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TCA Summer Press Tour 2010 - NBC - The Peacock shuffles its feathers

Posted by Sarah Rodman  July 31, 2010 07:29 PM

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nbc-logo.jpgThe perennial fourth place finisher has a lot of new shows coming this fall and several had heat at this year's tour. NBC Universal entertainment heads Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad spread the word.

Executive session overview:

-Gaspin reported that since "America's Got Talent" is doing so well, the network has decided to move up the premieres of "Parenthood," "Outlaw," and "The Apprentice" to take advantage of that success. The second season of "Parenthood" will now bow on Sept. 14, the Jimmy Smits law drama "Outlaw" on Sept. 15, and "The Apprentice" on Sept. 16. All the shows will then slide into their regular timeslots the following week.

-There was a lot of talk of this being a rebuilding year for the network with both Gaspin and Bromstad acknowledging past problems and mistakes and voicing optimism for the fall slate. "Just like we feel great about 'Community' and 'Parenthood' returning from last season, we hope that we have a crop from this season that will carry on as well," said Bromstad.

-Rob Lowe is becoming a series regular on "Parks and Recreation"

-Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard ("Hustle and Flow") and Corey Stoll (recently seen in "Salt") are joining the cast of "Law & Order: Los Angeles" as DA and detective respectively. (Creator Dick Wolf is calling the latest flavor "LOLA.")

-"30 Rock" will perform a live episode on Oct. 14.

Panel nuggets:

-Josh Reims, co-creator with J.J. Abrams of the new husband-and-wife spy drama "Undercovers," was asked a lot about Abrams previous spy series "Alias." He did everything but pinky swear that the new show would not be so confusing. "When [J.J. and I] sat down, the first thing we talked about, obviously, was neither one of us wanted to do 'Alias,' for different reasons. Obviously, he’d already done it. And second of all, I felt it was, you know, one of the most confusing shows ever and I could not understand anything that was being said."

Quotes of the Day:

"I'm going to say yes. But no." - Blair Underwood when asked if he had any Cuban blood in him since he's playing a Cuban-American president on "The Event."

"As the new person at the table, one of the hardest things is I have not watched all 20 years’
worth of 'Law & Order,' so I’ll come into [executive producer] Rene [Balcer]’s office and pitch five stories, and he’ll go, 'Done it. Done it. Done it. Sort of done it. Maybe we didn’t do it.” - new "Law & Order: Los Angeles" producer Blake Masters on story ideas.

Party Report: The fete, for all the members of the NBC Universal family including USA and Bravo, was held on the roof of the Beverly Hilton parking garage, outfitted with a big fountain, deejay booth, and lots of funky seating and tents.

Last night's most fun pairing came in the form of the summit between TV presidents and former "L.A. Law" co-stars Blair Underwood and Jimmy Smits. Smits of course had the top job on "The West Wing" and Underwood moves into the Oval Office this fall on "The Event."

The gang from "Chuck" hung in a gaggle on the dance floor and occasionally busted a move, with Vik Sahay, the scheming Lester, given to lip-synch performances.

I resisted the urge to ask the Salahis, there promoting "The Real Housewives of D.C.," how they got in.

Jackie Warner, on hand to talk up her new Bravo show "Thintervention" was, unsurprisingly, the picture of perfectly sculpted health. 

Cambridge homegirl Mindy Kaling, who plays Kelly Kapoor on "The Office" and is also a writer-producer on the show, said she didn't know who would be replacing Steve Carell after he departs after next season but she hoped it would be someone totally different. Although her character is going through the "minority executive training program" on the show, she didn't think Kelly would get the job.

Also in attendance were many of Kaling's "Office" co-stars, several "Top Chef" chefs, including pony-tailed Hubert Keller, most of the "Covert Affairs" cast including Piper Perabo and Tufts grads Peter Gallagher and Sendhil Ramamurthy, other "Event" stars and TV vets like Laura Innes and Zeljko Ivanek, and Oprah's favorite designer Nate Berkus, in the house to promote his new eponymous show.

Random sighting: When I went to make a request of the deejay I was surprised to see the woman making the music happen was none other than MC Lyte.

In tonight's installment of "tall, not tall" I can report that Newton native Anne Dudek, who has appeared on "House," "Mad Men," and currently on "Covert Affairs," is a true glamazon. She towered over me and was very sweet reminiscing about her time at Newton North high school. Jimmy Smits plays big roles, like his aforementioned president and a Supreme Court judge on the upcoming "Outlaw," and he has the stature to match. Also, standing out above the crowd was Brian Baumgartner, who plays lovable knucklehead Kevin on "The Office," Boris Kodjoe, dashing star of the upcoming spy drama "Undercovers," Christopher Gorham, late of "Ugly Betty" and now on "Covert Affairs," and noted beanpole Zachary Levi who plays the title character on "Chuck."   Jason Ritter and Blair Underwood, both of "The Event," are not short, but would not be described as tall. 

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