[05/15/11 - 12:24 PM]
Greenblatt: "Apprentice" Will Be Back, With or Without Trump; Other NBC Notes
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "If [Donald Trump] decides to run for president and is unavailable to do the show, we will bring the show back and there will be somebody else sitting at the head of the boardroom table," NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters following today's announcement of the network's 2011-12 season lineup (read the full release). "Who that is, we're not even going to really entertain because I'm still hoping we'll have Donald back in the seat."

Other highlights from Greenblatt's press conference:

-- On holding "Smash" until midseason: "We're really taking the full season view of the schedule next year and 'The Voice' is coming back in January and it is an enormous lead-in for any show. And we just thought the compatibility of 'Smash' was so good with 'The Voice' and it's such a terrific show that it deserves to have the best possible send off that we could give it."

-- On their Thursday plans: "We really wanted to change up a good part of Thursday which we're doing from 9:30 on, which meant we wanted stability in the first part of the night. And the competition is just intense from 8:00 to 9:00 and 'Community' holds its own there unlike anything I could have thought. And 'Parks' is a great show which I think in proximity to 'The Office' will do well there. I wanted to open up the time slot after 'The Office' because I think as I said before, trying to get a new comedy hit is a real priority for us and there's better comedy lead in than 'The Office.'"

-- On moving "Chuck" to Fridays: "We wanted to do some re-invigorating on Friday night... We really wanted to get more scripted shows on Friday night. We like 'Grimm' a lot. We didn't want to just put in out there with nothing leading into it. And I personally like 'Chuck.' And I know it's been on the bubble perennially. But I thought if we have a chance of transporting an audience to Friday night it might be with something that has a real loyal following."

-- On their contingency plans for Sunday night if the NFL labor situation isn't resolved: "We're feeling pretty optimistic that football will be there. I think worse case scenario is we might have a delay of games for a few weeks, in which case we've got a contingency plan that we're in the middle of right now to produce several high quality, event, live event reality type shows that will fill out that Sunday."

-- On the status of the "Law & Order" franchise: "'SVU' is really strong for us. And I think going into its 13th year I'd love to have it beyond that. I've noticed the 'CI' ratings are really strong... 'Law & Order: LA' I think we just didn't get it off the ground right. It was put on the schedule without a pilot last fall before I arrived. There was all kinds of chaos going on: the show did well then it was taken off. In a different scenario that might have worked better but we just thought it wasn't a strong enough player to continue into next season."

-- On a proposed Brian Williams-hosted newsmagazine: "We are absolutely developing it. A couple months ago I sat down with Steve Capus, who's the head of the news division, and I said let's try to take these incredible news assets that only NBC has and let's see if we could develop a newsmagazine that was fresh and relevant and entertaining. And that of course lead us right to Brian Williams, who's the best of the best."

-- On the rumor of Jennifer Love Hewitt joining the cast of "SVU": "I think we're going to have both of the returning stars [Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni]. We believe that's the show and I know they both want to be a part of it. Mariska's deal is closed... and I don't think there's any impediment to closing Chris's deal. And the Jennifer Love Hewitt rumor is just a rumor. What we are saying and I think it's really going to be great creatively for the show next year is that there is going to be another detective coming into the show about halfway through the season. And I think creatively that will give both Mariska and Chris' characters an interesting kind of new relationship. Jennifer is somebody that we've been circling. I don't know if that's gonna ultimately come to pass or not but we just want to keep refreshing these concepts especially the older that they get. Mariska also just adopted a child and we're not sure beyond this next season where we'll be with her so we're looking at a lot of different options."

-- On the expense of carrying older series like "SVU" over new ones: "That is a realistic issue. But I have to tell you, I'm new to all these shows and having reviewed a lot of the budgets on them. I am amazed at how efficiently Dick Wolf produces this show. It is not at all out of line even with a show that would be much younger than that. And so we could keep this show going for a number of years as long as the audience wanted it and we creatively kept it really fresh."

  [may 2011]  


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