“I like to call it the Summer of Freedom,” Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews said during the NBC show’s panel at TCA, when asked about having come forward with his own report of having been sexually harassed in Hollywood.
Crews famously testified in June before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying Expendables producer Avi Lerner called his manager and asked the actor to drop his case against a Hollywood agent in order to appear in the fourth installment of the action film. The actor and former NFL player revealed earlier he was sexually assaulted in 2016 while attending a party with his wife. The assault “lasted only minutes,” but the agent — whom Crews did not identify by name — “was effectively telling me, while he held my genitals in his hand, that he held the power. That he was in control.”
“This is all about freedom and being able to tell your story,” Crews said at TCA today “Feeling safe and having friends and family on [Brooklyn Nine-Nine] I felt secure enough I could tell my truth and still go to work. It made a difference.”
“Each and every person…gave me the strength, along with all of the women who came forward in the #MeToo movement, that’s where I got a ton of my strength from,” he said, noting he had been talking to the cast about his experience the day before he decided to go public with his tweets.
“This is just the beginning and this is going to be a new day,” he predicted optimistically. “From now on the town will be safer for my wife, my son and my daughter.”
Series EP Dan Goor said they were interested in doing a #MeToo episode, continuing the show’s trend of doing more issue-oriented episodes. “They are really hard to do, but we’re happy with the way they turn out.”
“The challenge is to stay true to the show and feel funny, but give a weight to the issue and explore it in a fair way. I can’t promise, but we’re really interested in trying to do a #MeToo story,” he elaborated, saying they are in active talks about it in the writers room.
Added Samberg: “We are not going to do unless we have the right take that does it justice.”
The series was a talker during pilot season when, one day after being cancelled by Fox, it got picked up by NBC for a 13-episode sixth season.
Asked how the show might change now that it’s on NBC, Goor joked:
It will be funnier.
Better guest stars.
Longer, shorter, faster.
“The fact of the matter is, the executives we worked with at Fox gave us great notes; we had a lot of creative freedom,” he said. “Similarly, our experiences so far with NBC have been fantastic. It’s a place Andy and I have been a long time; so much of what we have done is with the studio. No matter what network we’ve been on they’ve had our back…It’s not like there was a hardship being elsewhere that is now rectified.”
Asked to speak to his state of mind when Fox pulled the plug on the show, Samberg admitted, “I felt pretty confident we’d land the show elsewhere. Looking back I was a little too confident.”
“For some reason, this story of our show’s cancellation and resurrection struck some kind of nerve,” he said, confessing he is not sure if that wasn’t just because it was a “slow news day.”
“We know the fan base we have is very passionate,” Samberg said. “It gave the show a story. It’s now in the zeitgeist in its own terms – that the show got canceled and then picked up, because of a low news day. We’ll take it!”
NBC, whose sister studio Universal TV produces the Samberg-starring series, was one of the potential suitors for the comedy after its cancellation. NBC also was 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.
Announcing the pickup, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said, “Ever since we sold this show to Fox I’ve regretted letting it get away, and it’s high time it came back to its rightful home.”
NBC’s pickup of Brooklyn Nine-Nine followed a groundswell of support for the show on social media, with fans joined by celebrities including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Guillermo del Toro, Seth Meyers and Mark Hamill. Acknowledging the big role fans’ social media campaign played in the show’s resurrection, Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s creators and stars announced the NBC pickup directly to them on Twitter.
Created by the Parks and Recreation duo of Goor and Michael Schur, who are former college roommates, Brooklyn Nine-Nine centers on Peralta, played by Saturday Night Live alum Samberg, a screwball who happens to be a real good cop. His captain in the NYPD’s 99th Precinct is Raymond Holt, a seen-it-all and emotion-challenged captain played by Andre Braugher, who scored three consecutive Emmy noms for Supporting Actor from 2014-2016. Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, Stephanie Beatriz, Chelsea Peretti, Joel McKinnon Miller and Dirk Blocker also star.