jason Winer at the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour on Saturday. "If Joe Biden came on, it would be like a snake eating its own tail."

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Instead of booking anyone from inside the beltway, Winer notes 1600 Penn is taking cues from an NBC series from the past.

"We adopt a similar role as The West Wing," he added. "[We acknowledge] that history existed up until a certain point, but then we don't mention anything else. We don't mention anything after [Jimmy] Carter."

Winer's comment on the exact date that the world of 1600 Penn diverges from U.S. history earned him a few laughs.

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As for West Wing realism, co-creator Jon Lovett promised that his three-year tenure as a speechwriter for President Obama will balance the levity.  

"My experience may give us a way to ground this show and these stories about the family," he said. "We definitely have some fun with the press in the briefing room."

Enter the notable cameos. The EPs listed off names of real journalists, most of them from NBCUniversal properties, already booked to appear -- Mika Brzezinski, Savannah Guthrie, Joe Scarborough, Chuck Todd and Larry King among them.

Email: Michael.OConnell@THR.com; Twitter: @MikeyLikesTV