With upfronts still 10 days away, other networks continue to shuffle through development season pilots, but NBC has officially ordered four new scripted shows this week.
NBC formally announced series pickups for “The Event,” “Outsourced” and “Love Bites” on Friday (May 7), just days after sending J.J. Abrams’ “Undercovers” to series for the fall.
“Each of these three series reflects a unique point of view and distinct style of quality that fits perfectly with NBC’s dedication to rebuilding the schedule,” states Angela Bromstad, NBC’s Primetime Entertainment President. “These series showcase excellent writing and casting, and represent the kind of scripted programming our network and studio are committed to producing.”
The network’s three pickups cover very different terrain for NBC.
“The Event” is a conspiracy thriller focusing on a normal guy (Jason Ritter) whose search for his missing fiancee (Sarah Roemer) pushes him deeper and deeper into one of the biggest cover-ups in American history. The ensemble drama features Blair Underwood as the President of the United States and co-stars Laura Innes, Scott Patterson, Ian Anthony Dale and Zeljko Ivanek.
The “Event” pilot was created by Nick Wauters and directed by Jeffrey Reiner (“Friday Night Lights,” “Trauma”).
A comedy, “Outsourced” stars Todd Dempsy as a Midwestern guy who learns that he’s being transferred to India to head up his company’s new call center. The series comes from Robert Borden (“The Drew Carey Show”) and Ken Kwapis (“The Office”) and co-stars Rizwan Manji, Sacha Dhawan, Rebecca Hazlewood, Parvesh Cheena and Anisha Nagarajan, plus Diedrich Bader and Jessica Gower.
The most innovative of the new NBC projects may be “Love Bites,” from “Sex and the City” Emmy winner Cindy Chupack.
“Love Bites” is an hour-long romantic-comedy anthology series, anchored by Becki Newton and Jordana Spiro as two single gals who make up the show’s only recurring element. The series tells multiple weekly vignettes about romance, sex, dating and marriage.
In addition to Spiro and Newton, the “Love Bites” pilot features guest appearances by Greg Grunberg, Craig Robinson, Jason Lewis, Lindsay Price, Charlyne Yi, Pamela Adlon, Kyle Howard and, playing herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt.
As Bromstad noted, NBC has some hefty schedule rebuilding to do, so even after a week with four pickups, it’s doubtful that the network’s rebuilding work is through. The additions of “Undercovers,” “The Event,” “Outsourced” and “Love Bites” doesn’t mean that NBC isn’t going to pick up additional pilots, nor that things are bleak for NBC bubble shows like “Chuck,” “Mercy” and “Trauma.” [OK. To be fair, things are bleak for “Mercy” and “Trauma.”]