[08/01/11 - 10:49 AM]
Greenblatt: "We Want to Restore NBC to Its Leadership Position in Quality"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "I think like anyone in a job like this, I will take all the credit for the shows that work and blame people who are no longer at NBC if they don't," NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt joked at the start of the network's executive session at the TCA Summer Press Tour.

Greenblatt was on hand to tout the Peacock's freshman series, manage expectations considering its status as the fourth place network and make a few programming announcements:

-- Bela Bajaria has been tapped to oversee the revamping of Universal Media Studios. She comes from CBS where she served as SVP, Cable Programming for CBS TV Studios, and SVP of Movies and Miniseries for the network.

-- Greg Daniels has inked a new overall deal with Universal Media Studios. "It's a new deal to develop all kinds of programming but we also want to emphasize animation which is something Greg is very key on getting back into."

-- Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions likewise have set up shop at the studio.

-- NBC is developing a new comedy to star former network mainstay turned producer Sean Hayes. "It's [early] but we're honing in on an idea that I'll let you know more about in the coming weeks." He adds that they have "an incredible writer/creator" to spearhead the project. "I really think it's time for him to star in a comedy again."

-- "The Voice's" Adam Levine is developing a new comedy at the network. "He's expanding his growing empire," Greenblatt adds. Dick Wolf ("Law & Order") likewise is behind a new firefighter drama to be written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas ("3:10 to Yuma"). "We're very happy to get them in the tent."

-- Michael Buble will topline a new holiday special produced by Ben Silverman and Lorne Michaels.

-- On the producing side, Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner are developing "Celebrity Game Night," a reality game show pilot in which celebrities crash people's weekly game nights. "That will be going forward in the next few months."

-- Greenblatt reveals that "The Voice" will indeed premiere following the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 5. The series will then move into its regular home on Monday, February 6 at 8:00/7:00c leading into the launch of "Smash" that same night at 10:00/9:00c.

-- Greenblatt affirms that Mariska Hargitay, despite a purported reduced workload, will be in every episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" this season.

-- As far as his goals for the season: "We want to restore NBC to its leadership position in quality. We're going to do attention getting shows. Hopefully we will have patience to see those attention getting shows get [their] shot at success."

-- "Yes, I wasn't complete surprised," Greenblatt says with regards to KSL's decision not to air "The Playboy Club." "That brand name is very polarizing. The show isn't all that revealing shall I say. But that station in Utah, they don't program 'Saturday Night Live.' They don't take 'Saturday Night Live' so I think when you look at that market they have decisions to make for their own audiences."

-- On if shows from his previous home, Showtime, could work on NBC: "I think those shows work in those smaller universes where you're not really expecting, where the business model isn't based on the most people watching your show." He would later add, that being said, "I think we've got to find ways to conceptually excite the audience."

-- On the decision to pass on "I Hate That I Love You": "It's just a pilot that didn't ultimately come together. I loved the script and sometimes these pilots go through the process and get all of the elements working. And it's just a pilot that didn't quite come together."

-- "I would be thrilled if it continued to do what it was doing," Greenblatt said about his expectations for "The Office" going forward. "There's a new actress coming besides [James] Spader," he added coyly without giving a name. "I think as the season goes on you'll see a couple of, this is a playground for really extraordinary comic actors... I think there's going to be a few people that are going to come in and sort of guest star as the season goes on. But I didn't mean to tease you with there's some big name to be revealed that's coming."

  [august 2011]  


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