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NBC Infront News, Plus Fighting the Good Fight for "Chuck"

There wasn't much in the way of news at yesterday's NBC Infront, which I attended at the Globe Theatre on the Universal backlot, although I will say that I did tell Ben Silverman to please renew Chuck. (Yep, right to his face.)

The second annual NBC Infront presentation, overseen by Ben Silverman, Mike Pilot, Dick Ebersol, Angela Bromstad, Vivi Zigler, and Paul Telegdy, was pretty similar to the one given in New York last week (and likely the one in Chicago as well).

Silverman said that the fall schedule was still not locked and urged advertisers to speak up about their support for bubble series like Chuck and that there were still negotiations going on behind-the-scenes on these series. After hearing Silverman (and confronting him later on the red carpet), I do feel like NBC will be bringing back Chuck... if they can reach a financial agreement that makes sense for all concerned parties.

Silverman's reaction to my heartfelt pleas to renew Chuck certainly indicated that he's not only aware of the fan and critical support for the series. (Silverman smiled and laughed and turned to the head of NBC Agency and said, "*This* is what I am talking about!") Methinks that the advertiser love has certainly improved Chuck's chances, but it's all going to come down to dollars and cents at this point. Still, no decision is still good news at this point.

Much of NBC's presentation focused on the controversial decision to schedule Jay Leno five nights a week at 10 pm and execs were quick to point out that the move is not bringing late night to 10 pm, but rather Jay Leno to primetime. Silverman said that Jay Leno is "topical, live on tape, comedic, and branded" and said that the use of Leno at 10 pm weeknights would allow NBC to "schedule more aggressively and surgically between 8 and 10 pm."

Trailers were shown for each of the new scripted series which include Trauma, Mercy, Parenthood, Day One, and comedies Community and 100 Questions. With the exception of a new trailer for Jesse Alexander-created Day One (which I have yet to see anywhere online), the clips were very similar (or identical, in some cases) to those shown to advertisers in New York. Particular mention was paid to unscripted series such as I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, The Marriage Ref, and Who Do You Think You Are?, as well as the Vancouver Olympic Games.

Silverman said that having a "focused lineup between 8 and 10 pm" will allow the network to "build themes across nights." It's still not clear what those themes will be but Silverman offered a slight taste of what we can expect to find on NBC each night, ahead of the release of the official schedule next week.

Mondays: Heroes and a new series (as yet undetermined)
Tuesdays: Biggest Loser
Wednesdays: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Thursdays: Comedies, including six episodes of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday (which Silverman seemed to indicate would air at 8 pm)
Fridays: High-end scripted programs
Saturdays: Drama Encores, Dateline, Saturday Night Live
Sundays: Football, special events like Golden Globes

Execs also heralded the return of freshman series Southland and Parks and Recreation, which it lauded as upholding the high comedic bar set by 30 Rock. (The series' Aziz Ansari and Ben McKenzie, meanwhile, were on hand to open the event and introduce Mike Pilot and Ben Silverman.) Silverman pointed to patience with comedy paying off, believing that Parks and Recreation could join the ranks of slow-to-catch-on NBC comedies like Seinfeld, The Office, and 30 Rock, and said their mission was to offer programming to "inform, entertain, and inspire."

Responding to a question from an advertiser, Angela Bromstad was quick to say that she didn't anticipate any content-related issues at the 8 pm or 9 pm hours stemming from such post-watershed series like Law & Order: SVU airing at an earlier hour. Silverman himself said that Law & Order: SVU now plays around the country around the clock and they did not anticipate any issues with airing the series before 10 pm.

NBC will announce its schedule and any additional series renewals and pickups on May 19th.


kallie said…
Thanks for speaking up to Silverman! Glad to hear that at least negotiations are still being made over Chuck. Hopefully, something can be worked out. Fingers crossed!
Tempest said…
Unleash the Casey (or the Jace)! Way to plug "Chuck."
Annie said…
LOVE that you did this. Way to go Jace!!!!!!
Mazza said…
Bravo, Jace! That took courage to say to Silverman. I hope he realizes just how much support Chuck has from the fans and media. BRING CHUCK BACK!
jn613 said…
thanks for the shout out to silverman, jace! with chuck likely landing on fridays, it looks like fans are in battle for the long haul, not just for the show's renewal, but for its very survival. here's hoping we fans can remain committed and creative in our campaigns so that the show can stay on the air as long as the writers -- and not the ratings -- dictate. if nothing else, at least the Have a Heart-Renew Chuck campaign has raised over $13,000 for the american heart association. chuck fans are awesome -- go team bartowski!

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