In being “rescued” by NBC, former Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine Nine is where it should have been in the first place, NBC Entertainment Group chief Bob Greenblatt beamed this morning on a phone call with reporters after unveiling the network’s primetime slate for the coming season.
Brooklyn Nine Nine “fits into our brand of comedy, in many ways better than it ever fit on Fox,” he said, acknowledging that, had he known Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg would be cast in the series, he never would have let it be sold to Fox in the first place. Greenblatt called the show’s first five season on Fox a “missed opportunity” for NBC.
NBC’s sister studio Universal TV produces the Samberg-starring series. NBC had been among the broadcast networks that bid for the Brooklyn Nine-Nine pitch from creators Mike Schur and Dan Goor when it hit the marketplace in 2012 before the project landed at Fox in a very competitive situation.
When the series finally “came to a place where [Fox] could not keep it on” NBC “jumped on it really quickly,” Greenblatt said. So, while applauding those fans who took to Twitter to “yell and scream” when Fox scrubbed it, he said it did not inspire NBC to pick it up because “we were already there,” working on a deal to move it to NBC.
The celebrity-strewn Twitter hand-wringing had included the likes of Mark Hamill and Lin-Manuel Miranda. When the comedy’s NBC pick-up became official, Twitter happy dancing by many ensued, including fellow SNL alum Seth Meyers who enthused, “Good news: Andy is back on NBC!!! Bad News; Andy has SO many unpaid NBC parking tickets!!!”
“Andy grew up” on NBC, Greenblatt reminded reporters, also noting the network has a great relationship with the show’s creators on other projects.
“You know where you finish a puzzle and one piece is missing? We found that piece,” Greenblatt beamed, over the phone.
One journalist/rabid fan wanted to know if it would be back for a seventh season on NBC; Greenblatt was not ready to commit, saying that’s up to viewers and where the show goes creatively, while adding he would love to see more. “We own it. It’s one of few comedies in recent years to have a really robust international number, a syndication upside which a lot of shows don’t have any more. So there are a lot of business reasons for it to continue, but it’s too early to tell.”
In the morning’s unveiling of its new primetime schedule, in advance of tomorrow’s Radio City Music Hall bash for advertisers, NBC touted the series’ sixth season “triumphant return in midseason. “
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox’s highest-rated live-action comedy series this season among adults 18-49, is produced by Universal Television, Fremulon, Dr. Goor Productions and 3 Arts. Goor and Schur executive produce alongside David Miner and Luke Del Tredici.
NBC is not the first broadcast network that has come to the rescue of a series produced by its sister studio. In a similar way, ABC and CBS picked up ABC Studios-produced Scrubs and CBS Studios-produced Medium, respectively, after their cancellations by NBC. Like them, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has off-network/SVOD deals that make prolonging their run good business for the parent company. For Fox, which didn’t own Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it was expensive, with a license fee said to be around $1.9 an episode.