NBC potentate Jeff Zucker and loyal henchperson Ben Silverman had the aura of proud parents watching their 30 Rock children collecting Globes—but they made the unusual decision to avoid the podium entirely at TCA.
Instead, Paul Telegdy and Angela Bromstad—the new heads of "alternative" and "scripted" departments, and the only two besides Silverman, Zucker, and Marc Graboff left standing after mid-December's bloodbath—are at this very moment being shoved at pitchfork-point before a crowd of salivating, Leno-curious reporters. Notes THR:
[T]he newcomers are not responsible for NBC's fall season, for the game-changing decision to put Jay Leno at 10 p.m. or NBC’s current and upcoming midseason lineup. In short: They can't really speak to most of the questions critics want to ask. Silverman and Graboff will be in the ballroom, and making themselves accessible for being cornered with tape recorders. But, let’s face it. If NBC had a successful fall season, the co-chairs would be on stage. “They're sending Paul and Angela to the wolves,” says one competitor.
An operative tells us one of the first questions asked was where Graboff and Ben Silverman were, which elicited a carefully prepared statement along the lines of, "Oh them? They're in the back of the room and will be available if critics want to ask them afterward. But we're the ones in charge of programming, and that's what TV critics are presumably interested in, instead of corporate decisions! Right? Hello? *tap tap* This thing on?"
Other noteworthy announcements: The ailing Heroes is not in danger of cancellation, and—with the return of Pushing Daisies (RIP) visionary Bryan Fuller to the fold— fans could look forward to far fewer gimmick episodes like "The One Where Everyone Swaps Powers for the Day" and "The One Where The Greatest American Hero Shows Up." And the previously thought dead Lipstick Jungle may have a little color in its cheeks yet. (But don't count on it.)
A press release follows, filling you in on all NBC's exciting spring announcements. That includes everything the network wants you to know about the sexy "mockumentary that looks at the exciting world of local government" currently referred to around NBC headquarters as The Untitled Daniels/Schur/Poehler Series, or just The Untitled Daniels-Slash for short:
NBC UNVEILS SPRING PROGRAMMING ANNOUNCEMENTS THAT INCLUDE NEW JOHN WELLS POLICE DRAMA ‘SOUTHLAND’ AND PREMIERE DATES FOR NEW ‘UNTITLED DANIELS/SCHUR/POEHLER SERIES’ AND COOKING COMPETITION SERIES ‘THE CHOPPING BLOCK’
New Drama "Kings" Re-set for Two-hour Premiere on Sundays Beginning March 15
NBC Also Orders Three Additional Episodes for Final Season of "ER" –
Moving Two-hour Series Finale to April 2
UNIVERSAL CITY, CALIF. — January 15, 2009 — NBC unveiled new spring programming announcements today that include the new John Wells drama "Southland" that will debut on Thursday, April 9 (10-11 p.m. ET) as well as premiere dates for "The Untitled Daniels/Schur/Poehler Series" (working title; Thursday, April 9, 8:30-9 p.m. ET) — starring Amy Poehler — and the new cooking competition series "The Chopping Block" (Wednesday, March 11, 8-9 p.m. ET).
In addition, the new drama "Kings" is re-set for Sundays with a two-hour premiere on March 15 (8-10 p.m. ET). Likewise, NBC has added three more episodes of "ER" moving the long-running acclaimed series' two-hour finale to Thursday, April 2 (9-11 p.m. ET) after a one-hour retrospective (8-9 p.m. ET).
These and other announcements were made today by Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios.
"We are excited to continue our productive creative relationship with John Wells and his team on this promising new project," said Bromstad. "We think 'Southland' is a gripping, well-executed drama with strong commercial appeal. And we're also making schedule changes that will strengthen the premieres of our new series 'Kings' and 'The Chopping Block.'"
From Emmy Award winners John Wells, Ann Biderman and Chris Chulack comes a raw and authentic look at the police unit in Los Angeles. From the beaches of Malibu to the streets of East Los Angeles, "Southland" is a fast-moving drama that will take viewers inside the lives of cops, criminals, victims and their families.
Michael Cudlitz ("A River Runs Through It") plays John Cooper a seasoned Los Angeles cop assigned to train young rookie Ben Sherman (Benjamin McKenzie, "The O.C."). Cooper's honest, no-nonsense approach to the job leaves Sherman questioning whether or not he has what it takes to become a police officer.
Cudlitz and McKenzie are joined by other cast members including Regina King ("Ray," "Jerry Maguire") who plays Detective Lydia Adams. Adams lives with and is the primary caregiver of her mother. Her partner, Detective Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott, "Boiler Room") is an unhappily married father of three. Michael McGrady ("The Thin Red Line") plays Detective Daniel "Sal" Salinger. Sal oversees fellow gang detectives Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro, "Drive," "Ugly Betty") and Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy, "Alpha Dog"). Arija Bareikis ("Crossing Jordan") plays as patrol officer Chickie Brown, a single mom who dreams of being the first woman accepted into SWAT.
"Southland" is a John Wells Production in association with Warner Bros. Television. Wells, Chulack and Biderman serve as executive producers. Biderman is the creator and Chulack will also serve as director of the series.
"The Untitled Daniels/Schur/Poehler Series" (working title) — from Emmy Award-winning executive producers Greg Daniels (NBC's "The Office," "King of the Hill") and Michael Schur ("The Office, "Saturday Night Live") — is a new mockumentary that looks at the exciting world of local government. The documentary cameras follow Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler, NBC's "Saturday Night Live," "Baby Mama"), a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana. In an attempt to beautify her town — and advance her career — Leslie takes on what should be a fairly simple project: help local nurse Ann Logan (Rashida Jones, "The Office") take on defensive bureaucrats, selfish neighbors, real estate developers, and single-issue fanatics — whose weapons are lawsuits, the jumble of city codes, and the very democratic process that Leslie loves so much. Aziz Ansari and Aubrey Plaza also star.
"The Untitled Daniels/Schur/Poehler Series" is a production of Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios. Along with Daniels and Schur, Howard Klein also serves as executive producer for the series.
"The Chopping Block" will feature celebrated chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White (UK's "Hell's Kitchen") in a new original cooking competition series in which the British Michelin star chef gives neophyte hopeful chefs/restaurateurs working in couples the opportunity to compete in America's greatest restaurant challenge. The series will expose the unseen pitfalls and behind-the-scenes madness that goes into opening a restaurant in the most competitive city in the world — with the help of a grand prize of $250,000. The series is produced by Granada America. The executive producers are David Barbour and Julian Cress.
"Kings" is a riveting new drama from executive producer Michael Green (NBC's "Heroes") about a modern-day monarchy. The series is an epic story of greed and power, war and romance, forbidden loves and secret alliances — and a young hero who rises to power in a modern-day kingdom. "Kings" stars Ian McShane (Golden Globe-winner, "Deadwood"), Chris Egan, Sebastian Stan, Susanna Thompson, Allison Miller, Wes Studi, Eamonn Walker and Dylan Baker.
"Kings" is produced by Universal Media Studios and is executive-produced by Green, Erwin Stoff ("I Am Legend") and Francis Lawrence ("I Am Legend"), who also directed the two-hour premier....
UNIVERSAL MEDIA STUDIOS SIGNS FIRST-LOOK DEAL WITH ACTOR-PRODUCER-DIRECTOR DON CHEADLE AND HIS CRESCENDO PRODUCTIONS SHINGLE