This afternoon, NBC goes before advertisers and the press to try to sell its 2007-2008 season to advertisers and the press. So this morning the network sent out the details of the season for previewing by the masses.
"We've got the class and next season we're ready to add some mass," said NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, "with new shows that build on the creative accomplishments of last season and are as broad as they are good."
We take it "mass" means "more viewers," because Mr. Reilly's statement suggests what we all know: the network that was willing to take risks with some edgy material over the last couple of seasons (and had a lot of success with the critics: Friday Night Lights, Medium, Heroes) still hasn't gotten a show in the top 10 in terms of viewers.
But then, why does this season seem so of a piece with the previous ones?
Given that NBC only picked up one comedy and renewed Scrubs, it looks like comedy development, once a Must-See TV staple, is in trouble (though that's true everywhere).
Chuck sounds cute and funny, and Lipstick Jungle is a no-brainer even if working-women dramedys are a tough sell on television these days (how to avoid both cliché and dirtiness in a show like this?)
But with Journeyman, it sounds like they are ripping off their own Heroes, taking the Masi Oka character (who time travels) and building a show on that. People love the supernatural these days!
If Bionic Woman is a success we'll be seeing these woman-superhero shows all over the place on the small screen. Get Linda Carter!
And the IT Crowd–about the eccentrics who fix your computer and what life is like in the room next to the supply room–hello, Office?
Life, we assume, is made possible by the banishment of Law and Order: Criminal Intent to USA. They needed another quirky detective, but maybe not one with quite such an annoying speech pattern.
The burning question: Why won’t NBC ever cancel ER? (And why do people continue to watch it?)
Here is the full announcement:
NBC will enhance its current roster of critically acclaimed and creatively ambitious programs with a new 2007-08 primetime lineup that features five new dramas, one new comedy and a variety of fresh unscripted programs, complemented by a host of innovative programming moves, it was announced today at NBC's presentation to advertisers and the media at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
"Last year we promised a return to the NBC legacy of quality, and in terms of awards, buzz and critical acclaim, that's just what we delivered," said NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly. "We've got the class and next season we're ready to add some mass, with new shows that build on the creative accomplishments of last season and are as broad as they are good. Combine the energy of these new programs with the bulked-up strength of our existing NBC hits and you've got a lineup that's poised to take us to the next level."
"We've always been a company that's embraced new ideas and introduced innovations ahead of the pack," said Marc Graboff, President, NBC Universal Television, West Coast. "Today's advertisers want programs that excite viewers and command real passion both on our broadcast airwaves and in the digital/online realm, and that's what our new fall schedule is all about."
NBC's 2007-08 lineup features the new dramas "Journeyman" (Mondays, 10-11 p.m. ET), a romantic-mystery from the Emmy Award-winning producers of "The West Wing," concerning a San Francisco newspaper reporter (Kevin McKidd, "Rome") who inexplicably begins to travel through time and alter people's lives; and "Chuck" (Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m. ET), a comedic spy thriller about an unassuming computer geek who is unexpectedly catapulted into a new career as a government agent after spy secrets are mysteriously embedded into his brain.
Also new this fall is the drama "Bionic Woman" (Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m. ET), a re-imagination of the classic from David Eick ("Battlestar Galactica") and Jason Smilovic ("Kidnapped"). "Bionic Woman" stars Michelle Ryan ("EastEnders") as a young woman whose life is radically altered and empowered after a car crash. Additionally, "Life" (Wednesdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) features a complex police detective (Damian Lewis, "Band of Brothers") who's given a second chance on the force after serving years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
The new dramedy "Lipstick Jungle," from bestselling author Candace Bushnell ("Sex and the City"), is set to debut in January 2008 on Sundays (10-11 p.m. ET). Created by Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Helene, ("How I Met Your Mother"), the series involves the lives of three high-powered friends (Brooke Shields, "Suddenly Susan," Kim Raver, "24," and Lindsay Price, "Beverly Hills, 90210") who are determined to achieve their dreams and to do it on their own terms.
The latest new comedy from NBC is "The IT Crowd," based on the acclaimed British series that takes a behind-the-scenes peek at the misunderstood techies (Joel McHale, "The Soup," and Richard Ayoade, "The IT Crowd" — U.K.) who toil in the Information Technology department of a large, impersonal corporation. "The IT Crowd" is scheduled to join the NBC schedule during the course of the 2007-08 season.
Among today's additional announcements, each representing a unique opportunity for NBC's clients to attach their messages to original and quality content that goes beyond the 30-second spot, are:
*NBC "bulks up" with 30 combined episodes of "Heroes" and "Heroes: Origins," an innovative new spin-off that each week will introduce a new character — one of whom will be chosen by viewers through the "Heroes" website on
NBC.com to become a cast regular the following season.
*The network has ordered 30 half-hours of the hit series "The Office," including five hour-long episodes, and also has increased the season order for "My Name Is Earl" to 25 episodes.
*Jerry Seinfeld, star of the classic NBC mega-hit "Seinfeld," returns to the network to create and star in 20 unique live-action comedy "minisodes" inspired by his experiences creating the upcoming DreamWorks animated feature film "Bee Movie," in theaters November 2. NBC Universal will also have the exclusive U.S. broadcast and cable network rights to the film, which features Seinfeld as the voice of Barry B. Benson, a disillusioned bee. Produced by Seinfeld and DreamWorks, the 20 comedy shorts will give viewers a glimpse at Seinfeld's behind-the-scenes antics during production of the movie. The "minisodes" will run on NBC's primetime schedule this Fall, as well as on NBC.com, on designated days before and after the release of the film.
*Series renewals include the Peabody Award-winning drama "Friday Night Lights," now shifting to Friday nights (10-11 p.m. ET); "Scrubs," also a Peabody winner, for a seventh season; and the venerable, Emmy-winning "Law & Order," for its historic 18th season (see separate NBCUMV.com release).
*NBC's acclaimed Thursday "Comedy Night Done Right" lineup will next year lead off with "My Name is Earl" at 8 p.m. (ET), which will be followed by "30 Rock" at 8:30 p.m., the Peabody Award-winning "The Office" at 9 p.m. and "Scrubs" at 9:30.
*New NBC series "Bionic Woman" and "Life" will be re-purposed on SCI FI Channel and USA Network, respectively, shortly after their original telecasts on NBC.
*NBC will kick-start the weekend on Fridays (8-9 p.m. ET) with "Game Night," a rotation of game shows that features "1 vs 100" (hosted by Bob Saget) for eight weeks, followed by six weeks of the new variety competition series "The Singing Bee" in the fall. The program is a competition that challenges contestants to accurately sing the lyrics to popular songs — even when the band stops playing.
Also at today's presentation in New York, the network unveiled several new "NBC 360" digital initiatives that will help maintain the NBC Universal Television Group's leadership in the creation and execution of innovative digital opportunities across its multiple media platforms (see related NBCUMV.com releases).
Later in the fall, NBC plans to introduce the unscripted series, "World Moves," a talent competition program from executive producer Randy Jackson ("American Idol") that features dance teams from around the world auditioning for their shot to come to Los Angeles and compete for a global championship and an international touring contract.
After "Sunday Night Football" concludes its season in January 2008, the network will unveil a new regular line-up. After the return of "Dateline NBC" (7-8 p.m. ET) will be the 18th season premiere of "Law & Order" (8-9 p.m. ET), followed by the fourth season debut of "Medium" (9-10 p.m. ET) and the premiere of the sexy new dramedy "Lipstick Jungle" (10-11 p.m. ET).
NBC PRIMETIME SCHEDULE FOR FALL 2007-08
*New programs in CAPS (with the exception of "ER")
8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"
9-10 p.m. "Heroes"
10-11 p.m. "JOURNEYMAN"
8-9 p.m. "The Biggest Loser"
9-10 p.m. "CHUCK"
10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"
9-10 p.m. "BIONIC WOMAN"
10-11 p.m. "LIFE"
8-8:30 p.m. "My Name Is Earl"
8:30-9 p.m. "30 Rock"
9-9:30 p.m. "The Office"
9:30-10 p.m. "Scrubs"
10-11 p.m. "ER"
8-9 p.m. "1 vs 100"/"THE SINGING BEE"
9-10 p.m. "Las Vegas"
10-11 p.m. "Friday Night Lights"
8-9 p.m. "Dateline NBC"
9-11 p.m. Drama Series Encores
SUNDAY (Fall 2007)
7-8 p.m. "Football Night in America"
8-11 p.m. "NBC Sunday Night Football"
SUNDAY (January 2008)
7-8 p.m. "Dateline NBC"
8-9 p.m. "Law & Order"
9-10 p.m. "Medium"
10-11 p.m. "LIPSTICK JUNGLE"
2007-08 NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
"JOURNEYMAN"– From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Kevin Falls ("The West Wing") and Emmy Award-winning director-producer Alex Graves ("The West Wing"), "Journeyman" is a romantic mystery-drama about Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd, "Rome"), a San Francisco newspaper reporter and family man who inexplicably begins to travel through time and change people's lives. Along the way, he also must deal with the difficulties and strife at work and home brought on by his sudden disappearances. However, his freewheeling travels through the decades reunite him with his long-lost fiance Livia (Moon Bloodgood, "Day Break") — which complicates his present-day life with wife Katie (Gretchen Egolf, "Martial Law") and their son. Reed Diamond ("Homicide: Life on the Street") and Charles Henry Wyson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") also star. "Journeyman" is a production of 20th Century Fox Television. Falls is executive producer and writer; Graves is executive producer and director of the pilot.
"CHUCK" – From executive producer, Josh Schwartz ("The O.C.") and executive producer-director McG ("Charlie's Angels," "We Are Marshall") comes a one-hour, comedic spy thriller about Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi, "Less Than Perfect") – a computer geek who is catapulted into a new career as the government's most vital secret agent. When Chuck opens an e-mail subliminally encoded with government secrets, he unwittingly downloads an entire server of sensitive data into his brain. Now, the fate of the world lies in the unlikely hands of a guy who works at Buy More. Instead of fighting computer viruses, he must fight assassins and international terrorists. With the government's most precious secrets in Chuck's head, Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin, "My Bodyguard") of the NSA assumes the responsibility of protecting him. His partner is the CIA's top agent (and Chuck's first date in years) Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strzechowski, "Gone"). They'll keep him safe by trading in his pocket protector for a bulletproof vest. Also starring are Joshua Gomez ("Without a Trace") as Chuck's best buddy Morgan and Sarah Lancaster ("What About Brian?") as Chuck's ever-supportive sister Ellie. Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak wrote "Chuck," which is produced by College Hill Pictures and Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television.
"BIONIC WOMAN" – Struggling as a bartender and surrogate mom to her teenage sister, Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan, "EastEnders") didn't think life could get much harder. But when a devastating car accident leaves her at death's door, Jaime's only hope for survival is a cu
tting-edge, top-secret technology that comes at a hefty price. With a whole new existence and a debt to re-pay, Jaime must figure out how to use her extraordinary abilities for good, while weighing the personal sacrifices she will have to make. Ultimately, it's Jaime's journey of self-discovery and inner strength that will help her embrace her new life as the Bionic Woman. Also starring are: Mae Whitman ("State of Grace") as Becca, Jaime's younger sister; Miguel Ferrer ("Crossing Jordan") as Jonas, the man who employs Jaime's boyfriend; Chris Bowers ("Rescue Me) as Will, Jaime's boyfriend, who performs the operation; Will Yun Lee ("Witchblade") as Jae, the specialized operations leader; and Molly Price ("Third Watch"), as Ruth, Jonas' second-in-command. "Bionic Woman" is produced by NBC Universal Television Studio and executive-produced by David Eick ("Battlestar Galactica"), Glen Morgan ("The X-Files"), Michael Dinner ("Kidnapped") — who also directed the pilot — and Jason Smilovic ("Lucky Number Slevin"). Laeta Kalogridis ("Birds of Prey") is also an executive producer on the pilot.
"LIFE" — From Rand Ravich and Far Shariat, the executive producers of the feature film "The Astronaut's Wife," and David Semel, who directed the pilot of NBC's "Heroes," "Life" is a new drama about a detective who is given a second chance. Damian Lewis ("Band of Brothers") stars as complex, offbeat Detective Charlie Crews, who returns to the force after years in prison, thanks to close friend and attorney Constance Griffiths (Melissa Sagemiller, "Sleeper Cell"), after serving time for a crime he didn't commit. The cast also includes Sarah Shahi ("Rush Hour 3") as Charlie's skeptical, demanding partner, Robin Weigart (HBO's "Deadwood") as their hard-hitting lieutenant, and Adam Arkin ("Chicago Hope") as former cellmate Ted Early. "Life" is an NBC Universal Television Studio production. Rand Ravich is executive producer and writer; Far Shariat is executive producer; David Semel is executive producer and director on the pilot
"LIPSTICK JUNGLE" – Based on the best-selling novel by Candace Bushnell ("Sex and the City"), this fun dramedy follows three high-powered friends as they weather the ups and downs of lives lived at the top of their game. Nico (Kim Raver, "24"), editor-in-chief of a hot fashion magazine, wants to replace her boss as CEO. Movie exec Wendy (Brooke Shields, "Suddenly Susan") finds even her most earnest efforts may not be enough to balance career and family. And free-spirited designer Victory (Lindsay Price, "Beverly Hills, 90210") longs to make her dreams come true, and maybe find Mr. Right along the way. Armed with humor and strength, these three modern New York women support one another through the triumphs and tears that are all part of making it big in the Big Apple. Written by executive producers DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler (both for "How I Met Your Mother," "Three Sisters") and based on the book by Bushnell, "Lipstick Jungle" is from NBC Universal Television Studio. The pilot is directed by Gary Winick ("13 Going on 30").
New Comedy Series
"THE IT CROWD" – Ever wonder what's up with those quirky techies who come to fix the office computer when no one's around? "The IT Crowd" is an offbeat series, based on the critically acclaimed British comedy, that offers a humorous behind-the-scenes peek at the people who truly keep the office humming. Roy (Joel McHale, "The Soup") and Moss (Richard Ayoade, "The IT Crowd" — U.K.) are the misunderstood masters of their high-tech domain, but they lack the people skills to befriend anyone but each other. Their company's head is Denholm (Rocky Carrol, "Chicago Hope"), who wants the IT department to stay segregated and forever banished to the basement. Executive producers are Moses Port ("Just Shoot Me"), David Guarascio ("Just Shoot Me"), Joe Port (NBC's "The Office"), Joe Wiseman ("The Office"), Graham Linehan ("The IT Crowd" — UK) and Steve Tao ("Red Doors"). Gail Mancuso ("Scrubs," "30 Rock") directed the pilot. "The IT Crowd" is produced by NBC Universal Television Studio.
New Alternative Series
"THE SINGING BEE" – "The Singing Bee" is a variety-competition show that challenges contestants to accurately sing the lyrics to popular songs — even when the band stops playing. In this karaoke showdown, there's no middle ground for partially correct answers — contestants must be perfect or they're out. Family-friendly, broad in appeal and conducive to playing (and singing) along at home, "The Singing Bee" features popular, recognizable music that inspires hilarious wrong answers and amazing performances by those rare contestants who somehow manage to get every word right. "The Singing Bee" is produced by the Gurin Company and Juma Entertainment, LLC. The executive producers are Phil Gurin (NBC's "Miss Universe" franchise) and Robert C. Horowitz ("Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials Top 40 Countdown").
"WORLD MOVES" — From executive producer Randy Jackson ("American Idol") and the creators of the World Hip Hop Championship comes one of the most visual and captivating performance competition shows ever to hit TV. Thousands of dance teams from around the world will audition for their shot to come to Los Angeles and compete for a global championship and an international touring contract. The live television event features young teams of five to seven members demonstrating their athleticism, creativity and innovative choreography in a presentation that highlights both the competition and the personal drama unfolding within each team. Viewers from across the globe will vote via the Internet, by text message, or by phone to eliminate one team each week. Ultimately, it's not just about winning a competition; "World Moves" involves stories that change lives and bring the world together. From Warner Horizon Television, the series is executive-produced by Jackson ("American Idol," Dream Merchant 21 Entertainment), Rob Lee (President, Bayonne Entertainment, "Blow Out," "House of Carters"), Howard Schwartz ("Hip Hop International, World Hip Hop Championship), Karen Schwartz (Hip Hop International, World Hip Hop Championship) and Harriet Sternberg (Dream Merchant 21 Entertainment).
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