Fresno Bee TV critic is in Los Angeles at the summer TV critics tour. These are his early reports.
After several days of cable channels pitching their new shows, the networks have taken over at the TV critics tour. NBC got the ball rolling with a day of talking about their fall offerings. Here are some highlights as presented by Bob Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment.
On why “The Michael J.Fox” show didn’t survive past the first year: “We struggled and worked really hard to figure out to bring an audience to that show. Thursday was obviously tough, and we knew that going in. I actually thought Michael, just in and of himself, would help us overcome some of those challenges on Thursday, and I think it just reinforced how difficult a night it is for us as it’s become, which is why we’re making some significant changes this season in Thursday. But we looked at all the signs. It had strong competition, yes, and it was opposite CBS’s lineup.”
On why NBC put on more original shows this summer: “We used to just throw the shows on in the summer that we didn’t have much faith in. I think now we’re seriously looking at what are really good shows that could have been on at any time of the year and not just throwing the summer away, especially since we do now have lead ins like ‘America’s Got Talent’ which I think is the reasons why ‘Night Shift’ had a chance to get noticed or ‘Last Comic Standing.’”
Expectations for Thursdays against CBS airing NFL games: “You could also look at it, as we are, as a bit of an opportunity, because CBS won’t have its big hefty comedy lineup on from 8-10, which is very potent. They’re going to use that elsewhere, which we’re not happy about on another level. I think it gives us a little bit of an openness to comedy, which has been really challenging in the past, and we wanted to give those shows a chance to launch, so we’re putting in a show that may sound a bit like old hat, but it is a show with a very loyal audience, ‘The Biggest Loser,’ leading into it. So it isn’t just putting four comedies out there and holding our breath and hoping for the best.”
How much awards mean to the network: “I think emotionally we all care, because in spite of the fact that you tell yourself it really doesn’t matter, I honestly don’t know if there’s any evidence to say that one more viewer comes because they hear that we won an Emmy for something or we’ve been nominated. But you, of course, want that validation from that body that represents the winners of these awards have been great shows and great actors for many, many years. At the same time, there’s so many great shows on so many networks now, and cable has the advantage of doing material that’s darker, more interesting, on some levels you can go into subject matter that feels cooler than some of the stuff that we can do. At the end of the day, should we debate the fact that James Spader is one of the best actors working on television or working anywhere and isn’t nominated, alongside some actors that are not nominated? Sure. We can debate that. At the end of the day, I’m not sure what good it does us.”
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