PASADENA, CA–What did NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt tell critics attending TCA Friday morning?
The first network executive session of the tour will be hard to top for candor. Unlike long time CBS programming boss Nina Tassler, for example–the Queen of the non-answer–Greenblatt actually answers questions.
As usual, a few of the best goodies came in the post-session scrub. Greenblatt revealed that he quietly re-signed Alec Baldwin to another two seasons of 30 Rock. Whether there will be a season past the one about to start will be a call Greenblatt will make right before the next upfronts. He has six new comedies in development.
Another scrum goodie: NBC/Universal, which produces House for Fox, has not tried to negotiate an extension to that eight-year-old series beyond this season. Both showrunner David Shore and star Hugh Laurie would probably have to take pay cuts. Greenblatt says if Fox passes, he won’t likely scoop it up for his network. Not at this price point, basically.
Greenblatt started the session by admitting NBC “had a really bad fall, worse than I hoped for but about what I expected.” Prime Suspect, The Playboy Club and Free Agents were all DOA. “Obviously it’s always better to just develop hit pilots.”
He stressed that Community is not cancelled, and will return, he just doesn’t know when. Chuck, on the other hand, is dead dead dead after this coming mid-season run.

Other Greenblatt goodies:

  • On Howard Stern joining America’s Got Talent: “His plan is not to usurp the show and make it the Howard Stern circus.” Folks who think Stern will wreck this show should settle down says Greenblatt.
  • Greenblatt joked NBC “won’t go into receivership” if new buzz drama Smash isn’t a smash. Still, he’s giving it the best boost NBC’s got by launching it behind The Voice.
  • On the failure of Prime Suspect: “Maybe I should just blame the hat and move on.” 
  • On Ricky Gervais returning once again to host the Golden Globes: “We love Ricky.” Translation: NBC loves publicity.
  • On Mariska Hargaty sticking with Law & Order: SVU: yes. In fact, her part is being boosted with new storyline opposite Harry Connick, Jr. Greenblatt says an L&O return next season is likely at this point.
  • Greenblatt says NBC will actually make money off their new NFL deal, thanking the league for throwing them a Thanksgiving game.

There was some talk about Matt Laurer sticking with The Today Show and the odds of Ryan Seacrest continuing to make more stuff for NBC cable station E! but I nodded off.

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