UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif.--NBC has thrown so many monkey wrenches into television in the last few years critics have lost count. So the room was a tad testy as rookie programming executives Angela Bromstad (right) and Paul Telegdy sat up front today and took questions.
Bromstad and Telegdy were taking the heat for NBC execs further up the food chain. Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff have been steering this network from fourth to fourth place for about a year. Universal/NBC superboss/dark lord Jeff Zucker has been behind the scenes as the ultimate game changer, proclaiming that pilots are a thing of the past, scripted dramas at 8 are out, Jay Leno at 10 every night is in and just generally that the paradigm of this crazy business is constantly in play.
So Bromstad and Telegdy tried to bob and weave around questions their superiors should have been fielding. There was a lot of "Ben and Marc are around if you want to ask them" from the new kids, but so far that game of Where`s Waldo has led to no Ben and Marc sightings.
Spoke with Telegdy after the session about Deal Or No Deal, Howie Mandel's recent heart scare and any impact on the production of his NBC game show. Telegdy says he spoke with Howie yesterday, spoke with him again this morning and everything is fine. "Despite our best efforts to force him to take a day or two off," said Telegdy, "he is chomping at the bit to get back to work."
The NBC execs did have a few programming announcements: Three more episodes of ER have been ordered. The new finale date is April 2 with the entire evening turned over the the hospital drama (including a one hour retrospective at 8 followed by a two hour finale). NBC has picked up the new John Wells police drama Southland, it begins April 9. Amy Poehler's new project, entitled "Untitled Mocumentary About a Local Public Works Project" in the pilot script handed out to critics (penned by Greg Daniels), rolls April 9.
Speaking of Daniels, The Office has received a full season order, as has 30 Rock. NBC also announced a Don Cheadle production deal, a pick up for another season of The Biggest Loser, a new cooking reality show called The Chopping Block (starting March 11) and a start date for The Celebrity Apprentice: March 1. Just in time for Donald Trump to bellow, `You`re fired!`at Bromstad and Telegdy.