NBC 2010 upfronts: Mid-season replacements

by Paul William Tenny

NBC LogoThis is the "mid-season replacements" post a series on NBC's 2010 upfront presentation. These shows were shot as pilots or ordered to series by NBC for consideration for the 2010 summer season to replace other shows that have failed, and anything they announce at the upfronts next week will come from this pile.

  • 100 Questions

    From: Christopher Moynihan, Kelly Kulchak, and Ron West with Alex Hardcastle directing the pilot. Chris Moynihan is an actor by trade and co-staring in the series, so he's probably not running it. Ron West doesn't appear to have any significant experience producing, and it kind of stands out that one of West's three known credits was on Moynihan's failed series Foster Hall, which Moynihan also was to star in.

    Kelly Kulchak -- a veteran producer of Psych -- will bring experience and talent to a pretty weak production crew.

    Genre: Comedy/Sitcom

    Synopsis: Charlotte Payne ... takes a 100-question compatibility test, and each one requires her to recount a humorous time in her life.

    When: Thursdays at 8:30PM, starting May 27th 2010.

    Notes: An initial 13-episode order was reduced to six episodes in December of last year.

  • America's Next Great Restaurant

    From: Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz are veterans of the reality genre and have worked on Lifetime/Bravo's Project Runway for a number of years. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay will be one of five judges (and investors) of a competition where the winner will open a new restaurant chain in three American cities.

    Genre: Reality

    Synopsis: Contestants will compete to win the support and money to open a chain restaurant.

    When: Not on the schedule.

    Notes: Only the one judge/investor has been attached, but casting calls already took place in eight cities during March and April.

  • Breakthrough with Tony Robbins

    From: Bruce Beresford-Redman, Howard T. Owens, Mark Koops, and Noah Oppenheim. The first three all have lots of credits to their name, with Beresford-Redman logging time on Survivor since 2002. Owens and Koops are known to NBC via The Biggest Loser and are working with Oppenheim -- who is a bit of a blank slate -- on another new reality show further down the list, called Losing It with Jillian. Most of these people know what they are doing, but also working in a genre where that probably doesn't matter. Owens and Koops both have worked well outside of the reality genre, so that's a plus.

    Genre: Reality

    Synopsis: None. It's another workout show. Looks like NBC is shamelessly cloning them for cheap ratings.

    When: Not on the schedule.

    Notes: Eight episodes ordered. Comes from powerhouse Reveille Productions (The Office, 30 Days, The Biggest Loser).

  • Day One

    From: Jesse Alexander as creator, with Alex Graves directing the pilot. This is great talent that got wasted. Alexander produced and wrote for Heroes, Alias, and Lost. Graves has produced for Fringe and The West Wing, and directed the pilot of Fringe, 34 episodes of West Wing, The Practice, Boston Public, Sports Night, and others. You can't lose with talent like that, which means of course this show is DOA.

    Genre: Drama

    Synopsis: A group of people who survived a cataclysmic world-wide disaster try to survive the aftermath, rebuild humanity, and figure out what happened.

    When: Not on the schedule.

    Notes: NBC got cold feet. It went from 13 episodes as a series, to 4 as a miniseries, to just a TV movie (backdoor pilot). This is the kind of behavior that has been killing NBC.

  • The Jensen Project

    From: Monica Macer as creator, Brian Wells, Jeff Grant, and Joel Rice producing, with Douglas Barr directing the pilot. This is the first show for Macer of her own after serving as an executive story editor (fairly high ranking writer) on Knight Rider, Prison Break, and as a staff writer for Lost. Not a lot of information on some of these folks.

    Genre: Drama

    Synopsis: The Jensen Project explores the secret community of world-class geniuses who do cutting-edge research that they share anonymously to help the world.

    When: Not on the schedule.

    Notes: A backdoor pilot. Sounds like MacGyver.

  • Losing It with Jillian

    From: Ellen Rakieten, Giancarlo Cherisch, Howard T. Owens, Jillian Michaels, Mark Koops, and Stef Wagstaffe. Another weight-loss show from Owens and Koops of Breakthrough with Tony Robbins and The Biggest Loser. Wagstaffe and Rakieten are reality producers but not power brokers, though Rakieten's work on Oprah means her experience ought to be pretty darn valuable. Michaels is a producer in that she's powerful enough to demand creative input, but probably won't have any real producing responsibilities.

    Genre: Reality

    Synopsis: Another NBC weight loss show. This will make three on the air which is just sad.

    When: Tuesdays at 8PM, starting June 1st, 2010.

    Notes: Eight episodes have been ordered and NBC is already airing commercials for it.

  • Persons Unknown

    From: Christopher McQuarrie as creator, Heather McQuarrie and Remi Aubuchon as executive producers. Chris wrote The Usual Suspects and worked on the X-Men script, so this is a person who -- depending on who you ask -- really knows how to write great stories. As showrunner, that's a powerful voice for story against network insistance on more sex and more violence.

    Genre: Drama

    Synopsis: A one-hour mystery drama in which a group of strangers must come together to solve the puzzle of their lives.

    When: Mondays at 10PM, starting June 7th, 2010.

    Notes: 13 episodes ordered.

Also: NBC comedy pilots, drama pilots, and the intro post.

Update: I've posted NBC's full fall schedule

in Feature, Television


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