Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Back in March, Craig T. Nelson, who stars as Zeek Braverman on the long-running NBC drama Parenthood, spoke out to Entertainment Tonight about how he felt his show was being underappreciated and poorly marketed and promoted by NBC. “There are all of these people responding to our show,” he said, “and NBC is completely out of it. They don’t promote the show, you don’t see anything about it out there. It’s like this hidden gem, but why are they ashamed of it?” Well, it seems someone at NBC listened, because there today was a TCA panel session promoting the forthcoming fifth season of the series — a rarity in the out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new world of the press tour. And this came after NBC had moved the show into the premium time period of Thursday nights at 10 PM beginning Sept. 26, concurrent with a full season renewal. So Nelson was asked if he felt at all vindicated to see the impact his words had on the NBC brass. “Well, I don’t know about that,” he cautioned. “I can just tell you that, you know, you get associated with a show that you love and a show you believe in, with a cast that’s just extraordinary, and you get frustrated with the fact it doesn’t seem to be honored the way you feel it should be.” Nelson stressed that he simply felt he’d had an obligation to speak out “as the patriarch of this dysfunctional family” considering that NBC “hadn’t been promoting and marketing the show correctly and enough.” He was proud to have spoken up “because that’s what Zeek Braverman does.”
For his part, Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims understood and seemed to have approved of Nelson’s taking a stand. But he also reasoned that now, he and Nelson and everyone should be feeling the love from NBC considering what’s transpired since Nelson’s little rant. “Of course we all want to see that the show is getting out there to as many people as possible because we’re all very proud of it,” Katims said. “[But] I feel there really is a passion from the network about the show” that wasn’t in evidence before. He went on, “I know [NBC chairman] Bob Greenblatt from day one on their show has been enormously supportive.” Getting moved to Thursday nights for season five also obviously seems to Katims to be pretty much the opposite of getting put out to pasture. “So while we’ve definitely had our struggles and frustrations along the way, we’re feeling very positive and supported right now.”