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Upfronts: Advertisers Intrigued By ‘Smash’ And ‘Prime Suspect’ But Question Sitcoms

Upfronts: It’s All About Ads & The Economy

Advertisers like NBC’s and Fox’s decisions to add comedies to their fall lineups but say the clips shown to them today don’t show enough to suggest whether any will become hits. ”Comedies are the hardest thing to do,” says Gary Carr of Targetcast. Even 30 Rock, a survivor on the NBC schedule, ”goes over most people’s heads. It’s not doing that well.” One advertiser says that “what you see today (at the upfront presentations) is not necessarily going to be there (on the shows) in the fall.” Still, comedies are big this year because Modern Family demonstrated that they can get young people, and they repeat well. The two shows getting the most attention are NBC’s musical Smash and the network’s remake of the British hit Prime Suspect. “It made a star out of Helen Mirren,” Horizon Media’s Brad Adgate says.

At Fox, advertisers wonder whether there’ll be talent-contest overkill by airing Simon Cowell’s new The X Factor in the fall, followed by American Idol in the winter. “At some point it’s too much,” says Lyle Schwartz of GroupM. Buyers also aren’t sure yet whether Fox will attract much interest for its offer to sell ads that would run on a show when it airs on TV as well as across digital platforms such as Hulu. Although it “sounds good in theory,” one advertiser says, it may simply be “a … Read More »

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Maria Bello To Star In NBC’s ‘Prime Suspect’

Nellie Andreeva

NBC has found its Prime Suspect. Maria Bello is in final negotiations to play the iconic role originated by Helen Mirren in NBC’s remake of the hit British series.

Prime Suspect, from UMS and ITV Studio, centers on an iconoclastic female detective (Bello) who has to make her bones in a tough New York precinct that is dominated by men. The pilot was originally picked up last season but was pushed after difficulties casting the lead. (Back then, Bello was a top choice for NBC brass too.) The adaptation was given a revamp this development season with a new producing team, Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey of Film 44, and new writer, Alexandra Cunningham. The three are executive producing the pilot, with Berg also set to direct. History of Violence co-star Bello, repped by CAA, manager John Carrabino and attorney Bob Myman, has a history at NBC. She spent a season on ER and did a two-episode arc on Law & Order: SVU last year.

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