The network upfront presentations are upon us, and one of the first big pieces of news to be announced concerns NBC’s late night shakeup. The network previously revealed that Jimmy Fallon will be taking over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno next year, and rumors have been swirling for months that Saturday Night Live veteran and current head writer Seth Meyers might land the Late Night gig once Fallon exits. Well NBC confirmed today that Meyers will indeed be taking over as the host of NBC’s Late Night when Fallon leaves the show next year, vacating his position at SNL.
Lorne Michaels, who produces both SNL and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, will stay on as executive producer of Late Night under Meyers’ tutelage, and Michael Shoemaker will remain the show’s producer. This leaves the head writer slot at SNL open, and many have already been suggesting comedian/SNL writer John Mulaney for the job. Also vacant at SNL will be the Weekend Update desk, so start those betting pools now. Hit the jump to read NBC’s press release on the matter. Late Night with Seth Meyers will premiere sometime in 2014.
While the fate of low-rated NBC sitcom Community seemed all but certain just a few weeks ago, it appears that the network is having a change of heart. Fresh off an uptick in ratings for last night’s season four finale, the folks over at Vulture report that NBC is very close to renewing Community for a fifth season. It’s unknown how many episodes the show would return for, but a shortened order seems likely. That being said, the series only needs 16 more episodes to get to 100, which is the golden number for a lucrative syndication deal.
On the flipside, the network has decided to cancel the Matthew Perry comedy Go On. The show premiered last fall to solid ratings and was one of the best performing new shows of the season, but when its lead-in The Voice took a midseason break, Go On’s numbers plummeted. The show was actually pretty solid and boasted a really funny ensemble cast, but rumors have been swirling lately about a comedy overhaul at NBC so it sounds like Community and Parks and Recreation might be the only ones to make it out alive. For more on NBC’s renewals and pilot pickups, click here.
There is great reason to rejoice, folks. Hot on the heels of NBC ordering four comedy pilots and two drama pilots to series, the network has renewed the most excellent comedy series Parks and Recreation for a sixth season. Nick Offerman himself confirmed the news on Twitter in true Ron Swanson fashion. While rumors have swirled that NBC is planning an overhaul of its comedy lineup in addition to losing 30 Rock and The Office, Parks and Rec is consistently a top ratings performer on the network and is something of a critical darling. The show has only improved since its debut in 2009, and I personally consider it one of the best things on television period. Less certain are the fates of shows like Community, Go On, and The New Normal, but we’ll hear firm word soon as NBC is slated to unveil its full 2013/2014 lineup on Sunday.
[Update: In addition to Parks and Rec's renewal, NBC has cancelled Whitney and freshman comedy 1600 Penn.]
[Update #2: And now NBC has announced that Up All Night and Guys with Kids are also cancelled.]
The networks are gearing up to announce their fall schedules next week at the upfronts, but this week we’re starting to learn which pilots have been picked up to series. We saw Fox’s orders last night, and here’s a look at some of the series moving ahead at NBC:
- Believe – Kyle MacLachlan, Johnny Sequoyah, and Delroy Lindo star in this supernatural drama series that follows the unlikely friendship between a gifted young girl and a man recently released from prison. Alfonso Cuaron, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Mark Friedman will executive produce, and Cuaron directed the pilot.
- Crisis – Gillian Anderson, Dermot Mulroney, and Rachel Taylor star in this drama series about Washington’s government being pulled into an international conspiracy. Rand Ravich and Far Shariat (Life) will executive produce. Phillip Noyce directed the pilot.
- About a Boy – David Walton, Minnie Driver, and Al Madrigal star in this comedy series adaptation of the Nick Hornby book and subsequent 2002 film. Jason Katims (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) will executive produce, and Jon Favreau directed the pilot.
- Sean Saves the World – Sean Hayes, Linda Lavin, and Thomas Lennon star in this multi-camera sitcom about a man trying to parent his teenage daughter and appease his boss. Victor Fresco (Better Off Ted) and Todd Milliner (Hot in Cleveland) will executive produce.
Hit the jump for news regarding the other two comedy pilots order to series, as well as full synopses for all six shows.
Another great episode of the ever-stylish Hannibal, though with a very sudden ending. To be continued? There were also several shadows of Silence of the Lambs that appeared as well: the focus on an agent-in-training, Miriam (played by Veep‘s Anna Chlumsky), as well as the advent of the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane’s (which everyone, including Will, always likes to say in full) Dr. Chilton, and the idea of classical conditioning. The “Chesapeake Ripper” is also referred to as a “pure” psychopath (or sociopath), “which is so rare to find in captivity,” Chilton comments smugly. But Will has doubts that the incarcerated Dr. Gideon (Eddie Izzard) is the true killer. “I can see him, but I can’t feel him,” Will says after his time at the (gruesome) crime scene. Hit the jump for why “there’s no accounting for taste … or intelligence.”
NBC has renewed five drama series for next season, all for 22 episodes each. Here’s a brief rundown:
- Revolution – The genre-oriented drama from executive producers Eric Kripke, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk has been one of the most successful new series on network TV this season, so a renewal seemed likely.
- Grimm – This one flies under the radar, but Grimm is actually one of the most consistent performers on NBC. The supernatural series will return for a third season this fall.
- Parenthood – One of the best-reviewed dramas on television has been a bubble show essentially since its series premiere, but Jason Katims’ ensemble family drama showed much improvement ratings-wise this year. The series will return for a fifth season this fall.
- Chicago Fire – The procedural from Law & Order head honcho Dick Wolf got off to a rough start, but quickly became one of the better-performing dramas on the network. The series will return for a second season this fall.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – The long-running spinoff series has been renewed for a 15th season despite disappointing ratings.
Hit the jump for more, including the status of NBC comedies like Parks and Recreation and Community.
Last week it was announced that NBC would be pulling its new crime drama Hannibal‘s upcoming fourth episode “œuf” in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy. The episode’s Case of the Week was about children killing other children — something that had series creator Bryan Fuller asking to have it pulled completely while the series was still in production, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. The hesitation about the episode was already clear, as it didn’t appear in press packs for the series (the episode order of the press screeners went 1, 2, 3, 5, 6).
While the idea to cut the episode has been universally supported, Fuller wanted to make sure that fans were able to keep up with the character building in the episode that was separate from the crime, especially after last week’s surprising ending. So NBC “cannibalized” the episode into webisodes for viewers, and put them online. Hit the jump for the clips.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve so emphatically recommended a network drama. Hannibal, a mere three episodes in, is already heads and shoulders above, say, The Following, not just because of its writing and acting, but its style. Few people can put a visual stamp on things like Bryan Fuller, and while Hannibal and Will inhabit their own distinct spaces and looks, it’s the loathsome Freddie Lounds who really embodies that slightly cartoony / candy-colored world that Fuller built in Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies. In Hannibal it’s more muted, but the time-lapsed establishing shots and vivid staging (the chat in the hospital’s greenhouse, or in the bright fall leaves behind the Hobbs’ house) still keep things from looking like a rote procedural. So does the advent of Abigail Hobbs. Hit the jump for why you should never threaten someone who thinks about murder all day (like kittens).
A fellow TV critic said of Hannibal, “NBC doesn’t know what it has with this show.” He’s absolutely right. Though it has some of the trappings of a procedural (a case of the week, a familiar make up of quirky forensic detectives, a kind of “you can’t handle the truth!” refrain), Hannibal is elevated by three things. It’s incredibly stylish (but not cartoonishly so, as CSI: Miami could be), it has two great leads (Mads Mikkelson and Hugh Dancy), and it has a built-in anticipation with the development of Hannibal’s character, because we know where he and Will end up, something that adds a lot of tension to the onscreen proceedings, even when they’re not overt (like that little dinner Hannibal served Jack). NBC, don’t mess this up. Hit the jump for more on why you should always inquire about where the loin came from.
It appears that the late night drama at NBC is far from over. While the network recently announced that Jimmy Fallon would be replacing Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show in early 2014, with Seth Meyers in talks to step in as the new host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the network is now eyeing a changeup at its other late night show: Last Call with Carson Daly. You’d be forgiven for forgetting that Last Call still exists, but the very late night half-hour show has been running for a total of 12 seasons with former MTV host Carson Daly at the helm. Now it appears that Daly might be out, with 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin in discussions to take over as host of his own late night talk show. Hit the jump for more.
Hannibal, featuring the latest and possibly one of the better incarnations of the infamous cannibalistic serial killer, is also the latest in some very gruesome TV. But at the hands of Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies), who wrote the first episode and David Slade (Awake) who directed it, it becomes haunting and dreamlike, and not the schlocky bloodbath of, say, Fox’s The Following. In its first episode, Hannibal sets up all of the major familiar players of the Hannibal Lecter series, but like A&E’s Bates Motel, even though we know where things will end up, the journey getting there seems worth following. Hit the jump for more on the series’ inaugural episode, as well as a really tasty recipe for cooked lung. If you missed the pilot, watch it online right here.
The new drama series Hannibal premiered last night on NBC, but in case you missed the debut of one of the most promising new dramas from the network in God-knows-when, the entire episode has now been made available online. From Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller, the show is an adaptation of the Thomas Harris series of novels featuring the Hannibal Lecter character, as we follow the early relationship between the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler named Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.
The pilot—which is brilliantly directed by 30 Days of Night helmer David Slade—is excellent, and I was incredibly pleased to see a series that’s confident enough to use silence and mood to create an atmosphere rather than flashy editing and fast-moving cameras to “keep your attention.” The performances by Dancy, Mikkelsen, and Laurence Fishbourne are fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out. Hit the jump to watch the pilot, click here to read our review of the show’s first two episodes, and click here for Allison’s pilot recap.
Jay Leno’s return to The Tonight Show will prove to be short-lived. A report surfaced late last month that NBC was looking to tap Jimmy Fallon as the new host of The Tonight Show in 2014, forcing Leno out of the seat just five years after he returned under rather unfortunate circumstances that saw Conan O’Brien shoved out of his dream job. Now NBC has confirmed that Fallon will indeed begin his tenure as the new host of The Tonight Show in Spring 2014, with production of the series moving from Los Angeles to 30 Rock in New York City. Moreover, Fallon’s Late Night producer and SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels is signing on to executive produce the New York-set Tonight Show.
As for who will take the reins of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, reports indicate that SNL veteran and current head writer Seth Meyers is in negotiations to take over the gig from Fallon. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
From Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) and based on the characters from Thomas Harris’ classic novels, the NBC drama series Hannibal tells the story of Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), a gifted criminal profiler who is on the hunt for a serial killer with the FBI. With the help of Dr. Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) and premier psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), Will attempts to use his ability to empathize with psychopaths to get inside the mind of the twisted killer that he’s pursuing. For more on the show, here’s our review of the first two episodes.
During this recent interview to promote the premiere of the series, actor Hugh Dancy talked about what ultimately led him to want to be a part of Hannibal, the biggest challenges in making the character his own, what’s most grossed him out on set, being part of a prequel about such an iconic character, and the popularity of violent shows on television. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
After an extended hiatus, the NBC drama series Revolution is back with more action, heightened emotion and even higher stakes. At its heart, the story is about a family struggling to stay together in an American landscape where every single piece of technology – computers, planes, cars, phones and even lights – has mysteriously blacked out forever, or so they thought. Having harnessed the power of the pendant, militia leader Monroe (David Lyons) sets out to obliterate the Rebels, and if they don’t do something fast, they won’t stand a chance. From executive producers Eric Kripke, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and Jon Favreau, the show also stars Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito, Elizabeth Mitchell, Zak Orth, JD Pardo, Daniella Alonso and Tim Guinee.
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, actor Giancarlo Esposito talked about wanting to make sure that Tom Neville is nothing like his Breaking Bad character, Gus Fring, how exciting it is to be a part of one of the biggest hits of this last season, how worried he was about viewers returning after such a long hiatus, just how pissed off Neville will be now, the inevitable clash that’s coming between Neville and his son (Pardo), and that he hopes the show will get people to think about who they are and where they’re going. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.