Nellie Andreeva

There has been a lot of chatter in the past 24 hours over Garza, the NBC legal drama starring Jimmy Smits and produced by Conan O’Brien’s production company, which now I hear is inching closer to a midseason order with significant retooling attached. The pilot has gone through a lot of ups-and-downs, starting with its almost improbable pickup to pilot days after the O’Brien’s acrimonious divorce from NBC. It was the third legal drama pilot to be picked up in a crowded field that already included David E. Kelley’s Kindreds and Rex Is Not Your Lawyer. But John Eisendrath’s script was one of the best liked at the network and the pilot’s chances went further up when Jimmy Smits signed on as the lead. Then it was radio silence, with the completed pilot getting very little early buzz until Smits started testing very well. But NBC executives have remained deeply divided on the pilot, which is said to have the support of NBC Uni topper Jeff Zucker and the network’s marketing team. After an idea to possibly attach Smits to the new Law & Order series didn’t get a lot of traction, the focus moved back on trying to find a way to keep the concept of Garza and Smits while reworking the project. It must be karma — O’Brien and NBC destined to stay together.

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