NBC kicked off the network portion of the TV Critics summer tour and if the network’s presentation is any sign of what’s ahead, the network could be headed for more ratings troubles. Each network is given two days in the summer to show off their new programs and promote returning series. NBC only had enough shows to fill one day.
Along with several of the upcoming shows — not including the new “Dracula” series that made need a creative transfusion before it airs — NBC trotted out “Parenthood” and “The Voice.” Odds are high, the “Parenthood session was only a reaction to public comments series star Craig T. Nelson made saying the network wasn’t doing enough to promote the show. And, “The Voice” doesn’t need any help.
Here are some of the highlights (and I use the term loosely) from the executive session.
On NBC doing some kind of movie or mini-series on Hilary Clinton:
Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment: “President Clinton we haven’t cast yet, and we just literally closed the deal and haven’t even written the script. So all that is to be determined. We’re going to have to really think about the timing of it. She’s not going to probably declare her candidacy for two more years. So I think it will be the late spring or early summer of ’15 that she will declare. So this could well have aired before that. We have to talk through all of that.”
On the difficulties of launching new comedies:
RG: “Comedy is frustrating, and I think nobody is more disappointed in shows like “The New Normal” and “Go On” not returning to the schedule than me because both of those shows, we think, were creatively excellent. The critics seemed to like them. It’s just disappointing when you run a show for a whole season and you have great results in the fall, and then as you keep going with the show and we had the lead in issue where the lead in was come and gone and then back again. You have to make those really difficult calls about what you can sort of renew at what rating. And we had to make a very difficult call.”
On why “The New Normal” failed:
RG: “I would say I don’t believe it didn’t work because it had gay characters as the lead characters because we, of course, all point back to ‘Will & Grace,’ which did exceedingly well. Now, it was at a different time and in a different sort of lineup of stronger shows and stronger lead ins and things like that.”
On “Parenthood” not getting full season orders in the past but getting full 22 episode order this year:
RG: “Maybe you guys can help me. It doesn’t get the Emmy nominations. It doesn’t get the accolades. It’s one of the best shows on television, and I wish it had more of that acclaim. And it really had a great season this past year. Once we got through the 16 episodes, I kept hearing from people, ‘Oh, I wish it wasn’t ending’ and ‘It’s too quick.’ The more you run these shows without repeats, the shorter the runs get. So 16 weeks in a row with a couple of weeks off for the holiday was really short. Everybody got excited about ‘Let’s do a full season.’”
On “Grimm” moving back to Fridays:
RG: We’ve moved that show around a little bit. We had it on Mondays after the Olympics last year. Every time we move it and I think it’s indicative of these shows that have the real vociferous following and I have no scientific research, but we kept hearing from people, ‘Don’t take it off Friday. We love it on Friday. Why are you screwing with our show?’ We put it in on Tuesdays in the spring for a few weeks because we wanted to we thought it deserved the jolt of ‘The Voice’ lead in just to kind of drive more viewers into it. But everybody inside the company, and we kept hearing from people outside the company, saying, ‘Don’t screw with it on Friday, and leave it on Friday.’”