Remember a few years back, when NBC didn’t want to play in the Upfront Week sandbox and did not believe in the TV season? That was before it unexpectedly found itself in first place for a TV season…..
10:59 AM: Network execs, Mad Ave suits and The Reporters Who Cover Television have been baking in the sun for an hour, as they wait to get in to the Javits Center.
11:15 AM: Seth Meyers kicks things off, noting NBC’s upfront taking place “at the Javits Center in the heart of New York’s historical Stabbing District. What it lacks in charm it more than makes up for in size. They say it’s so big it can fit every person who watched an episode of Ironside….”
“The Upfront: NBC’s longest-running show. “
“NBC’s biggest hit of last year, The Blacklist is returning for a second season. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s about the people Donald Sterling doesn’t want coming to the Clippers game.”
“It’s much better to have a show be a smash that be called Smash.”
“Ukraine will appear on the next season of The Biggest Loser.”
“Some of you came with a taxi today, some took the subway. I rode in on Jimmy Fallon ‘s coattails.”
“I am honored to be hosting the Emmys in August. The Emmys will be held on a Monday this year for the first itme since 1976,” he said, saying he was looking forward to the inevitable news release from NBC the next day boasting “The Emmys scores its highest Monday rating since 1977.”
11:30 AM: NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt says he won’t make any Javits Center jokes because Meyers covered it. “The good news is… we are no longer at Hilton ballroom.” Some of you there…actually come long way since then… We’re no. 1 — you’re going to hear it a lot more…
He discusses “very smooth transition in late night… We already owned late night but now own by even wider margin.”
Much love to “the biggest story this year” aka The Blacklist. “Monday has become a night of Must See TV…” Taped message from The Voice judge panel, including Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams is mostly a discussion as to how much they love “buttloads” of money. James Spader appears via video and talks about the “Vile Subset of humanity…referring to you.”
“I don’t know what to say about that,” Greenblatt says after its over, suggesting advertisers should just cough up the CPM increase Spader’s looking for.
11:44 AM: Greenblatt announces that, in addition to making a live production of Peter Pan, following NBC’s successful live production of The Sound Of Music, the network “just closed a deal for The Music Man at some point down the road.” (Craig Zadan and Neil Meron did a Music Man reboot several years ago for ABC, though it was not live. It also was not that good, though much of that wasn’t the producers’ fault.) He also announces an SNL 40th anniversary primetime special.
11:52 AM: Jimmy Fallon takes the stage: “Great to be here… exciting time for us at the network — we’re in first place! This is crazy! We got The Voice, Blacklist. We have reruns of The Voice and Blacklist. I could do on and on.” He handed out some new Emmys under consideration:
James Spader won Sexiest Inspector Gadget. The Voice’s Adam Levine won Most Likely To Have Taken His Look One Step Too Far. Nick Cannon won Black Ryan Seacrest. Carson Daly won Even Whiter Ryan Seacrest. NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke won Most Likely To Turn Around Dramatically When You Meet Her. NBC chairman Ted Harbert won Most Likely To Dance Exactly How You Think He Would Dance. NBC Entertainment chairman Greenblatt won Most Likely To Star In New NBC Show Orange Is The New Pale. NBC CEO Steve Burke won Most Likely To Wear Pleated Khaki Underwear.
“We’re all very comfortable being made fun of,” Greenblatt says taking back the stage.
12:18 PM: Greenblatt walks advertisers through the primetime schedule: “Stability in the fall,” etc.. Most particularly he pays attention to “Blacklist and this coming season’s seismic campaign to change the course of Thursday night” for NBC, when it gets out of the four-comedy business on the night for the first time in decades.
On Friday, “I think we finally found the perfect genre drama to pair with Grimm… Fanboys in the audience know it’s based on the DC comic Hellblazer,” Greenblatt said. Video of Constantine follows. Audience laps it up.
Related: NBC’s New Series Trailers
12:25 PM: NBC Sport chief Mark Lazarus walks advertisers through various sports franchises including NASCAR coming back to NBC and securing the Olympics through 2032. “We are thrilled — nobody is making the long-term investment in broadcast sports like NBCU is today. It’s part of who we are and we want you to be with us.”
12:30 PM: Greenblatt talks midseason where, he says, he’s held some of his “noisiest” new programs to debut. Allegiance, from the producer of Homeland, is about a CIA analyst who doesn’t know his parents are Russian spies and “feels even more relevant than it did a few months ago,” he says. “This show will have the same urgency of The Blacklist – very compatible on our Thursday night.
Sunday after football, NBC will unveil A.D. on Easter Sunday, from “Mark Burnett and Roma Downy who surprised everyone with The Bible last year.” This new event series picks up where The Bible left off. Burnett, via video, describes it as “Game Of Thrones meets The Borgias meets The Bible.”
12:45 PM: Greenblatt making-noise-is-important-to-us rush through the network’s midseason plans. But Tina Fey’s new comedy gets the video-included treatment which implies special love. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is about a young woman released after years living underground with a cult leader and is now a fish out of water in Manhattan, where she makes observations like “Dancing is about butts now,” and urges on her new aspiring-performer roommate “You are going to sing at the Grammys with Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson!” and asks such questions as “How many Kardashians are there?”
Also getting the video-love treatment, Katherine Heigl’s return to primetime TV in State Of Affairs. Heigl will plays a “top CIA analyst” advising the president, played by Alfre Woodard — Heigl’s character was engaged to POTUS’ son, only he was killed in terrorist attack. She tells POTUS she is going to track down “every single one of” those responsible for son/fiance’s death “and I’m going to end every single one of their lives.”
“That’s my girl,” POTUS says, creepily