How big can Dick Wolf’s Chicago universe grow?
“Every time I think Dick Wolf has finished what he’s started, he comes up with another idea,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said at TCA today. “Conventional wisdom would probably say if you get one spinoff you’re probably in the 99th percentile of success, but to have three, I think we’re gilding the lily to go beyond that.” While a fourth spinoff appears unlikely at the moment, “I’ll never count Dick Wolf out.”
NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke laid out what’s on Wolf’s plate in the near future: “to stabilize the Chicago Fire franchise and launch the Menendez Brothers miniseries,” part of the new Law & Order: True Crime limited series franchise. And then, “look to New York for another crime franchise down the line.” (Here are more details about Wolf’s NY crime drama, which is will be set at the FBI.)
Salke also said that the network is considering “big Universal franchise pieces, looking at two to three big tries in that area.”
Last season, the network tried to reboot cult sci-fi drama Heroes, but Heroes Reborn didn’t attract the broad audience NBC was hoping for. Greenblatt indicated that introducing new characters and not bringing the original cast in characters fans knew and loved had to do with that, noting Fox’s reboots of The X-Files and Prison Break, both of which were able to secure the original stars. “That’s a distinction,” Greenblatt said.
After experimenting with broad comedy a la Animal Practice, NBC is returning to The Office era. The change of direction is exemplified by the success of Superstore, Greenblatt said.
“Finally, this feels back to an NBC-smart, specific show that has heart,” he said. “It’s not a trying-to-please-the-whole-world show.”
The network is going down its road with its new crop of comedies including Superstore‘s companion on Thursday night The Good Place, Greenblatt said.