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TV Crush

Television Critics Association: NBC Executive Session Triggers Merciless Twitter Sniping

7/24/2012 6:10 PM

Beverly Hills CA - Television Critics Association/Summer Tour 2012

Some of the bloom is off the Robert Greenblatt rose, the newish Chairman of NBC Entertainment.

Greenblatt landed at the network in January of 2011,  smack in the middle of a development cycle he didn’t entirely control.

At this point, however, Greenblatt has his teams firmly ensconced.  And the heat is on.

In previous executive sessions, Greenblatt strongly telegraphed his intention to steer the network firmly toward a broader audience.

The questioning during today’s executive session - held in a ballroom of the Beverly Hilton - was polite in person, but Greenblatt lost control of the room when he essentially admitted that the network is dumbing down their comedy slate.

The network, he said, is “in transition with our comedies. We’re trying to broaden the audience. We’re more narrow than we’d like”

And: “no disrespect to anyone” but the plan is to “freshen” up Community.

NBC comedies are critical faves and gasps could be read across Twitter.  Merciless sniping erupted.

I responded:  the term “broad audience” sends chills down the spine.  It’s a euphemism for “lowest common denominator.” #tcas12

And this, as expressed in a tweet from Jace Lacob ‏@televisionary over yet another remark by Greenblatt:  Thursday night comedies tend to be “a bit more sophisticated than you’d want for a broad audience,” according to Greenblatt. #headsmack

Bruce R. Miller‏ @siouxbruce wondered aloud:  Have I just entered an episode of#episodes? Where’s Merc? #NBC #tcas12

Tim Goodman @bastardmachine probably summed up the feelings of many critics.
Press Tour Translator: “Thanks for the love, but it doesn’t pay the bills. And it sucks being No. 4. So, dumb shows here we come!”

And then this from Goodman:  I don’t want to read too much into Greenblatt’s tone, but he just clubbed the Thursday night comedies like baby seals.

In response to the Leo-hatred (the badly-written son on Smash) Greenblatt shot back:  “You hate the son? You’ll never see him again.”   (I’m hoping he wasn’t kidding.)

Indicative of his thick skin, Greenblatt made an appearance on stage an hour later.  From the podium, he read aloud some of the more caustic tweets and suggested that @tvoit (Todd VanDerWerff) might make a good showrunner for Community.

September