UPDATE: For a play-by-play of Monday’s NBC upfront event in New York, including gags from the likes of Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Fallon and famed yuckster Jeff Gaspin, go here. And go here for Alan Sepinwall’s eye witness HitFix account of the NBC and Fox upfront marathon.
Remember NBC? They used to be a TV network. It appears they’re still around and with Comcast waiting to move into 30 Rock, the pressure’s on to get this sucker back up on its hind legs and back into “Must See” territory.
Hoping they’re on their way today is Nazneen Contractor. The India-born, Toronto-raised actress (above) has landed a role on one of 14 new series (eight starting this fall) NBC officially announced today as part of their 2010-11 lineup: The Paul Reiser Show. The mid-season sitcom finds the former Mad About You star and producer in Larry David territory in a semi-autobiographical saga with Curb appeal. Contractor, who co-starred for two seasons on CBC’s The Border before trying to keep up with Jack Bauer this season on 24, plays Reiner’s agent on the new comedy.
I spoke with Contractor Friday and she said Reiser was a dream to work with. The actress has had a busy spring: she got married to Carlos Rota (Little Mosque, 24) in April and had to shoot her final scenes on 24 a few days later. The new couple were just in Hamilton finishing up the sword and sandals epic My Little Pegasus or something.
NBC, like Fox, sees a comedy comeback and has ordered five, including two for fall: Outsourced stars Dietrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) as a Kansas City customer service manager sent to India to train some reps. Love Bites puts a new spin on the old anthology series Love, American Style with tales of dating and other “hilarious” couples hi jinx. Greg Grunberg (Heroes), this generation’s Stuart Margolin, has landed a regular role on the series. Friends With Benefits (above left) and Perfect Couples are two horny comedies booked for mid-season.
On the new drama side, the network that dumped Conan O’Brien has officially ordered a series he’s producing. Outlaw finds always welcome Jimmy Smits (right) as a Supreme Court judge who quits to become an ass-kicking defender of the little guy. The Jerry Bruckheimer drama Chase is about a swat team of U.S. marshals who hunt down the deadliest baddies. The Event finds Jason Ritter stumbling upon the biggest cover up in U.S. history.
As previously reported, the original Law & Order is out after 20 years and a new Dick Wolf court drama, Law & Order: Los Angeles, is in. Undercovers, from red hot J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek) is a Mr. and Mrs Spy series about a CIA couple.
David E. Kelley is behind one of the two midseason drama pickups. Harry’s Law features Kathy Bates as a grumpy ex-patent lawyer teamed with a couple of misfits. The Cape is about an ex-cop turned caped crusader.
There’s also a couple of cheap ass non-scripted pickups.
After the Leno at 10 fiasco, NBC has done an about face, teaming with A-List show creators like Bruckheimer, Abrams and Kelley.
The Peacock network has also picked up a fourth season of Chuck and is sticking with Community. Parks and Recreation will be back but not till mid-season. Heroes, Mercy and Trauma are all kaput. Here’s NBC’s fall schedule at a glance:
8:00 p.m. Chuck
9:00 p.m. THE EVENT
10:00 p.m. CHASE
8:00 p.m. The Biggest Loser (two hours)
10:00 p.m. Parenthood
8:00 p.m. UNDERCOVERS
9:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (new time)
10:00 p.m. LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES
8:00 p.m. Who Do You Think You Are? / SCHOOL PRIDE
9:00 p.m. Dateline
10:00 p.m. OUTLAW
8:00 p.m. Encore programming
9:00 p.m. Encore programming
10:00 p.m. Encore programming
7:00 p.m. Football Night in America
8:15 p.m. Sunday Night Football