NBC announces renewals, plus 6 pilot pickups
On Monday (May 4) as part of its InFront events for advertisers, NBC announced a number of renewals, plus the pickup of three dramas, two comedies and one "epic series."
The new shows on NBC's slate for the fall will include the dramas "Trauma," "Parenthood" and "Mercy," the comedies "Community" and "100 Questions" and the aforementioned "epic event," "Day One."
Those three returning shows join previously announced pickups "The Office," "30 Rock," "The Biggest Loser," "The Celebrity Apprentice," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Friday Night Lights," and new alternative series "The Marriage Ref," "Breakthrough With Tony Robbins" and "Who Do You Think You Are?" They also join "The Jay Leno Show," previously announced as a Monday-through-Friday 10 p.m. placeholder on the network.
In addition, while not technically a returning show, "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday" will air for six half-hour episodes in the fall as an extension of the popular Seth Meyers "SNL" segment.
You may notice some missing returning favorites, including "Chuck," the "Law & Order" mothership, "My Name Is Earl" and "Medium," which was widely reported as renewed over the weekend. NBC's announcement says that additional series pickups will be announced on May 19, when NBC announces its actual 2009-10 primetime schedule.
"We are thrilled to be announcing such an awesome slate of new series that build on our existing quality brand and deliver emotional, human stories," says Ben Silverman, co-chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios in the morning announcement. "NBC will strive to make viewers feel and our shows represent the full range of human emotion from laughter to tears. We can’t wait to share these concepts with our audience and our advertising partners."
As for the new shows...
"Parenthood" is the most familiar name, as both a Ron Howard feature film and short-lived TV series. Howard and Brian Grazer are producing the new incarnation along with writer/executive producer Jason Katims ("Friday Night Lights). Emmy winner Thomas Schlamme ("The West Wing") directed the pilot, which focuses on four grown siblings (Maura Tierney, Peter Krause, Erika Christensen and Dax Shepard), their parents (Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia), their spouses and their children all facing the challenges of modern family life. The series also features Monica Potter, Sarah Ramos, Mae Whitman and Miles Heizer. [View "Parenthood" Photos]
"Trauma" comes from executive producer Peter Berg and was written by Dario Scardapane and directed by Jeffrey Reiner. Not surprisingly, the medical procedural looks at the trauma team from a major hospital, in this case San Francisco General. This group of first responder paramedics is rushed into the field for the most exciting and dangerous of medical emergencies. The cast includes Derek Luke ("Friday Night Lights"), Cliff Curtis ("Live Free or Die Hard"), Anastasia Griffith ("Damages"), Aimee Garcia ("George Lopez"), Kevin Rankin ("Friday Night Lights") and Jamey Sheridan ("Law & Order: Criminal Intent"). [View "Trauma" Photos]
And then look, it's another medical procedural, this one "Mercy," from writer/executive producers Liz Heldens (NBC’s "Friday Night Lights") and Gretchen Berg & Aaron Harberts ("Pushing Daisies," "Pepper Dennis"). Set at Mercy Hospital, this drama looks at hospital life through the eyes of three nurses (Taylor Schilling, Jamie Lee Kirchner and Michelle Trachtenberg), looking at their time in the hospital and their world outside. The cast also includes James Tupper ("Men in Trees"), Diego Klattenhoff ("Supernatural") and Guillermo Diaz ("Weeds"). [View "Mercy" cast shot]
"Lost" veteran Jesse Alexander and director Alex Graves ("Journeyman") are the team behind "Day One," which will premiere in 2010 leading out of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The limited series focuses on the survivors of a global catastrophe as they try to rebuild life on Earth. The cast features Adam Campbell ("Date Movie"), Catherine Dent ("The Shield"), Julie Gonzalo ("Eli Stone"), David Lyons ("ER"), Derek Mio ("Greek"), Carly Pope ("24"), Thekla Reuten ("Sleeper Cell") and Addison Timlin ("Cashmere Mafia"). [View "Day One" cast shot]
On the comedy side, buzz has been strong for "Community," written by Dan Harmon and directed by Emmy winners Joe and Anthony Russo ("Arrested Development"). Joel McHale ("The Soup") stars as a lawyer who has to return to community college when his college degree is revoked. At Greendale Community College, he forms a study group with an assortment of misfits played by Gillian Jacobs ("The Book of Daniel"), Yvette Nicole Brown ("Rules of Engagement"), Danny Pudi ("Greek"), Alison Brie ("Mad Men"), and comedy legend Chevy Chase ("Saturday Night Live"). [View "Community" photos]
Also on the comedy front is "100 Questions," from actor-turned-writer Christopher Moynihan ("Coupling") and director James Burrows ("Will & Grace"). Sophie Winkleman stars as a Charlotte, a woman who hasn't met Mr. Right. When she goes sign up for an online dating site, she has to fill out a 100 question compatibility test. Each question leads to a different story about her time with her friends (Elizabeth Ho, Joy Suprano, David Walton and Moynihan). [View "100 Questions" cast shot]
Says Angela Bromstad, president, primetime entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios, "These new series will showcase fresh talent and bold, original concepts that are extremely well executed. We are grateful to the producers, casts and crews -- and our team -- who have delivered incredibly compelling and entertaining new series."
On Monday (May 4) and Tuesday, NBC is presenting the season to advertisers in Manhattan, followed by presentations in Chicago on May 7 and Los Angeles on May 12.
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