This hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m told NBC did announce that Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip about a fictional sketch comedy show like SNL has received its expected NBC pickup. Given the paucity of classy new shows on NBC’s schedule since “Lowbrow” Zucker was promoted out of Today and over the network, it appeared to be a no-brainer to say yes, especially with Matthew Perry already on board. Still, to take a chance on not one but two guys with terrible drug problems in their pasts, Sorkin and Perry, is perhaps a sign of NBC’s desperation. Can they go the distance?
Yes, I’ve read those breathless reports, too, about how the Studio 60 pilot script was like Entourage meets Larry Sanders meets The West Wing, all wrapped up in Sportsnight. And Sorkin is talented, no doubt about it. But how much of this show is simply star wattage? After all, about to finish in 4th place this year, NBC had little good news to point to from this season at a pre-upfront presentation to advertisers back in March. To make up for that, they trotted out Sorkin and the cast of Studio 60, including Perry, Bradley Whitford and D.L. Hughley, at the dog-and-pony show. Also, a word to the wise to NBC’s marketing department: stop recycling those tired “Must See TV” pitches from yesteryear: they remind us how Mustn’t See NBC really is right now.