NBC Execs Talk Revolution Hiatus, Plan for 'Unique' Hannibal, The Voice Concerns and More

Revolution - Season 1NBC executives held court Sunday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena, where they fielded questions about Revolution‘s huge hiatus, perhaps cuing up too much of The Voice, Hannibal‘s possibly too-dark subject matter and other hot topics.

But first, network chair Robert Greenblatt thoroughly touted his winning fall, buoyed in large part by Sunday Night Football, The Voice and both TV’s No. 1 new drama (Revolution) and comedy (Go On).

“The strategy [of airing The Voice in fall] worked — and I think it worked better than any of us thought it would,” Greenblatt said. Among the supporting data: NBC is up 24 percent season-to-date in the 18-49 demo versus 2011-12 and up 19 percent in total viewers (and is the only broadcast network to rise in either measure); this fall, NBC won or tied for No. 1 in 12 of 14 weeks, including an 11-week winning streak; and the Peacock is the only major whose median age is getting younger (now 48.4). (Even The CW is rising, now at 41.2, he crowed.)

All told, The Voice has boosted Mondays 176 percent (and Tuesdays 44 percent), while Revolution is besting Castle and Hawaii Five-0 in every demo. Go On lead-out The New Normal is regularly beating its sitcom competition, Parenthood has bested Vegas five out of their last six face-offs, Chicago Fire is the only new drama to improve on its premiere numbers (and multiples times at that), and Grimm, when it’s on, is Friday’s top-rated show.

That said, Greenblatt acknowledged that there is work to do on Thursdays, where its sitcom line-up does well with certain young demos but otherwise fails to make a dent.

Then, fielding questions, these topics were covered:

REVOLUTION‘S HIATUS | Asked to defend what was positioned as a “uniformly terrible” decision to bench a popular new genre show for several months, Greenblatt retorted, “Is it uniformly terrible, or uniformly terrible for terrible shows? The safer play for us,” he argued, “was not to do what I think is equally bad, to put on one episode, then three repeats, then one on, one off…. If you market properly and have the goods, and you can run them all in a row… that’s the better long-term play.”

WILL THE VOICE ECHO HURT? | Speaking to the decision to air The Voice twice a year — and the The Voicepossibility of viewer fatigue — Greenblatt said, “We haven’t really written that [pattern] in stone. If we feel for some reason we’re hurting the franchise, we could very well adjust that.” Plus, he noted that rotating in new coaches Shakira and Usher for Season 4 will provide a “very distinctive flavor.”

THE UP ALL NIGHT REVAMP | NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke admitted that pulling the sophomore comedy off the air for a long stretch to reconfigure it as a traditional three-camera sitcom is “a bit of an experiment… but it’s one we’re taking.” Series leads Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph — the likes of which Salke said “are not growing on trees” — “were itching to really perform in a way [and] we all felt a live audience would be the best solution to that.”

WHEN WILL HANNIBAL AIR? (AND IS IT TOO VIOLENT?) | Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal, as well as Save Me (starring Anne Heche), “might” debut by the end of the season. If not, Greenblatt said Hannibal “could fit really nicely” into the summer season. Salke described Fuller’s take on the early days of Hannibal Lecter and the FBI agent, Will Graham, who dogged him as “really well-crafted” and “unique,” while Greenblatt rebuffed the suggestion that now, post-Sandy Hook, is not the time for a show about a serial killer. For one, having once lorded over Showtime, he argued that “Criminal Minds is worse than Dexter ever was.” Plus, on Hannibal, “There is a lot of violence around the show, but you don’t see lots of acts of violence.” Salke added, “It’s not a shoot-’em-up kind of show. It’s not gratuitous in a way you might be thinking.”

COMPETITION FROM KIMMEL, LENO’S SUCCESOR | Greenblatt said, “We anticipate some kind of impact” from ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live moving up a half-hour sooner to compete head-to-head with The Tonight Show, but noted that in the half hour the shows have always overlapped, “Jay virtually always beats Jimmy.” (“The bigger concern I’d have is the loss of Nightline,” he commented. “I’m not sure [those viewers] will go to Jimmy.) As for buzz that Jimmy Fallon might take over for Leno sooner rather than later, Greenblatt noted that Leno’s contract has just been extended, so “those conversations are a little bit premature.”

ON DECK: DRACULA, PIRATES AND ALEX P. KEATON | Dracula (starring Jonathan Rhys Myers) will be ready for a fall launch; Crossbones, a pirate drama, is heading into preproduction; and Michael J. Fox’s new comedy, which like Dracula and Hannibal was ordered straight to series, will have its first table read soon. In the more immediate future, NBC has ordered for this summer 13 episodes of Camp, a dramedy series in the tradition of Meatballs and Dazed & Confused.


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  1. Joe says:

    Why do the TV gods hate Bryan Fuller? A SUMMER series? Ugh.

    • Alan says:

      never mind that, now we have people saying its too violent in a “post-sandy hook world” which is ridiculous since violence like that existed before sandy hook and will continue no matter if this show airs or not. thats just stupid

  2. Ann says:

    ABC’s decision to move Kimmel a half hour earlier and bump Nightline is a terrible one that will come back to haunt them. They’re basically killing Nightline, because those viewers won’t wait to watch it. And there is no way Kimmel will be able to compete against Leno ANDLetterman.

  3. Tiffany says:

    *Season 4 of the Voice (small correction)
    Any other info on yet on Crossbones? Pirates are bigger at my house than Vampires (falling only second to Ninjas, apparently) so this one will be on my radar as we learn more about it.
    Proof that NBC needs to work on their Thursday line up? I had to think of what shows they actually have on the air right now.

  4. CJ says:

    They don’t have enough guts to even admit that they are taking a HUGE risk with the Revolution hiatus. They can market it all they want and put as positive spin on it all they want, but at the end of they day, the same audience (as shown in previous attempts) will not come back in the same manner. I watched every episode and I honestly can’t even remember much of why I watched it in the first place. I am not even remotely sitting at the end of my seat saying “gosh I can’t wait for Revolution to come back”. It’s more like…”oh yeah that show that I’ve now replaced with others a few times over.”

    • uh huh says:

      Exactly. I watched every episode, too, but I’m not committed enough to bother when it comes back. Didn’t like it that much. I was watching it DESPITE the silliness of the premise. Hello? Internal combustion engines would still work! And in all those 15 years, no one built a freakin’ WINDMILL? That was the FIRST thing they did on the earlier (and far superior) power-goes-out show, JERICHO. It’s a stupid show that I was watching because it was something different, but a couple months later? I think I’ll read a book.

      • selkirks says:

        I think the idea is that there’s some sort of systemic issue that causes any and all power generation, of any kind, to fail.

  5. Where is the Community advertising NBC promised? I have not seen anything and we are about a month away. I believe all other shows get at least a month or even more to sell themselves.

  6. Pearl says:

    “… Plus, he noted that rotating in new coaches Shakira and Usher for Season 3 will provide a…” It’s actually season 4

  7. Jared says:

    Not sure why NBC is spending money on revamping Up All Night. To my knowledge the ratings suck and making it multi cam will do absolutely nothing to bring in more viewers. I am a huge fan of Christina Applegate..Will Arnet and Maya Rudolph but ill wait til NBC cancels this show in May to watch something else those three may appear on in the future.

    And although I don’t watch Community..it seems that NBC could careless about how it does when it finally returns to the schedule. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s cancelled either..but if NBC were smart they’d milk out another 1-2 seasons for syndication purposes.

  8. scorpionglow says:

    Looking forward to seeing JRM back on TV.

  9. John says:

    Looking forward to Revolution! That finale was one of the best episodes of television you’ll ever see in your life! A real treat!

    • Dee says:

      Really? I’ve only caught a few episodes of the Revolution but with this kind of enthusiasm, I guess I’ll back track to get caught up. PS: I just realized Billy Burke is the dad from all of those Twilight movies. He’s such a bad @$$ from the few episodes I’ve seen! Love it!

  10. tina says:

    Can someone tell me where exactly to comment about the msnbc evening lineup? Thank you.