NBC at TCA: Monkeys! Fires! Babies! Revolutions! Get the Latest News on NBC’s New Comedies, Dramas, and Reality ShowsNBC introduced their new fall lineup to journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. They have an aggressive new slate of comedies as well as their highly anticipated new drama Revolution from producer J.J. Abrams and director Jon Favreau. Find out all of the latest scoop from Snakkle! By Erin Fox
GUYS WITH KIDS
That adorable Jimmy Fallon and his producing partner Amy Ozols came to NBC with an idea about a show featuring fathers and sons, and boom!—Guys with Kids was born. Jimmy joined via satellite (and apparently joined many of the show’s meetings and casting sessions the same way). Fallon explained that he would see all these young, good-looking guys walking around New York City with babies in Bjorns or with kids on the back of their bikes, who were embracing the role of dad. He called these guys DILFS—and if y’all remember what a MILF is, a DILF is just the dad version. Series star Tempestt Bledsoe (Cosby alert!) said, “This show explores the new trend that fatherhood is cool.”
On coming back to TV comedy on NBC, Bledsoe said, “It’s a rare opportunity to have a script come along like this.… To be back at NBC is really thrilling for me. This network takes a risk and a chance on new ventures.”
There were 14 different kids playing these babies, and though they were well behaved on tape night, the actors never knew what those pint-sized stars would throw at them. Jesse Bradford, who plays Chris, was supposed to throw a tagline and instead got a baby fist to the mouth. Bradford admitted, “Part of the fun is playing with the constant variable of what these kids will do.”
Guys with Kids premieres Wednesday, September 26, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Dick Wolf is back with a new show—and this one is dun-dun-free! Chicago Fire is a more character-driven, less procedural (thank you for that!) show about these particular brave firemen and their lives. The obvious thing to say would be this is a prettied-up, profanitied-down version of Rescue Me, but it’s not. It is more serious and direct. It’s about a firehouse that houses not only firefighters but paramedics and a rescue squad as well. And instead of having a backdrop of New York City post-9/11, these firemen have recently lost one of their own and struggle to manage their grief while managing to do their insanely dangerous jobs in the city of Chicago.
Wolf said, “Everybody is saying that it’s not fire of the week. It’s not. It’s a character study about people who do things that you can’t pay people to do. You can’t pay people to run into burning buildings. It is a canvas for good writing—and writing that you haven’t seen for a while on network television.”
Jesse Spencer—who trades in his scrubs from House for lieutenant’s gear—added, “We’re concentrating on the characters. They don’t see themselves as heroes. They’re guys, they’re gals, and they’re doing their job—and it’s a dangerous job—and they run into these situations and they have issues with each other and they might not necessarily like each other that much.”
Spencer, Sex and the City’s David Eigenberg, and Oz’s Eamonn Walker all take on distinctly different roles from their previously well-known shows and transform into a team of rescuers that we will root for… we hope. Walker told journalists he came to the show because of the material. “The script brought me. It was the best script I read.… I haven’t read anything this good for a long time and I want to be a part of it,” Walker said.
Chicago Fire premieres Wednesday, October 10, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Oh, Justin Kirk! We haven’t even gotten over your insane shenanigans as Andy Botwin on Weeds, and now we get to see you as a skirt-chasing veterinarian with a very interesting wingman… who happens to be a monkey. Welcome to Animal Practice, humans.
Kirk plays New York City vet Dr. George Coleman, who has a gift with animals… not so much with humans. All of which is exacerbated when his ex-love Dorothy (played by the lovely JoAnna Garcia Swisher) blasts in to take over her family business, Crane Animal Hospital. Oh, man, now she’s “the man”! And, as you can imagine, having his ex as his boss could really throw a wrench into George’s romantic mojo.
But within all of this broad comedy with the animals, several people on the panel maintained the show will have to be grounded in the reality of a working animal hospital—one where animals will be treated with the best care possible.
But the real burning question here isn’t about the human drama or the hardships of working with a set full of animals every day. No. What we want to know: Do Justin and Crystal the monkey get along? Kirk said he asked her handler how to get on her good side and was told, “Ignore her. Don’t try to grab her.” He answered with, “I’ve been doing that all my life. So it shouldn’t be difficult.” He continued, “She’s just supercool. Like, she’s the most famous monkey in Hollywood, so you try to be cool around her. We just presented an award together this weekend at the Teen Choice Awards, so we hang out off set too.” Ha!
Animal Practice premieres Wednesday, September 26, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
It’s not the apocalypse, but it is the end of all electricity—equally as terrifying for all of us dependent on our iPhones, laptops, and HDTV. Fifteen years after the world has gone dark, Revolution picks up in a neighborhood that has now transformed from ideal suburbia to a quaint village with crops, herbs, and farm animals running through streets that were once full of hybrids and minivans.
The country is now torn apart and run by local (and frightening) militias. One faction, led by Captain Neville (played by the stone-faced and scary Giancarlo Esposito, a.k.a. Gus from Breaking Bad) wanders into the village where our protagonists, the Mathesons, live. He’s looking for answers as to whom or what was behind the global blackout—and thinks Ben Matheson has the answers. Before he can get what he wants, a standoff ensues and Ben is killed. They take his son Danny instead, and before his last breath, Ben implores his beautiful daughter Charlie to search for her long-lost uncle, who may or may not be in Chicago. He is certain Uncle Miles will be able to find and rescue Danny. So did Ben, in fact, know how to turn the lights back on? Stay tuned….
Revolution has an impressive pedigree, including executive producers J.J. Abrams (Alias, Fringe, Lost, Star Trek, etc.) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and director Jon Favreau (Iron Man). But can Revolution capture the imaginations of network TV fans with such a high-concept show? And how will the show navigate between the blackout mystery and fleshing out character-driven story lines?
Favreau said that the quality programming on cable has led the networks to being more open to shows that aren’t just procedural from week to week. “I think what’s happened—it started off as a trend with cable television, has spread out, and now is hitting network—is the audience has a tremendous capacity for sophisticated story lines.” He continued, “So while there’s an underlying mystery with an internal logic to it, we still want to make it about the people and the emotion.”
For anyone who was able to catch Giancarlo Esposito’s Emmy-nominated role as drug kingpin Gus on Breaking Bad, it’s not difficult to understand why he’d be the natural choice to cast as Revolution’s bad guy. Esposito told journalists that it’s “delicious” to play this bad guy. However, nothing is black and white on this show. Esposito explained, “This guy is somewhat different in that he is the one step that is keeping everyone safe. Without him there would be total anarchy.… He is trying to restore some kind of order. Is there a reason behind it? Well, wait and see. Is he as bad as you think he is? Wait and see.”
Revolution premieres Monday, September 17, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
THE NEW NORMAL
Ryan Murphy does not sleep. Clearly, he just sits around dreaming up successful TV shows in all kinds of genres. Seriously, man, give someone else a chance! We kid.
This time, he’s tackling half-hour, single-camera comedy about a gay couple—played by Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells—who hire a single mom to carry their baby. Enter the surrogate candidate Goldie, her wise-beyond-her-years daughter Shania, and her insanely un-PC mother Jane, played by the amazing Ellen Barkin.
No doubt that NBC must be banking off the success of Modern Family to lure audiences to a more raunchy and direct exploration of this particular modern family unit. Murphy said the idea came from conversations with his partner in their own lives about possibly starting a family, and that Barkin’s character was very loosely based off his real grandmother. Murphy explained, “I think all the characters are lovable, and I think that everybody has people in their family who are representative, hopefully, in all of these characters. I certainly think the most controversial character will probably be Ellen Barkin’s character. But, you know, I remember Thanksgivings when I was growing up when my grandmother would actually say these jaw‑dropping things very similar to that, and then we would call her out on it, so it felt very familiar to me, and I think it feels hopefully familiar to other people.”
Though the stuff that flies out of her mouth can be highly offensive to some, Murphy thinks the Million Moms faction will love her! Murphy joked, “If they watched the show, I actually think they would love it, because for the first time they’re represented.”
The New Normal premieres on Tuesday, September 11, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Oh, Matthew Perry, we love you so. We’re really hoping against hope that you will find a new and worthy home back in TV comedy with Go On. After seeing you struggle on Mr. Sunshine (and a few other bombs), this is your time!
Matthew Perry plays a sports radio host who lost his wife just one month ago and is not handling it well. As in, he’s forced into group therapy. One of the fresher angles of the support group is that there are all different ages, races, and orientations to write for, including Julie White’s character, who is gay and loses her partner suddenly. “I thought, well, how smart and… how fresh to talk about families from a different perspective and that the idea of losing your spouse or your partner is the same kind of grief for everyone. And in that way, Matthew and I kind of—our characters are on sort of a very, very similar journey,” explained White.
While this show is primarily a comedy, Matthew Perry does get to stretch his acting muscles a bit more in Go On. After all, he is playing a widower. When asked what his favorite character has been to play, he said it would be “stupid” not to say this one. But when pressed, Perry said he does love this role because he gets to do comedy and drama at the same time. “I really like doing comedy and I really like doing drama, and this is a really funny show. But one of the scenes in the show gave me one of the biggest acting challenges I’ve had dramatically, so I really like this—and [my favorite role] is either this or The Whole Ten Yards.
STARS EARN STRIPES
Okay, at first this seemed like another reality show with sorta-celebrities competing against one another for either charity or the glory of winning some weird or meaningless title. However, after seeing the footage of these sports stars, reality personalities, political players, and actors getting down and dirty in the name of combat-based competition, we may have changed our minds.
Stars Earn Stripes was conceived by Dick Wolf and the ever-powerful reality show king Mark Burnett, and does not shy away from putting the cast through the ringer. General Wesley Clark (yes, the real deal) hosts the competition along with Samantha Harris. They wear combat gear, get dropped from helicopters, use real weapons (almost crap their pants from real fear), and are paired with real badass Green Berets, Navy Seals, etc.
When General Clark was asked why he wanted to be a part of this show, he stated, “Because the purpose of it was to really showcase and honor our men and women in uniform and to do that by both highlighting their skills and having the audience relate to their skills through the actions of the celebrities that they were teamed up with. And the proceeds were going to go to veterans’ charities. I thought it was a win‑win‑win.”
The stars include Dolvett Quince, Eve Torres, Todd Palin, Laila Ali, Nick Lachey, Dean Cain, Terry Crews, and Picabo Street. And even though the show is about rigorous competition in the most intense circumstances, the special ops teams and celebs became very close. Special op Brent Gleeson said, “We all learned a lot from each other. And just like in the military—that was another aspect of the reality of the show—is the camaraderie between everybody on the stage and the other operatives that aren’t here was formed instantly. From day one we were like a family.”
Enough with that mushiness! We want to see some military-style smackdowns! Well, you won’t have to wait long. Stars Earn Stripes premieres Monday, August 13, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
#RyanMurphy – All in the Family was a huge influence on him growing up – watching it with his family and discussing the good and bad of it
Brought a physicist into #Revolution offices to make sure the story and big secret rang true and he said it was completely possible! (GULP)
‘Fringe’ producer ‘can’t comprehend’ Emmys snub | Inside TV | http://EW.com http://ow.ly/csJ7k
Wolf: Thing that attracted all of the actors to this show was the pilot script – it has been an uplifting creative experience #Chicagofire
#NewNormal is a “love letter to families” – there is some irreverent moments from “Nana” but all 3 episodes so far come back to warm place
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