When people call the network upfronts one long song and dance, they're not kidding. Especially if the network is NBC — which opened the week of splashy fall-schedule presentations at Radio City Music Hall, with a spoof video imagining many of NBC's returning shows transformed into musicals: Grimm, Parenthood, SVU (with an animate corpse as Mariska Hargitay sings), Parks and Recreation's Leslie Knope singing "Popular" from Wicked, and most memorably, Meet the Press' David Gregory doing a bump and grind with showgirls.
This was followed by an actual show-stopper: Smash stars Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee teaming on the signature song "Let Me Be Your Star," capped by the Voice judges turning their chairs around, with NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt sitting in Blake Shelton's fourth chair. All a not-so-subtle reminder of the importance of The Voice to the network's fortunes — for the first time, the singing competition will be part of the fall lineup, occupying three hours between Monday and Tuesday — and the symbolic importance of Smash as Greenblatt's highest-profile passion project to date. (The show, rewarded an early renewal, won't return until next midseason, so it can air straight through without interruptions.) For all of its ups and downs and creative growing pains, Smash has bragging rights as one of NBC's few modest successes this season, as the struggling network continues to rebuild.
Though Greenblatt promises he won't go so far as to musicalize his entire schedule — see the new lineup here — he certainly hasn't been shy about playing musical chairs. Which some might liken to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic — because there's no discernible logic to renewing marginal comedies like the reviled Whitney and the acclaimed cult item Community, then pairing them on Friday. The latter move is an acknowledgment that most Community fans time-shift it anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter when it airs. (I'd argue it still deserves a Thursday slot more than the buzz-free Up All Night.)
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