Press Tour Live-Blog: NBC Executive Session
On Friday (July 30), the NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman (Gaspin) and the NBC Entertainment President (Bromstad) should have an easier time, if only because they don't have to deal with an abrupt executive departure or with the disintegration of the "American Idol" judging panel.
It still probably won't be an easy Q&A. Click through for the details.
10:28 a.m. Pacific. We'll be starting in a couple minutes. Hopefully the WiFi will hold up, but if it doesn't, I'll be live-blogging on NotePad and I'll paste things in accordingly when the Interwebs allow...
10:30 a.m. "It's good to be back at TCA, especially under different circumstances from last time," Gaspin says.
10:31 a.m. PREMIERE WEEK CHANGES!!! September 14 will now be the new premiere date for "Parenthood." Wednesday, September 15 will be a sneak preview of "Outlaw." The following night will be the premiere of "The Apprentice." And the following night,
10:32 a.m. "Prime Suspect" is still on NBC's possible pilot slate.
10:33 a.m. "30 Rock" is doing a live episode on October 14. And Rob Lowe is now a cast regular on "Parks and Recreation." Whee! Lots of news!
10:34 a.m. First question regards Steve Carell. Bromstad says that NBC and the producers have been planning for Carell's departure for a long time, while producers have a plan for how to handle it. "There will be some mystery," she says, regarding who Michael Scott's replacement is.
10:34 a.m. Bromstad understands the skepticism some of us have for "The Event." She says that the rewards of getting a show like this right are tremendous.
10:36 a.m. "We're trying to rebuild. We recognize some of the mistakes we've made over the past several years," Gaspin says. They've put more money into development and they feel like they've already made strides. Bromstad is proud of the development team. She hopes that they have returning shows from this season's crop.
10:38 a.m. On the shift from "Law & Order" to "LOLA," Bromstad says that "LOLA" is all about "keeping that great legacy of 'Law & Order' alive."
10:39 a.m. "I think we made too many changes too quickly from a position of weakness," Gaspin handicaps. Regarding Comcast, Gaspin prefers not to speculate. He looks forward to having "other executives who are also in the media space.
10:41 a.m. A question about comedy. Bromstad admits that "Big Bang Theory" will create a challenge, but NBC is committed to comedy on Thursday. They're open to opening another hour for comedy and came close to doing it this fall, but opted not to.
10:42 a.m. "I think that 'Heroes' was a great show," Bromstad insists, saying that they got four great years of business out of it and would love for "The Cape" to emulate that model. She emphasizes that the lead in "The Cape" doesn't actually have superpowers and that the show will be more of a procedural.
10:43 a.m. "I've not had any experience with it personally," Gaspin says to a question about sexual harassment in the industry. It's unclear if he's aiming for a laugh, but he gets one.
10:45 a.m. Gaspin says there's health in the broadcast business and that they can bounce back quickly. Or that's what they hope.
10:46 a.m. Bromstad discusses "The Event" in the contest of "FlashForward," which she calls a great script and a great pilot, but acknowledges that audiences were disappointed. Regarding departed ABC Chief Steve McPherson, she has no knowledge.
10:47 a.m. Gaspin dodges a question about Hulu-Plus.
10:49 a.m. Peter Berg's production company is now on the "Prime Suspect" case. Alex Cunningham is writing what will be a two-hour pilot. No casting details.
10:49 a.m. NBC loved its comedy lineup, but wants to broaden the comedy audience. She has high hopes for "Outsourced" and for the midseason "Perfect Couples" in broadening that audience.
10:52 a.m. Have there been any conversations with Robert Greenblatt, exiting Showtime, of coming to NBC-Universal. The answer is "No."
10:53 a.m. Sepinwall asks Bromstad if they're happy with "Outsourced." She says that they love the pilot. She says that they're looking at it, though, and hoping to improve it, to make it "super, super funny." Her note, for example, was that they want to make the set look more like Mumbai and less like an office in The Valley. Regarding "Parks and Recreation," she says that plans haven't changed and the show is still coming back at midseason.
10:54 a.m. "We're just doing as much as we can to garner attention for the shows and stay true to them creatively," Bromstad says of the live "30 Rock." She clarifies that they will record live shows for both East and West Coasts. And the live show was something that the network asked for.
10:56 a.m. "Prime Suspect" will be contemporary and will focus on a woman in a still-very-male-environment. Her being a female detective won't be as revolutionary a deal.
10:56 a.m. Regarding "Day One," Bromstad says "We just moved on from that."
10:57 a.m. Bromstad is still exited about "Love Bites." They're hopeful that good things will come from the production delay to midseason.
10:58 a.m. Is there any chance that Steve's exit will end "The Office"? "Look, would we have ended 'E.R.' because George Clooney left?" Bromstad asks. She praises the ensemble and says that there are no plans to end "The Office." She says she couldn't face her 14-year-old son if she ended "The Office."
10:59 a.m. "I'm hopefully there's room for two comedies," Gaspin says of "Community" and "The Big Bang Theory." He suggests their audiences might be somewhat different and that there are no plans to move "Community."
11:00 a.m. Jay Leno ratings question. Can anything be done to help the demos on "The Tonight Show"? Gaspin has a print-out. He tells us that Leno has had a 22 percent demo advantage over Letterman for the past two quarters. He says that some weeks Letterman might get the advantage, but he professes not to be worried. Bromstad helps that improving the health of the primetime show will help Leno.
11:02 a.m. "We feel very good about 'Chuck' creatively and about the showrunners," Bromstad says. "While the 'Chuck' audience is smaller than we want the 'Event' audience to be, we think there's compatibility," adds Gaspin.
That's all, folks. Analysis from Sepinwall in a bit...