The last piece has fallen into NBC‘s comedy puzzle, with the network canceling Ryan Murphy‘s freshman comedy The New Normal. To recap, of all current NBC comedy series, only two, Parks & Recreation and Community, made it to next season as the network is betting heavily on its half-hour pilots. The New Normal has garnered a lot of attention (and some controversy) with its subject of a gay couple having a baby. It recently won a GLAAD Award but largely failed to gain traction with viewers.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
At tonight’s PaleyFest panel featuring cast and producers of NBC’s freshman comedy The New Normal, it came as no surprise when show co-creator Ryan Murphy confirmed that recurring guest star John Stamos, who hosted the panel, would continue to recur as Brice the realtor (Stamos jokingly demanded to know). More surprising was when Murphy announced that one of the final season episodes will feature an entire act with no dialogue, only music. And not just any music: John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy.” Murphy said the song is one of his and show co-creator Ali Adler’s favorites so they asked for permission to use it. “We reached out to Yoko Ono, and she said yes,” Murphy said. “So we are thankful to Yoko Ono. I just wanted to do something different.”
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
John Stamos dropped by a TCA panel discussion today for NBC‘s The New Normal held on the set at Paramount featuring the cast and executive producer Ali Adler (co-creator with Ryan Murphy). Stamos is guesting in an episode in which he plays a character of ambiguous sexual orientation (to explore the fallacy of “gay-dar”). Stamos was asked to compare today’s TV sitcom world — which can accommodate the “new normal” of a gay couple who are expectant parents via a surrogate — to his days on Full House. “It was three men living together in San Francisco raising a couple of kids. It’s the same thing,” Stamos quipped.
Ellen Barkin, who portrays the bigoted mother of the pregnant surrogate (Georgia King), said she was not surprised by the controversy surrounding the show (a Utah TV station has refused to air it). “It’s part of the reason why many of us got involved in the show, it was saying something that is not always said in a sitcom,” she said. Barkin last summer told Deadline she believes an affiliate has the right to ban something, but considers it censorship.
FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum and NBC’s The New Normal were announced today as additions to the 30th edition of The Paley Center For Media’s TV festival’s slate. The Ryan Murphy-co-created series joins previously announced honorees HBO’s The Newsroom, NBC’s Revolution and ABC’s …
Ryan Murphy really likes Matt Bomer. After casting the White Collar star in a high-profile guest stint on Fox’s Glee last season, playing Darren Criss’ brother, Murphy has now recruited Bomer for a guest starring turn on his new …
NBC has made the first back orders this fall, giving full-season orders to drama Revolution and comedies Go On and The New Normal. “We’re impressed with the imagination and creative direction of the entire team on Revolution, not to mention the immediately strong response we got from the audience,” said NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “We’re also very proud of our new comedy block of Go On and The New Normal.”
The news comes on the heels of NBC logging its first outright premiere-week win among adults 18-49 in nine years, fueled by the early success of Revolution as well as The Voice‘s expansion to fall and the ongoing strength of Sunday Night Football. “We’re very pleased with early results of the last three weeks of our fall season roll-out,” said NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt. “The strategy for this season was to draft off the promotional platform of the Olympics and then begin our season early and strong. I think we’ve accomplished both of those goals, yet we know it’s a long season and there’s much work ahead of us.”
The pickups of Revolution, Go On and The New Normal had been considered no-brainers as the three have been NBC’s strongest new series so far this season. The forecast is cloudier for underperforming new comedies Animal Practice and Guys With Kids.
“Be fair.” That’s what The New Normal creator Ryan Murphy said 20th Century Fox TV and NBC execs told him about doing an episode of the NBC sitcom from a Republican perspective. The episode, “Obama’s Mama”, airs tonight. “You have two gay clearly liberal guys at the heart of the show. We all collectively thought it would be great to do an episode where you presented Ellen’s point of view, the conservative point of view, the Republican point of view that hopefully was eloquent and was given equal time,” Murphy said today during a conference call about the show, about a gay couple having a baby through a surrogate. Ellen Barkin plays June, the conservative 58-year-old grandmother of the surrogate (played by Georgia King).
And we’re off. In the first major premiere of the season, NBC’s The Voice last night opened its third season with a 4.1 rating/11 share in adults 18-49. In today’s broadcast universe that is a respectable number; for ratings-challenged NBC, it could be a cause for celebration. But by major talent competition standards, especially for a young series like The Voice, it is just OK. Of course that was way down from last season’s Super Bowl-inflated Voice opener. But it was also down from the series’ series debut in April 2011 (5.1/13). Additionally, The Voice was down 7% from last season’s finale. (And keep in mind, the show is usually front-loaded, with its blind auditions garnering the highest ratings.) Facing Monday Night Football for the first time in its run, it was a tenth behind the series debut of Fox’s The X Factor (4.2/12) last fall. The two music competition shows are set to clash head-to-head on Wednesday.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on NBC’s new comedy The New Normal, executive producer Ryan Murphy was asked to address the fact that the series is already being boycotted by anti-gay activist group One Million Moms even though the show has not aired. The series revolves around a gay couple (portrayed by Broadway’s Book Of Mormon star Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha) who seek to conceive a child with a surrogate mother (Georgia King). Murphy is openly gay as is co-executive producer Allison “Ali” Adler, a Glee colleague (Murphy said Rannells’ character is loosely based on himself and that he has dreams of becoming a parent with his partner). “I have obviously been through this before, I wasn’t surprised when I read (about the boycott)”, said Murphy, who also has come under fire from conservative groups over gay characters in Glee. “I think every person and group has a right to protest something, (but) I always find it interesting for someone to take that option before they’ve seen it,” he said of the group, which also has attacked JC Penney for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson.
Murphy added that there is a character in New Normal that often voices the opinions of the Million Moms group: the conservative grandmother portrayed by Ellen Barkin. “Their points of view are delivered with sensitivity and a certain amount of veracity by Ms. Barkin,” Murphy said. “If they actually watched it, I think they would like it.” Murphy called the character “loveable; everybody has people like her in their family. In all of these characters, the most controversial will be Ellen — I remember Thanksgivings growing up when my grandmother would say these jaw-dropping things.”
NEW COMEDIES & DRAMAS FOR 2012-13 NBC PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
Sitcoms expand to four nights this fall including Tuesday and Friday nights. New dramas from Dick Wolf and JJ Abrams. Here’s your first look:
NBC’s Save Me - Comedy
Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Original Film. Novelist John Scott Shepherd is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Scott Winant and executive producers Neal H. Moritz, Vivian Cannon, and Alexa Junge:
NBC’s 1600 Penn - Comedy
Produced by 20th Century Fox. From executive producer/director Jason Winer. The executive producers are Winer (who also directed the pilot), Gad and former White House speechwriter Jon Lovett: