NBC kicked off the network portion of the TCAs and actually had a few things to brag about, something that’s not been the case in recent years. The success of new shows such as “Revolution” and “Go On” combined with winning ratings performances by “The Voice” have the networks talking in positive terms.
Here are a few highlights of the NBC executive session.
Fountain of ratings youth: NBC is the only broadcast network that’s getting younger. The average age of NBC viewers is now at 48.4 years old, down from 49. CBS is at 56.4, which is up from 54.9. ABC is at 53.2, and Fox is at 45.7, which is up from 45.6. Even The CW is up to 41.2, which is almost four years higher than last season.
On Jimmy Kimmel’s move at 11:30 p.m. on ABC: The network execs wouldn’t predict how the ratings wars would go but admitted it will be a very competitive late night not just because of all the late-night network talkers but also because of the cable talk shows. As expected, the NBC brass expect Jay Leno to remain strong.
If you make it, they will come: No one at NBC is worried about the huge gap between the end of the first group of episodes for “Revolution” and the return in the spring. There should be some concern as there have been of shows that lost audiences – remember “Alcatraz”? – because of huge breaks.
Silence of the critics: The NBC executives went on the defensive about how the networks seem to be in love with stories about vicious killers. The topic came up because NBC will add “Hannibal,” this year, a TV telling of the Hannibal Lecter story. This goes along with FOX launching “The Following” and all the creepiness of “Criminal Minds” on CBS. Chairman of NBC Entertainment, Robert Greenblatt, said, “Look, I’m not a psychologist, so I’m not sure you can make the leap from a show about serial killers has caused the sort of problem with violence in our country and there’s many, many other factors, from mental illness to guns.”
On life support: NBC’s “Up All Night” has never garnered great ratings. But, instead of just killing the Will Arnett-Christina Applegate show, the series keeps getting tweaked. More changes are coming.
The new NBC drama “Revolution” looks at a world where there’s no electricity. Insert gasp here. That means no computers, cell phones, cars or lawn mowers. Yes, there are push mowers but I refuse to accept their existence.
This raises the question of what would the cast members miss the most if they weren’t just playing in an electric bill free world.
Billy Burke, whose character comes across like the offspring of Lara Croft and Zorro, initially says he would spend his days aimlessly asking “can you hear me now?” because of the loss of his cell phone. Then he adds that it would be the razor that keeps his beard at the proper tough guy length.
Since many of you only know him as Bella’s dad, Charlie Swan, in the “Twilight” movies, Burke has played some tough guy roles over the year. He was a wickedly bad character on several episodes of “The Closer.” But, he didn’t get to wave a sword in either of those two projects. Getting to go all Conan the Barbarian is why Burke was so happy to be part of NBC’s “Revolution.”
“This is one of those roles, when I saw it on the page, I immediately went back to my childhood and said, as I was growing up watching movies and television, that’s what I wanted to do. I have never been given the opportunity to do things like that,” Burke says. “I’ve been hanging around a long time. Doing a lot of stuff. And, I’ve been very grateful for it.
“But presented with this, it was the biggest gift I’d been given in a very long time. So couldn’t be happier about it.”
This certainly will go down as the year of the female archers. I’m not talking about those women who competed with bows and arrows at the Summer Olympics in London. It’s the entertainment world that has seen the influx of heroes with stringed weapons.
It started with Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss in “The Hunger Games.” If you missed her skills with the bow and arrow when the film was in the movie theaters, it’s now available on DVD. That was followed by the animated feature film “Brave” with Merida as the sharp-shooting hero.
Now, it’s Tracy Spiridakos who fights with arrows in the new NBC series “Revolution.” The series is about a world where there is no more electricity and everyone must go back to using the basics even with weapons. Spiridakos plays Charlie, a spunky, arrow-shooting young woman who ends up the central figure in the electricity mystery.
Spiridakos understands there will be those who think of “The Hunger Games” when they see her with the crossbow but stresses that there was never any intentions to draw comparisons between Charlie and Katniss.
“I think every character, in any type of show, you can always find a relation to everybody,” Spiridakos says. “The bow and arrow is what it is. But, at the same time, what would you use in a situation when you are down to the basics.”
Charlie is a fighting to save her brother while in “The Hunger games,” Katniss volunteers to be part of the blood sport to save her sister. Despite the similarities, Spiridakos stresses there are far more differences between the two projects.
“Overall, ‘Revolution’ is unique in its own way. It’s about hope.”