In unveiling its 2011-12 primetime programming schedule Sunday, NBC announced that “The Voice" and "30 Rock" would be back at midseason. "The Voice" will serve as the Monday night lead-in to a new musical drama called "Smash." Another new drama, "The Firm," will air on Sunday nights after football and "The Celebrity Apprentice." Other new series announced for midseason include the drama "Awake" and the comedies "Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea," "Best Friends Forever" and "Bent."
NBC supplied these sneak peeks from the new show pilots, and the full descriptions of each show.
9 p.m. Sundays midseason on NBC
Based on the blockbuster feature film and best-selling novel by world-renowned author John Grisham ("The Pelican Brief," "The Client"), "The Firm" continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel. As a young associate, McDeere brought down the prestigious Memphis law firm of Bendini, Lambert & Locke, which operated as a front for the Chicago mob--and his life was never the same. After a difficult decade, which included a stay in the Federal Witness Protection program, Mitch and his family now emerge from isolation to reclaim their lives and their future--only to find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere. "The Firm" is produced by Entertainment One in association with Sony Pictures Television and Paramount Pictures. The executive producers are Grisham, Lukas Reiter ("Law & Order," "Boston Legal"), John Morayniss ("Haven," "Hung"), Michael Rosenberg ("Hung," "Skins") and Noreen Halpern ("Rookie Blue," "Hung").
9 p.m. Mondays midseason on NBC
"Smash" is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire--to be a "Smash." The series centers on a desire to create a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe--written by the successful songwriting duo of Tom (Tony Award nominee Christian Borle, "Legally Blonde: The Musical") and Julia (Emmy Award winner Debra Messing, "Will & Grace"). Julia recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. A rivalry soon forms for the lead role between a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beauty (Katharine McPhee, "American Idol")--who is trying to find fame in the big city against all odds--and stage veteran (Megan Hilty, "9 to 5: The Musical"), who's determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. A tenacious producer Eileen (Oscar winner Anjelica Huston, "Prizzi's Honor") discovers the "Marilyn" project and jumps on board with a brilliant director (Jack Davenport, "Pirates of the Caribbean" films)--whose talent is matched by his cunning and egocentric amorality. The series stemmed from an idea of executive producer and multiple Emmy and Oscar winner Steven Spielberg ("ER," "Schindler's List"). The pilot was written by acclaimed playwright/screenwriter Theresa Rebeck ("Mauritius," "NYPD Blue"). Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Oscar-winning "Chicago," "Hairspray") and Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey ("United States of Tara," "The Borgias") will also serve as executive producers. Original songs are written by Tony and Grammy Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman ("Hairspray," "Catch Me If You Can"), who also serve as executive producers. "Smash" is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with DreamWorks. The pilot was directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer ("Spring Awakening," "American Idiot").
These shows do not have scheduled time slots yet, but are planned for sometime midseason:
"Awake" is an intriguing drama about a detective (Jason Issacs, "Harry Potter," "Brotherhood") who finds he is leading an arduous double life that defies reality. When Detective Michael Britten (Issacs) regains consciousness following his family's car accident, he is told that his wife Hannah (Laura Allen, "Terriers") perished but that his teen son, Rex (Dylan Minnette, "Saving Grace"), has survived. As he tries to put the pieces of his life back together, he awakens again in a parallel reality in which his wife is very much alive--but his son Rex died in the accident. In order to keep both of his loved ones alive at one time, he begins living two dueling realities in parallel worlds, which churns up confusion--in one moment, Michael and his wife debate about having another child to replace their son, while in the other reality, he is attracted to his son's tennis coach, Tara (Michaela McManus, "The Vampire Diaries"), to fill the void from the loss of his wife. Trying to regain some normalcy, Michael returns to police work and solves crimes in both worlds with the help of two different partners--Detective Isaiah "Bird" Freeman (Steve Harris, "The Practice") and Detective Efrem Vega (Wilmer Valderrama, "That '70s Show"). Also starring are Emmy Award winner Cherry Jones ("24") and BD Wong (NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit") as therapists in each respective world. The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. Kyle Killen ("Lone Star") and Howard Gordon ("24") are executive producers. David Slade ("Twilight: Eclipse," "30 Days of Night") also serves as executive producer and directed the pilot written by Killen.
ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT'S ME, CHELSEA
ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT'S ME, CHELSEA
Inspired by the best-selling book from comedienne/talk show host Chelsea Handler ("Chelsea Lately"), the new comedy "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea," follows the exploits of twentysomething bartender Chelsea (Laura Prepon, "That '70s Show") a strong-willed force of nature who is determined to live life to the fullest and make no apologies. Her friends are along for the ride but they all know it is Chelsea's way or the highway. Mark (Jo Koy, "Chelsea Lately") is a charming bartender whose wit makes him the perfect foil for Chelsea while Shoniqua (Angel Laketa Moore, "ER") is a smart and sassy fellow waitress who looks out for Chelsea's best interests. Close friend and fellow bartender Todd (Mark Povinelli, "Water for Elephants") has a wry sense of humor that keeps her in check. Also starring are Natalie Morales (NBC's "Parks and Recreation") as Ivory, Chelsea's feisty best friend; Lauren Lapkus ("The Middle") as Dee Dee, Chelsea's sheltered, shy roommate, and Lenny Clarke ("Rescue Me") as Chelsea's dad, Melvin. Handler has a recurring role as Chelsea's sister Sloan, a happily married new mom who has little in common with her carefree sister. "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea" is a production of Warner Bros. Television in association with Werner Entertainment and Borderline Amazing Productions. Dottie Dartland Zicklin ("Dharma & Greg") and Julie Larson ("The Drew Carey Show") are creators and executive producers. Handler serves as executive producer along with Tom Werner ("That '70s Show"), Mike Clements ("The Life & Times of Tim") and Tom Brunelle ("Chelsea Lately").
BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
"Best Friends Forever" is a single-camera comedy that takes a look at what happens when best friends promise to support each other--no matter what the cost or circumstances. When Jessica's (Jessica St. Clair, "In the Motherhood") husband files for divorce, she immediately seeks comfort and flies across the country to move back in with her best friend, Lennon (Lennon Parham, "Accidentally on Purpose"). Unfortunately, Lennon's boyfriend, Joe (Adam Pally, "Happy Endings"), has just moved into the apartment and has turned Jessica's old room into his perfect home office. As Lennon and Jessica fall into their old routines--beloved traditions, Steel Magnolia marathons and epic girl-talk sessions--Joe begins to feel as if he's the odd man out. While Lennon struggles to find balance between her previous life with Jessica and her new life with Joe, Jessica's reentry to single life is complicated by the unresolved feelings that an old friend, Rav (Stephen Schneider, "The Funniest Movie Ever...Just Kidding"), has for her and the fact that pleated khakis aren't the most flattering single girl look. "Best Friends Forever" is produced by Universal Media Studios and American Work. St. Clair, Parham, Scot Armstrong ("Old School," "The Hangover Part II") and Ravi Nandan ("Off Duty") are the executive producers. Fred Savage ("Party Down") directed the pilot.
"Bent" is a new romantic comedy about two people who suddenly find themselves attracted to the qualities that typically repel them. On the surface, Alex (Amanda Peet, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") and Pete (David Walton, "Perfect Couples") could not be more different. The recently divorced Alex is a resilient and tough lawyer who now is raising her eight-year-old daughter, Charlie (Joey King, "Ramona and Beezus"), as a single mom. Unwilling to let anything get in her way, she downsizes into a smaller house, and she hires Pete, a recovering gambling addict and unapologetic womanizer, as the contractor to re-do her kitchen. The remodeling job is Pete's last chance to prove that he is no longer a screw-up--but he doesn't know what's about to hit him when he encounters the force of nature that is Alex--nor does she realize that she's met her match in Pete, a man unafraid to call out her flaws. Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development") also stars as Pete's father, Walt, an out-of-work actor, while Margo Harshman ("Sorority Row") stars as Alex's wild younger sister Screwsie. This romantic comedy from writer and executive producer Tad Quill ("Scrubs," "Spin City") and director Craig Zisk ("Nurse Jackie," "Weeds") will prove that these resilient characters are "bent, not broken." The series is produced by Universal Media Studios.Copyright © 2015, RedEye