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.

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TCA Tour, Jan. 2009: “Jesse James is a Dead Man”

Here’s this tour’s first acknowledgment of my inherent un-hip-ness: I had no clue who Jesse James was until the panel for his new Spike series, “Jesse James is a Dead Man.” At first, I tried to convince myself that I was wrong, that maybe I still am hip and nobody else knows who he is, either, but when I heard that he’d also been added to the line-up of the sophomore season of “Celebrity Apprentice,” it became clear that I’m definitely uncool. And to think that my reputation could’ve been salvaged if only I’d watched “Monster Garage,” the Discovery Channel series which he hosted…

Just in case you, too, are oblivious to who Mr. James is, allow me offer up this photo:

What you can’t see from the photo, however, is just how much damage has been done to this man since beginning work on this series. According to Spike TV’s Kevin Kay, James will be facing a new challenge each week that could potentially kill him, which sounds like the kind of programming that makes insurance agents run screaming. “We’ve only shot half the season so far, (and) Jesse’s already broken two ribs, his elbow, and was literally on fire,” said Kay. “It makes you wonder what Jesse will
do for a season finale if in fact he makes it that far.”

“If there’s not some danger involved with something that I want to do, then it’s kind of not fun,” said James. “If it’s really easy and safe and seems like a great idea and sensible, then to me, that’s kind of boring. Life is only a one-lap race, so I want to do everything on that one lap just to see what it’s like.”

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