TCA Winter 2016 Tour: Quick Takes from the NBC Presentations

Twice a year various cable and networks attend the Television Critics Association’s Press Tour where they promote new and returning television shows through a series of daily panels and exclusive preview clips spanning over a two week period.  The tour presentations provide a way for television shows to get traction and attention of the hundreds of TV critics who then in turn will hopefully write about and promote those shows to their various audiences via online and print media outlets.

This Winter’s TCA tour included presentations from the NBC, who presented on the ninth day of the tour.  Here are some of the featured television shows and specials that caught our attention:


This Fall, NBC boasts having won all the key demos and that it is the only network running even with prior year in demos and overall viewers where every other network has seen drops in demos and ratings.  NBC also won every week in total viewers, except for one this last Fall,  which was when Fox aired five World Series games.   NBC claims to be the Number One rated network in ratings, even after excluding sports broadcasts. Chairman Bob Greenblatt asserted that NBC leads the current season by 17% in the 18-49 demo and boldly declared that “reports of death of broadcast television are very premature.”  I fact, when added in, digital consumption of NBC’s content increased ratings by 50% in 2015. Greenblatt gave props to BLINDSPOT, which was the biggest gainer in Live+7 ratings — adding over 5.5 million viewers per week, totaling 13 million viewers for the show — and for being consistently unpredictable.  (Nice feather to add to creator and executive producer Martin Gero’s cap!)  Greenblatt also claimed that NBC is also the Number One tweeted about broadcast network this past Fall.  Greenblatt said that  NBC recognizes that it needs to offer a balanced ecology and that means it has focus on adding more scripted shows — particularly with shows being order to series with less than the traditional 22 episodes, which means they need more TV shows and the addition of the Summer season of programming.  Finally, in addition to its strong dramas, NBC is very happy with the progress with their new comedy series as well and loves that they seem to be resonating with audiences.

The new comedy series YOU, ME AND THE APOCALYPSE premieres January 8th and will air an initial 13 episodes, but the show will not necessarily end after first season.  It all depends on how it performs as to whether it continues beyond one season.

Trend noted: there is an interesting resurrection of live theater performances are being done on TV right now, like SOUND OF MUSIC, PETER PAN, THE WHIZ, GREASE LIVE, UNDATEABLE and upcoming NBC live special for HAIRSPRAY.


NBC’s comedy series SUPERSTORE is about an eclectic group of people working in a large department store and their everyday comedic situations.  Noteworthy:  It filmed in an actual department store for the pilot episode, but then once it was ordered to series, they created a set to look like the store, as it was too problematic trying to film around actual shoppers in the store who mistook the cast for actual store employees.  SUPERSTORE stars America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, Lauren Ash, Nichole Bloom, Colton Dunn, Mark McKinney and Nico Santos.  (Observation:  The show has a ton of cringe-worthy and at times inappropriate for younger viewers humor, but their are beautiful moments of heart-warming cuteness in the midst.)  SUPERSTORE currently airs Monday nights on NBC.  (Note: It has shifted around timeslots, so check your local broadcast schedule to make sure you do not miss it.)

Side-note:  America Ferrera raved about her experience working on THE GOOD WIFE and her surprise having such good chemistry with Alan Cumming.  (ObservatioN:  I would LOVE to see America Ferrera reprise her role as Natalie on THE GOOD WIFE. The writers need to make that happen!)


NBC’s new drama SHADES OF BLUE is a cop drama where a precinct accused of corruption is rattled by revelation that there is a federal informant in their midst.  SHADES OF BLUE stars Jennifer Lopez (who also produces on the show), Ray Liotta, Drea de Matteo, Warren Cole, Santino Fontana, Sarah Jeffrey, Vincent Laresca, Dayo Okeniyi, and Hampton Fluker.   A fun moment during the Q&A panel was when Ray Liotta said that when the writing calls for it in the scripts, “If I’ve got to kiss a guy, I kiss a guy.”  To which co-star Jennifer Lopez impishly quipped, “Me too!”  That got pretty good laughs out of everyone.    (Note:  SHADES OF BLUE has an intense filming schedule as it typically films two episodes at once, apparently to accommodate Jennifer Lopez’s busy schedule, which includes working on AMERICAN IDOL and starting a Las Vegas residency in addition to producing and staring in SHADES OF BLUE.)  SHADES OF BLUE currently airs Thursday nights on NBC, after its premiere last week.


The new comedy series CROWDED is premised on the idea of two adult 20-something daughters who move back in with their parents in this modern era where “empty nests” are refilling back up with adult-children struggling to support themselves in these difficult financial times.  Coming from producers Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner (GRIMM, HOT IN CLEVELAND, SEAN SAVES THE WORLD), the comedy series stars Carrie Preston, Patrick Warburton, Stacey Keach, Carlease Burke, Miranda Cosgrove, and Mia Serafino.   Carrie Preston and Patrick Warburton portray the parents who are surprised when their two daughters move back just as they were beginning to enjoy their “empty nest.” (Observation:  Timely and funny, CROWDED is likely to resonate and strike a chord, as well as the funny bone, of viewers.  Recommend checking it out.)  The premiere date for CROWDED is still unannounced, but should air this Spring on NBC.


NBC’s new drama GAME OF SILENCE is about four teen boys who share dark secrets that haunt them and how, years later, those very secrets spark a trail of violence.  GAME OF SILENCE stars David Lyons, Michael Raymond-James, Demetrius Grosse, Bre Blair, Diedre Henry, Conor O’Farrell and Larenz Tate.  Executive producer David Hudgins explained that the show is about how the characters are trying to survive and get through their lives, which lends itself to juicy stories. For star David Lyons, he felt it is the relationship between the friends, the love and loyalty that gives them the ability to get past the darker parts of their shared childhood.  Co-star Bre Blair said that to deal with those secrets that each character has a different coping mechanism.  The show is about how these teens were robbed of their childhood, but at the foundation there is a lot of love and they bonded to become a family.   Executive producer Carol Mendelsohn said the foundation of the show is  how the friends you have when you are young will stay with you the rest of your life — no matter how much time has gone by in between and that friendship resonates for a lifetime — and that’s what audiences will connect to.  Then is is a question of how far David Lyon’s character will go to get justice for his friends.   (Observation: NBC’s GAME OF SILENCE is extremely well-cast and gripping, but it is also hauntingly terrifying. It is a dark series with brutal secrets.)  The premiere date for GAME OF SILENCE is still unannounced, but should air in the next few months on NBC.


NBC’s new comedy series TELENOVELA lovingly makes fun of all the classic novel storylines and characters while looking behind the scenes of a telenovela-style show.  It is very tongue-in-cheek humor and allows the viewing audience in on the joke.  TELENOVELA stars Eva Longoria, Jose Moreno Brooks, Jencarlos Canela, Izzy Diaz, Jadyn Douglas, Alex Meneses and Diana Maria Riva. When asked about the global popularity of the telenovela-format, star Jencarlos Canela said that it is largely due to the fact that it inspires people to achieve their dreams.  Hilariously, TELENOVELA shows the other side of the telenovela, where it is actors trying to make the make-believe world look so shiny and bright and attainable. (Observation:  The show-within-a-show is very smartly done and very funny, while allowing all its characters and actors to shine.)  TELENOVELA currently airs Monday nights on NBC.  (Note: It has shifted around timeslots, so check your local broadcast schedule to make sure you do not miss it.)


NBC’s new drama series HEARTBEAT is a medical drama, based on the life of real heart surgeon Dr. Kathy Magliator, looking at her professional and personal triumphs and trials.  HEARTBEAT stars Melissa George, Dave Annable, Shelley Conn, Maya Eskine, Don Hany, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Kennedy, Joshua Leonard and JLouis Mills.  Star Melissa describes the show as gut-wrenching and wonderful.  These are human stories about ferociously trying to save lives.  HEARTBEAT does not yet have a premiere date, but is expected to debut in the next few months on NBC.

That’s a wrap on the network and studio presentations from Day 9 of the Winter 2016 Television Critics Association Tour.  As a reminder: be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming new series and specials as you do not want to miss out on the next great TV show that everyone will be talking about!