TCA Tour, Jan. 2009: NBC newsflash

Angela Bromstad, President of Primetime Entertainment, and Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President of Alternative Programming, just popped up on stage to offer the following tidbits of information, some of which were announced awhile ago but which we haven’t yet covered on Premium Hollywood:

* “Southland,” the new drama from John Wells (which was formerly known as “Police”), will premiere on April 9th, Thursday at 10 PM.

From Emmy Award winners John Wells, Ann Biderman and Chris Chulack comes a raw and authentic look at the police unit in Los Angeles. From the beaches of Malibu to the streets of East Los Angeles, “Southland” is a fast-moving drama that will take viewers inside the lives of cops, criminals, victims and their families. Michael Cudlitz plays John Cooper a seasoned Los Angeles cop assigned to train young rookie Ben Sherman. Cooper’s honest, no-nonsense approach to the job leaves Sherman questioning whether or not he has what it takes to become a police officer. Cudlitz and McKenzie are joined by other cast members including Regina King who plays Detective Lydia Adams. Adams lives with and is the primary caregiver of her mother. Her partner, Detective Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott) is an unhappily married father of three. Michael McGrady plays Detective Daniel “Sal” Salinger. Sal oversees fellow gang detectives Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro) and Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy). Arija Bareikis plays as patrol officer Chickie Brown, a single mom who dreams of being the first woman accepted into SWAT.

* They have ordered 3 more episodes of “ER,” bringing the season total to 23. The series finale will now air on April 2nd, with a one-hour retrospective preceding the two-hour finale. Why the additional episodes? “Why not?” asked Bromstad. She then clarified, however, that it allows John Wells time to get “Southland” ready.

* They have officially signed on for additional seasons of “The Office” and “The Rock”

* NBC has signed Don Cheadle and his company, Crescendo Productions, to a two-year, first-look television development deal.

* Due to its success up against “American Idol,” they will indeed be picking up another season of “Biggest Loser” for next season.

* The new season of “The Celebrity Apprentice” premieres March 2nd. The contestants this time around: Clint Black, Andrew Dice Clay, Annie Duke, Tom Green, Natalie Gulbis, Scott Hamilton, Jesse James, Claudia Jordan, Khloe Kardashian, Brian McKnight, Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Brande Roderick, Dennis Rodman, Herschel Walker and Tionne Watkins.

* There will be a new cooking series, “The Chopping Block,” starring Marco Pierre White.

* “Kings” will be premiering Sunday, March 15, at 8 PM, which will be its regular timeslot. This is a surprise, given that it was originally slotted into the Thursday at 10 PM timeslot which has just been given to “Southland.” “When I came in, we talked about launching another drama this spring, and the John Wells pilot had just been turned in,” said Bromstad. “We feel so strongly about both of these shows that, as opposed to waiting for fall, we wanted to premiere both shows this spring.”

* Despite rumors to the contrary, “Lipstick Jungle” has not been canceled. There are alternatives they may look into for the show, but they will most likely not be doing anything with it until the fall.

* Despite Jay Leno taking over the 10 PM time slot five nights a week, NBC will not be cutting back on their development slate. They’ll be shooting the same amount of pilots as the previous year – six dramas and four comedies – and will continue developing scripts. So, wait, we are going to get pilots from NBC now? “We may go straight to series,” said Bromstad, “but we’re going to try to take it on a case by case basis and see what the show calls for.

* Hey, where are Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff? Oh, around. “They’ll be here for your questions, they’re here all day,” Bromstad assured us. Any chance of them joining you guys on stage? “We’re here to talk about TV shows,” sniffed Telegdy.

* Announced via press release: Chevy Chase will guest-star on “Chuck” as an iconic computer genius who may be more than he appears, in a multi-episode arc scheduled for broadcast this spring. Let’s hope it helps the ratings, since the fate of a third season for “Chuck” is not 100% secure.

* “Heroes,” however, is reportedly “very secure.” “We have a great relationship with Tim Kring,” said Bromstad, but “we want to make sure that it’s on track.” But it’s not yet renewed for another season, even though “The Office,” “30 Rock,” and “The Biggest Loser” have been…? Apparently, we’re not supposed to take anything from that. “There’s no indication that ‘Heroes’ will not be picked up,” she assured us.

  

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