Over the past year, Jimmy Fallon has made almost as many headlines for the string of injuries he has suffered as for his success as the new king of late-night with those big ratings and even bigger digital following. At TCA today, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt was asked to address Fallon’s history of accidents and tabloid reports of a possible drinking problem.
“He’s good. He doesn’t have a drinking problem,” Greenblatt said after the session. “He goes out and has fun. He’s had some accidents. Aside from that, he’s in better shape than he’s ever been.” Greenblatt said that, while he has not personally discussed the issue with Fallon, others at the network have. “Always, we are worried about his safety. There’s been conversations about that. The stories are exaggerated about this.”
During NBC’s executive panel, Greenblatt was asked whether the newly announced re-upping of the network’s fellow late-night host Seth Meyers is some type of insurance for “accident-prone” Fallon. “No,” Greenblatt said. “Jimmy will be with us for years to come, perhaps long after I leave NBC and some of you leave your jobs.”
Immediately following Sunday’s Golden Globes, host Ricky Gervais shared with Deadline that he had been asked to come back next year. NBC president of non-scripted Paul Telegdy noted today that ratings for Gervais’ return were down only a fraction from last year against strong competition. He said he was happy with Gervais’ performance, which again ruffled some feathers. “When you book Ricky, you know what you’re in for,” Telegdy said, while noting that “we haven’t made any decision about next year — we’ll talk to him.”
Added Greenblatt, “Ricky made a decision about returning, but we haven’t made that yet.”
NBC has been at the forefront of the current push into live entertainment programming on the broadcast networks with its live musicals, comedy Undateable and Best Time Ever.
“We would love to do more live sitcoms, and we’ve talked about doing live drama,” Greenblatt said during the executive panel. Entertainment president Jennifer Salke noted that she had approached mega producer Dick Wolf about doing a portion of one of his Chicago dramas live. “He laughed at me,” she said.
Greenblatt elaborated on the live-drama issue later, giving an update on the live A Few Good Men staging with Aaron Sorkin, which has been in the works for more than a year. “I can’t get any traction with (live dramas),” Greenblatt said. “No other producers want to jump into it. The couple that we talked to, Dick Wolf being one of them, he just thinks his shows are better crafted and edited. Live means you same in the time frame and location. It can feel quite limiting. It doesn’t mean we won’t ever do one. We’re still talking with Aaron Sorkin about doing a live movie of A Few Good Men, but haven’t made all those deals, but that’s a courtroom drama that’s conducive to that and it was a play. But I’d love to try it.”
On other topics, there has been no discussions about doing primetime Saturday Night Live specials during the final stage of the Presidential campaign. “But I think we will probably do something in that area if Lorne (Michaels) wants to do it. It’s always fun to do those.”
Greenblatt also addressed the fact that NBC almost simultaneously introduced three new series with Latina leads: Telenovela (Eva Longoria), Shades Of Blue (Jennifer Lopez) and Superstore (America Ferrera).
“I’m thrilled about our diversity throughout the whole network,” Greenblatt said. “GLAAD documented us as the most diverse network. I think our casts are 41% diverse. And we just happen to get into business with Jennifer and Eva. America we cast in Superstore, it wasn’t even designed for her. It’s a great coincidence.”
Greenblatt also had a playful response to CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller’s comment at TCA yesterday, “I’m just a gay guy from Indiana who doesn’t play basketball.”
Said Greenblatt, “I still come from Illinois and I’m still gay!”