Tina Fey, Rob Lowe
As if convening a 12-step meeting, NBC executives began their presentation at the Television Critics Association fall TV previews by reciting some of the basic truths of their network's current situation.
"We recognize some of the mistakes we've made over the last few years. We put more money in development and we believe in our projects," Jeff Gaspin, the chairman of NBC Entertainment, said Friday.
Among the session's news tidbits:
-Rob Lowe has been promoted to series regular on Parks and Recreation, which is still on track to return at midseason.
-NBC Entertainment president Angela Bromstad reported that Greg Daniels and Paul Lieberstein, executive producers of The Office, have an idea about how to replace Michael Scott after Steve Carell leaves the show at the end of the season. "There are story lines in place, and there's going to be a little mystery leading up to that," Bromstad hinted. She reaffirmed the strength of the ensemble cast, pooh-poohing suggestions that the show should end when Carell departs. "I couldn't go home and face my 14-year-old son if The Office went off the air," she said.
-Allen Coulter (The Sopranos), who directed the pilot of Nurse Jackie, has taken the reins of the first episode of Law & Order: Los Angeles, which now stars Terrence Howard, Alfred Molina, Skeet Ulrich and Corey Stoll.
-The network has renewed its development deal with Film 44 (aka Peter Berg's production company), which will oversee the remake of the BBC drama Prime Suspect.
-Taking a cue from Tina Fey's comedy roots, 30 Rock will stage a live episode on Oct. 14.
-Bromstad says she understands the skepticism surrounding The Event in the wake of FlashForward's cancellation, but also expressed confidence in the show's pilot script — and its planned direction. "[The pilot script] was so compelling. Even though it was very complex, it was also very clear," she said.
-She said she likes Outsourced, a sitcom that takes place in an Indian call center for an American novelties company. Her only note on the pilot: "I think it needs to look a little less like an office in the Valley and more like it's Mumbai."
-Gaspin says that the ratings decrease of Jay Leno's Tonight Show is exaggerated, citing numbers that show that Leno and David Letterman's Late Show are basically tied. Further, he said, Leno's quarterly ratings are currently up 22 percent. "It's too early to make any proclamations about anything, and I'm not worried," he said.