May 2010 10

NBC was once the prime time giant, a decade ago they dominated the prime time landscape. They made Thursday night the biggest prime time event every week with shows like Frasier, Friends, and ER. It seemed that the network was unstoppable, but now a decade has passed and NBC sits in last place. NBC has experienced a series of large missteps over the past few years (culminating with the Jay Leno vs. Conan O’ Brien Tonight Show feud). They have now released three of the pilots that will be making their way to air next fall. None of the concepts seem highly original to me, but I won’t make a final judgment until I watch them. I look forward to NBC’s full release schedule. (Hopefully, with Chuck still in there.)

NBC has given series pickups for its 2010-11 season to the dramatic thriller “The Event,” the comedy “Outsourced” and the romantic anthology series “Love Bites.”

The announcement was made today by Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios.

“Each of these three series reflects a unique point of view and distinct style of quality that fits perfectly with NBC’s dedication to rebuilding the schedule,” said Bromstad. “These series showcase excellent writing and casting, and represent the kind of scripted programming our network and studio are committed to producing.”

“The Event” is an emotional high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an Everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée, Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including: newly elected U.S. President Martinez (Blair Underwood, “Dirty Sexy Money”); Sophia (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, “ER”), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Sean’s shadowy father-in-law (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind.

Ian Anthony Dale (“Daybreak”) and Emmy winner Željko Ivanek (“Damages”) also star in the ensemble drama.

“The Event” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Steve Stark Productions. Stark (“Medium,” “Facing Kate”) serves as executive producer, Nick Wauters (“The 4400,” “Eureka”) is creator/co-executive producer and Jeffrey Reiner (“Friday Night Lights,” “Trauma”) is the director/executive producer.

“Outsourced” is a comedy where the Midwest meets the exotic East in a hilarious culture clash. The series centers on the all-American company Mid America Novelties that sells whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon — and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India. Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway’s “The Gingerbread House”) is the new company’s manager who learns that he’s being transferred to India to run the operation.

Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world. But as strange as America seems to his eclectic sales team, Todd soon realizes that figuring out India will be more than a full-time job. Rizwan Manji (“Privileged”), Sacha Dhawan (BBC’s “Five Days II”), Rebecca Hazlewood (BBC’s “Doctors”), Parvesh Cheena (“Help Me Help You”), and Anisha Nagarajan (Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”) also star as members of Dempsy’s off-shore team; Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”) and Jessica Gower (Network Ten’s “The Secret Life of Us”) additionally star.

“Outsourced” is produced by Universal Media Studios. Robert Borden (“The Drew Carey Show” and “George Lopez”) is executive producer/writer. Ken Kwapis (“The Office”) developed the project through his company, In Cahoots, and serves as executive producer/director. Alex Beattie serves as co-executive producer.

From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Cindy Chupack (“Sex and the City”), “Love Bites” is an hour-long romantic comedy anthology series featuring three loosely connected, modern stories of love, sex, marriage and dating. Each episode contains multiple vignettes, all illuminating the theme of love with an edgy, irreverent spin.

Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”) stars as Annie and Jordana Spiro (“My Boys”) stars as Frannie, the last two single girls standing after all of their friends get married. Annie is an infectiously bubbly optimist and Frannie is an always-a-bridesmaid realist. Their story will anchor the series, while other romantically-challenged characters will come and go each week.

The pilot’s guest cast includes Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Ghost Whisperer”), Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”), Craig Robinson (“The Office”), Jason Lewis (“Sex and the City”), Lindsay Price (“Lipstick Jungle”), Larry Wilmore (“The Daily Show”), Charlyne Yi (“Knocked Up”), Pamela Adlon (“Californication”), Stacy Galina (“Hidden Hills”), Brian Hallisay (“Privileged”), Kyle Howard (“My Boys”) and Steve Howey (“Bride Wars”).

“Love Bites” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Working Title Television, which is a new division of Working Title Films (the U.K. production company behind box office hits including “Love Actually,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral”). Chupack is creator, executive producer and writer. Emmy Award-winning producer-director Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) also is executive producer and directs the pilot. Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan and Shelley McCrory from Working Title Television are executive producers. “Love Bites” is Working Title Television’s first U.S. commission.


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