Amidst mea culpas about “The Jay Leno Show” and uncertainty about the network’s primetime and late night futures, NBC executives attempted for a few signs of optimism during Sunday’s (Jan. 10) Television Critics Association press tour panel.
Of particular import to Angela Bromstad, NBC’s primetime entertainment president, was emphasizing that NBC’s development slate is looking strong. That’s crucial, since at least five hours of NBC primetime real estate are suddenly reopening after February with the departure of Jay Leno from 10 p.m.
Some of the upcoming potential programs are already pretty far along, particularly “Rex Is Not Your Lawyer,” featuring recently departed Dr. Who David Tennant. That quirky legal hour has finished shooting its pilot and NBC execs will be watching it this week. While Bromstad stopped well short of indicating that a series pick-up was inevitable, she indicated that if “Rex Is Not Your Lawyer” is ordered, it could be ready to premiere on NBC as early as late spring or possibly early fall.
NBC’s other vaunted development offerings are still in the writing or casting phasing, including some familiar titles.
As was previously announced, NBC is looking to remake the Helen Mirren BBC classic “Prime Suspect,” with Hank Steinberg (“Without a Trace” and Erwin Stoff (“The Blind Side”) serving as executive producers. Obviously casting will be central to the success of any take on “Prime Suspect.”
We also already knew that NBC was remaking the ’70s favorite “The Rockford Files” with David Shore executive producing along with Steve Carell’s Carousel Productions.
NBC confirmed previous reports that J.J. Abrams will direct the pilot for the husband-and-wife spy drama “Undercovers,” which already includes Boris Kodjoe in the male lead. Abrams co-wrote the Warner Brothers TV production with Josh Reims and will executive produce along with Reims and Bryan Burk.
The network is hoping to get into business with super-producers Jerry Bruckheimer and David E. Kelley.
Kelley will write and executive produce “Kindreds,” which focuses on “a curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer and his group of misfit associates as their lives come together to form an unconventional kind of law practice.” Kelley’s most recent pilot was “Legally Mad,” which NBC opted not to send to series last spring.
Bruckheimer is behind “Chase,” which focuses on a team of U.S. Marshals tracking down fugitives in the American Southwest. Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case”) will executive produce.
Also on the drama front is “The Event,” which NBC describes as “a thriller with a unique storytelling device that features multiple points of view concerning a decent, regular fellow who battles against mysterious circumstances that envelope a larger conspiracy.” The executive producers are Steve Stark (“Medium”) and Nick Wauters (“The 4400”).
“Love Bites” is an hour-long romantic comedy from writer Cindy Chupack (“Sex and the City”), plus executive producers Timothy Bevan & Eric Fellner (both for “Love Actually,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary”) and Shelley McCrory. NBC offers no additional information.
On the comedy side, NBC has ordered a pilot for a project from Adam Carolla about a contractor rebuilding (Get it?!?!?) his life after a divorce.
Stay tuned for additional information on these pilots and more as NBC looks to rebuild its primetime lineup in the months to come.