Late last week and over the weekend, several pieces of news from NBC hit the Web. Rather than reporting all of them separately, we've decided to put everything together in a mini NBC news wrap-up.
What's going on with the peacock network? A little bit of everything: one new show is coming, one old show has been pulled (and may be gone for good), and we also have some casting news. Let's get started.
In our first bit of NBC news, we learn from The Hollywood Reporter that NBC has picked up the pilot for a new comedy series from Kari Lizer, the creator of The New Adventures of Old Christine. Old Christine, which starred Julia Louis-Dreyfus, was well-liked and ran on CBS for five seasons before ending last year.
According to the THR report, Lizer's new show is a multi-camera workplace comedy focused on "a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings." The premise of the show sounds right for these economically turbulent times, and Lizer has a good track record, so there's definitely something to look forward to here. One note: the pilot pick-up is "cast-contingent," meaning NBC will order the show if they get the cast they want.
As NBC is picking up new shows, it is also ditching old ones. Last Thursday, Deadline reported that the show Chase had been pulled to make room for an extended version of the game show Minute to Win It. Chase has suffered from troubled ratings all year and changed time slots once already. In retrospect, it's curious that NBC ordered a full season of the show to begin with.
For those who aren't familiar with Chase, the show follows a team of Texas federal marshals tasked with tracking down dangerous fugitives. It was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who also produces the popular CSI franchise.
Lastly, we have some casting news for Playboy, a new drama from NBC which takes place in the 1960s at the Chicago Playboy club. According to Deadline, Amber Heard (Drive Angry) and Natari Naughton (Fame) have been cast as leads in the series.
Quoting from Deadline's report,
"CAA-repped Heard, who had been in talks for the project, will play Maureen, a new hire at the club, originally an orphan from Fort Wayne, an inquisitive young woman with an untethered sexuality and a dark past. Naughton, repped by Innovative and Luber Roklin, will play Brenda, a stunning African-American Bunny determined to become the first black Playboy centerfold who is Maureen's confidante and roommate in the Bunny Dormitory."
As we explained in this article from January, Playboy magazine has lost significant value in recent years, but the brand is still iconic in American popular culture. By tapping into the Playboy brand, as well as the cool style of the 1960s as epitomized by AMC's Mad Men, NBC hopes to create a drama that will bring in viewers and impress critics. NBC has even brought on Alan Taylor, who directed the pilot episode of Mad Men, to direct the pilot episode of Playboy.
Undoubtedly, many people will tune into this show looking for something salacious, but it's unlikely they're going to get it. As a network drama, you're not going to see anything too risque. If NBC has put together a quality drama though, it won't matter. People just like to see good television (Well, maybe not 13-year-old boys, but that's not the point).
That's our news wrap-up on NBC. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on each of these items in the comments.