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UPDATE: Trump Won’t Run; Decision Follows NBC’s Contingency Plan To Recast Donald On ‘Apprentice’

By | Sunday May 15, 2011 @ 11:50am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE MONDAY AM: NBC made a big headline at its upfront presentation today regarding Donald Trump who took the stage to deliver the news: “After getting so many calls from NBC executives, I’ve decided that I will continue onward with The Apprentice. I will not be running for president, as much as I wanted to,” he said. “This will be our 12th season. I love Celebrity Apprentice.” Just yesterday, NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said on a conference call that NBC was working on plans to replace Trump on The Apprentice should he decide to run. After Trump’s statement, which drew big applause from the audience of ad buyers, Greenblatt quipped, “Every network wants to make news at its upfront. Try topping that!” Over the past few months, Trump had been publicly flirting with the idea of running for President. At some point, he mulled announcing his final decision on the season finale of Celebrity Apprentice but then scrapped that idea.

SUNDAY: NBC had both Sunday Night Football and Celebrity Apprentice on its just-revealed schedule for next season despite the NFL football season being in limbo because of the current players lockout and Celebrity Apprentice star Donald Trump mulling a presidential bid. During a conference call today, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt expressed hope that both football and The Donald will be back but also said that the network is working on contingency plans if that doesn’t happen.

“Certainly we’re hoping that he will be back with us,” Greenblatt said of Trump. But if he isn’t, “we will bring the show back and have someone else at the head of the boardroom table. … (Celebrity Apprentice) is too strong a franchise for us not to consider that.” Greenblatt wouldn’t discuss whom they have in mind as a replacement for Trump, only saying that it would be someone who is “confident and galvanizing.”

As for Sunday Night Football, “we feel pretty good about where we are with the NFL and “pretty optimistic that football will be there,” Greenblatt said. “Worst-case scenario, (the season) will be delayed by a few weeks.” NBC is already working on “high-quality, live entertainment reality-type shows that would fill the gap,” Greenblatt said. He wouldn’t elaborate, only noting that they are “attention-getting big ideas” and that NBC will air the specials elsewhere on the schedule if there is no delay to the football season.

Other tidbits from the NBC call: Read More »

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First Recasting On New Network Series Set

By | Saturday May 14, 2011 @ 11:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It is an upfront tradition that the network calls to producers to tell them that their pilots have been picked up are sometimes followed by calls to cast members of the ordered pilots to tell them that they won’t be continuing on the series. I hear that the first recasting on a newly ordered series this year is on NBC’s Prime Suspect, which was picked up Wednesday, the very first day of series pickups this year. Exiting the project is British actor Toby Stephens as his character will be rewritten. NBC’s remake of the British series Prime Suspect centers on Jane Timoney (Maria Bello), an iconoclastic female detective who has to make her bones in a tough New York precinct that is dominated by men. Stephens played Jane’s live-in boyfriend, who is fighting his ex-wife to allow their son to stay with him and Jane.

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Eddie Cibrian To Play The Lead In ‘Playboy’

By | Friday March 11, 2011 @ 9:08am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The lead in the NBC drama pilot Playboy is being recast.

Third Watch alum Eddie Cibrian has been tapped for the role, replacing Jeff Hephner, who landed the part last week after a marathon of auditions. The decision was made after the pilot’s table read. Sources close to the show say that Hephner, who had never played a major role on a series before, was great in the tests, and the producers love him as an actor, but he didn’t work out in the pilot, whose cast includes Laura Benanti, Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton and David Krumholtz. Cibrian, who was finalist for the Playboy lead, is expected start immediately as the pilot is slated to begin filming in Chicago on Tuesday.

Playboy, from 20th Century Fox TV, Imagine TV and writer/executive producer Chad Hodge, is set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. It centers on Nick Dalton (Cibrian), described as “the ultimate playboy.” He is an attorney in Chicago and a Keyholder at the glamorous, exclusive club. A fixer who knows how to make problems disappear, he has mysterious ties to the mob. The pilot, directed by Alan Taylor, also co-stars Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Leah Renee and Wes Ramsey.

Cibrian, repped by ICM and Steve Sauer, recently co-starred on CSI: Miami for a season and did an arc on NBC’s freshman drama Chase this season.

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