Out of the Hilton Hotel ballroom and back into Radio City Music Hall, NBC is presenting its first schedule developed by chairman Bob Greenblatt and his team. It features four nights of comedy and a total of 10 half-hour series. The programming part of the presentation opened with a video featuring former SNL Weekend Update co-anchors Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey “previewing” NBC’s lineup for next fall via DVDs sent to them by Greenblatt, who Fallon thought was “the Asian judge on The Voice.” The preview featured the casts of such NBC series as Law & Order: SVU, The Office, Grimm, and 30 Rock doing musical versions of their shows. The highlight: Meet The Press anchor David Gregory belting out a tune surrounded by a group of showgirls.
The presentation kicked off with a performance by Smash stars Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty and the emergence onstage of the four Voice spinning chairs. One by one, they turned around to reveal Voice stars Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine sitting in the first three and Greenblatt in the last.
Known for his love for Broadway, Greenblatt, for whom Smash has been a passion project, felt right in his element on the Radio City Music Hall stage. But he was quick to note that “despite speculation, I’m not hijacking the network and turning everything into a musical.”
Greenblatt presented the network’s new shows in tandem with NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke or, as Greenblatt referred to it, “the next Channel 4 team.”
They noted that new post-apocalyptic drama Revolution, which got the plum post-Voice slot, was NBC’s highest-testing drama pilot this year. “If we didn’t love it, we wouldn’t put it there,” Salke said. She called the the Tuesday 9 PM comedy block of the Matthew Perry-starring Go On and Ryan Murphy’s The New Normal “distinctive classy and attention-grabbing comedies.”
At the end of the fall-lineup presentation, Greenblatt said the network’s priorities will be the Tuesday 9 PM and Monday 10 PM hours, but it was another new comedy series that stole today’s show — the Justin Kirk-starring Animal Kingdom that airs on Wednesday. Kirk’s sidekick on the show, a small monkey — which was in attendance at the presentation — was the highest-testing character on an upcoming NBC series, Salke said.
During the Thursday portion of the presentation, Greenblatt confirmed that, sans Mindy Kaling, who has a new show on Fox, all other Office cast members will return next season.
Greenblatt’s take-away point from the upfront NBC: “Comedy is king.” As for the actual presentation, it was music that reigned. In addition to the opening Smash number, it also featured a performance by The Voice‘s second season winner Jarmaine Paul, and closed with another song from Smash. Keeping with the theme, Greenblatt’s closing line to advertisers was: “I hope you head to the Fox presentation this afternoon thinking how Bob Greenblatt will turn NBC into one big musical.”