NBC spent most of its session at the Television Critics Association openly renewing its vows, according to our correspondent Todd VanDerWerff, who’s certainly been exposed to inhuman levels of concentrated spin over the last couple of weeks. And that’s true even of a beleaguered network like NBC, who focused on the positive by announcing a new overall deal with The Office and Parks And Recreation producer Greg Daniels, one that would also see the Simpsons and King Of The Hill vet returning to animation. But enough about that; what of the nation’s favorite pastime, Steve-Carell-leaving-The Office-ball? Indeed, that still happened, and Daniels commented some on both James Spader taking over as CEO (“I think James Spader is completely different from Steve—his own iconoclastic kind of acting style,” Daniels said, perhaps unnecessarily) and next season’s own parade of guest stars, although Daniels said these would be lesser-known comedic actors, as opposed to the flood of desperately headline-grabbing names seen in the spring.
New NBC chief Bob Greenblatt obviously has great affection for those Thursday night comedies—rightfully so, as they’re often cited as its sole saving grace—and he says their goal is that they’ve “gotta have more of it, and we’ve gotta transplant it off Thursday.” Perhaps in keeping with that objective, Greenblatt revealed that they’d signed a pact to develop a new sitcom around Will And Grace star Sean Hayes, as well as a deal with Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Productions. Details on both of those were scarce, but Greenblatt did let slip that he’s hoping to “bring respectability back to the multi-camera sitcom,” whatever that means. Then he sang the praises of this fall’s Up All Night, a single-camera sitcom.
That nostalgia was mirrored in places beyond comedy as well, with NBC also working on a new show from an old standby, Law And Order creator Dick Wolf, set in the world of firefighters (just in time to fill the void being left by FX’s Rescue Me, we guess). And actually, his vision for restoring NBC to its former glory goes even further back than that: Greenblatt, like so many recent TV executives before him, believes the time is right to revive ye olde variety show format provided he can find the right personality to host it. To that end, Greenblatt asked the universe, “Who's the modern-day Sonny and Cher?” He then seemed to answer his own question by announcing that grocery store soul singer Michael Buble would host his very own holiday variety special this year. So, it’s Michael Buble, then. Michael Buble is the modern-day Sonny and Cher, which is something we all learned today.