Two Cents on NBC’s TCA Executive Session Today

Well, it wasn’t a huge explosion, but NBC execs Jeff Gaspin and Angela “We can’t promote Kings in 3o seconds” Bromstad came out of the Television Critics Association panel today alive. Still, they made a lot of interesting (and some depressing) announcements.

First off, of course NBC LATE NIGHT
The Leno experiment is something I personally would’ve considered, but ultimately would have preferred the show to air at the most three nights a week, if not two. And I think instead of cancelling/moving the show outright, it might’ve served Leno and NBC better if they had used the show to plug up possibly Wednesday and Friday nights at 10pm or even just keeping the show on Thursdays to build an all-comedy night.

Less Leno during the week would’ve helped Jay conserve content and big name guests, making each show more “special” and fuller, instead of the show’s current, stretched out, very “unfilling” format. Still, a half-hour show might be the same thing AND it is out of primetime.

But to the impact on Conan and Jimmy Fallon and even Carson Daly. On the bright side, Leno could still bring in the late night numbers he did as recent as last year and boost the rest of the line-up. If the new Jay-Conan-Jimmy line-up is a go, that leaves Carson out of the water, but he still would be NBC’s face for New Year’s Eve. On the other side of the coin, this is a game changer for The Tonight Show and Late Night. Does the half-hour push back mean the hosts and/or the programs are lesser hosts and programs? No. They may feel that way, but fact is, NBC Late Night isn’t the dominant force it once was, and while it may have been early for drastic measures, NBC is in a position where drastic measures are about the only thing they can do to survive.

Now on to the more important announcements…
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
NBC can officially air season 4 of Friday Night Lights beginning March 1 and is a possible candidate to fill one of the newly-open 10pm slots. I say, NBC! DO IT! Don’t wait until Summer to air the episodes, air them now, give the show a nice little Olympic push (as much as you can afford I guess) and then have the show air as the Emmy ballots are being sent to the wonderful Emmy voters. A nice little buzz with the series airing as the voters are thinking about possible nominees would be perfect. And season 4’s got some meaty stuff that is surely Emmy-worthy. Come on NBC! Don’t waste this opportunity!

DAY ONE
Last July, a rough cut trailer for NBC’s Day One prompted me to proclaim this was the series that could jumpstart the network’s rise from the ashes. Now it’s only a two-hour backdoor pilot. From series to one-season limited series to 4-hour miniseries to just “We already have it, so we’ll air it… maybe.” When NBC had cut down the series to a four hour miniseries, it still had the benefit of a possible Olympic push. *poof* That’s gone as now the two-hour pilot/television movie will air sometime this season, towards the end of it as they said today. What does this mean? It means we can throw another series NBC killed before it ever saw the light of day. Boo NBC.

LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES
I don’t mind procedurals as much these days as I used to. They really are big moneymakers and the Law & Order franchise is definitely the granddaddy of them all. But if NBC does greenlight LOLA , I think NBC would be better served by having it share a timeslot with Law & Order: New York, splitting the season with one airing in the Fall and the other in the Spring. SVU should air all season, since it’s really the only viable scripted series NBC has these days. But it appears two Law & Orders on broadcast television is all viewers really want at any one time. Criminal Intent is doing well on USA. So NBC, let’s do this, LONY in the Fall, LOLA in the Spring… mmkay?

SOUTHLAND
Well, Angela Bromstad actually said something reasonable for a change. Yes, I agree with her that Southland was probably a better fit for a cable network. While NBC could’ve used the show’s great pedigree, the content would’ve drawn fire sooner or later and the ratings slid drastically for whatever reason. I hated the decision for NBC to cancel the show, but I can see the reasoning, though they could’ve just lent it to USA you know. Though the show might’ve been even more gritty for them than for NBC.

TRAUMA WILL BE BACK… And HEROES too?
Trauma will “definitely” return after the Olympics. But will it still have the momentum it had when it was cancelled? We’ll have to wait and see. Another title for you NBC! Momentum killer. *cough*Journeyman*cough*
Heroes apparently still has a chance to come back too. WHY!?!?! Tim Kring pitches season 5 to them this week. But really, what conceivable reason would NBC have to put faith in a show that has dug itself so deep into a hole of crap faster than any show ever before? From an incredible first season to nothingness now. If NBC’s development slate is so strong, there is probably 5 shows on there that could easily be better than Heroes. Sorry Greg Grunberg, no amount delusion can keep Heroes anywhere near relevancy past this season.

DEVELOPMENT SLATE
NBC’s announced development slate sounds intriguing. (It always does… ) But will any of them be any good? NBC could probably use some Bruckheimer and J.J. Abrams magic. I’m still anxious about who they will cast as the lead in Prime Suspect, which is probably make or break based on who they cast. Rockford Files, sure but again depends on who can fill those hefty shoes. And David Tennant’s Rex is Not Your Lawyer should be interestingly fun as well. If the development slate is so good, FOLLOW THROUGH on them and don’t kill ’em before they even get a shot, okay NBC?

NEW STRATEGY
They also hinted at possibly trying something new next season. Well, I think it would be great for NBC to further explore the possibility of shorter seasons for its shows. They were supposed to do it this season, but the network is in chaos, so pardon them if they’ve forgotten. But 13 episode seasons for shows could do a lot of good. It’ll allow shows to be more creative and really amp up the storytelling. And it will allow more shows to get on the air, thus more jobs that many were complaining were lost when Leno took over primetime. NBC should try it, have 13 episode series mixed with their most popular series that will air all-season acting as anchors and it could work wonders.

2 thoughts on “Two Cents on NBC’s TCA Executive Session Today

  1. Am I the only one that thinks that NBC might have a strategy in play here with Day One? I don’t think we’ve heard (or seen) the last of this baby, and it may well do just as you said – “jumpstart the network’s rise out of the ashes” after all… don’t give up on it yet, I don’t think the network actually has….

  2. I’d love to stay positive about Day One, but NBC continually cutting back on the show, from a post-Olympics boost to now an uncertain premiere date doesn’t get my hopes up. It’s like we’ve seen this all before, how NBC is unwilling to give a show a chance before it’s even premiered, unable to maximize what success it might have had, if it was treated better.

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