NBC has joined the train of pilot pickups while also announcing that it will preview its fall schedule to reporters on Sunday before its shown to advertisers on Monday. Today they announced four pickups - dramas Smash and Prime Suspect and comedies Whitney and Up All Night. More are sure to follow in the coming days.
Smash has been a hot pilot during this spring and it's not surprising that it was one of the first pickups by NBC. With Steven Spielberg involved and a strong cast including Debra Messing, Katharine McPhee, and Anjelica Huston - Smash is the first Glee-type show to make it on the air following Glee's enormous success. This show is about a cast of characters putting on a musical on Broadway. It sounds like it may have limited appeal but could be critically acclaimed depending on its quality.
Also picked up was Prime Suspect which is a remake of the classic British series of the same name. Starring Maria Bello, this pilot has also been getting lots of buzz in recent weeks and has a name brand that NBC will need. NBC will likely give this show a big promotional push and it could potentially be paired with the veteran Law & Order: SVU (but that's just speculation on my part).
The multicamera comedy Whitney was also picked up after being another hot pilot. Starring comedian Whitney Cummings, the relationship comedy may be part of a new multicamera, female-skewing block on NBC. NBC did not have a single multicam sitcom on the air this year but their current sitcoms are niche shows and NBC may be looking to air sitcoms with broader appeal.
NBC also picked up the single camera comedy Up All Night (formerly known as the Untitled Emily Spivey project). With an all-star cast including Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maya Rudolph, many considered the sitcom a shoo-in for pickup. Though it is a single camera sitcom, the show has a family sitcom plot so it also may not fit on the Thursday block. It will be very interesting to see what NBC does with its comedies next year as they also have The Office, Community, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock returning with a few more hot pilots like the Chelsea Handler vehicle still likely to get a pick up.
NBC is certainly not done with pickups but they are reportedly done for the night. Still, we may hear about renewals or cancellations before the night is over so check back. There's news every day during upfront season!