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July 29, 2014

NBC Execs: Live '30 Rock,' Rob Lowe on 'Parks and Rec,' Early Premieres for 'Parenthood' and 'Outlaw' - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 30th 2010 3:40PM
Angela Bromstad and Jeff Gaspin at NBC exec session at Summer '10 TCAWhat a difference six months makes. In January, with the Leno/Conan mess blowing up all around them, NBC Universal entertainment execs Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad sat before the critics and answered questions as unassuredly as people in their position could be. Gaspin, who had just been inserted in his job, tried to be honest about the fiasco and their mistakes, but really couldn't talk about how the network's future would look.

Now, though, with a development season under their belts, both executives took a more confident stance at the TCA press tour, talking about "rebuilding" the network. More on that in a bit.

First some news: '30 Rock' will air a live episode on Oct. 14. 'Parenthood' and 'Outlaw' will premiere early, after the final two episodes of 'America's Got Talent' on Sept. 14 and 15, respectively. Rob Lowe is now a permanent cast member of 'Parks and Recreation.' And there will be guest stars galore on various NBC shows, including Drew Carey on 'Community.' Finally, 'The Apprentice' comes back with a two-hour premiere on Sept. 16.

Some more tidbits from the panel:

-- According to Bromstad, NBC and the producers of 'The Office' knew about Steve Carell's departure long before he started mentioning it in public. "They have a plan on how to replace Steve, and there will be episodes leading up to that" that heighten the 'mystery' about it. She wouldn't say, either on the panel or in the scrum, whether the candidate will be already in the cast or a new cast member.

-- Both Bromstad and Gaspin admitted that the network made mistakes last year (ya think?). "I think we made too many changes too quickly from a position of weakness," he said. "It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. The goal is to rebuild and get stronger, and if we need to make changes at that point, we'll have more information, and we won't be working from a position of weakness, which jeopardized a lot of the decisions we made (last year)."

-- Gaspin on 'The Big Bang Theory' moving to Thursday nights, opposite 'Community': "'Big Bang' is a great show and it'll do well on Thursday night. We're hopeful there's room for two comedies on Thursdays." Gaspin claimed that the audiences for the two shows are different, but I'm not sure that's true; they seem to cater to the same pop-culture obsessed geek crowd. I mean, Abed could fit in very well with the 'Big Bang' gang, no? Anyway, Gaspin said they'll 'see what happens' when the two shows go head-to-head.

-- Gaspin tried to defend Jay Leno's lower numbers since he came back to 'The Tonight Show,' claiming they're still up on Letterman in the key demographic over the last two quarters. But then he also made excuses about how both shows are lower, there have been rerun weeks, tennis, etc. Maybe there's not much to explain; late-night talk might just be dying and that's it.

-- Bromstad mentioned that 'Outsourced' has had a casting change, and that they want the office in the pilot to "look less like an office in the Valley and more like Mumbai."

-- The live '30 Rock' was requested by the network as a way to promote the show. "Coming from 'SNL,' Tina Fey and Lorne Michaels are up for it," Bromstad said.

-- Bromstad on keeping 'The Event' from becoming another mess like 'FlashForward': "We're going to do everything in our power to guard against the 'FlashForward' problem. We take those lessons really seriously. The audience and critics will be skeptical and we're going to have to prove (ourselves)."

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