NBC Shares Upfront Plans

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(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

NBC offered its remote upfront presentation May 17, as Today co-anchor Hoda Kotb, daytime host Kelly Clarkson and Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen were among those sharing aspects of the NBCUniversal network strategy. 

Kotb spoke with Susan Rovner, NBC entertainment chair, who shared her vision for NBC, the company’s cable networks and streaming platform Peacock. She mentioned executives working across all platforms to find a show “the best home in our ecosystem.”

She promised NBCU would “take big new swings” and would keep diversity and inclusion in mind “at every step of the process.”

Rovner spoke of the “amazing promotional windows coming out of these once-in-a-lifetime events,” such as the Olympics and Super Bowl, and mentioned Jimmy Fallon being a part of a half dozen series. 

Clarkson teased the final season of This Is Us. “It’s gonna resonate,” said star Milo Ventimiglia. “It’s gonna stay with people for a long time.”

Clarkson spoke with Renee Zellweger about true-crime series The Thing About Pam. Zellwegger mentioned some “pretty diabolical scheming” in the series. 

Will Smith shared about The Fresh Prince of Bel Air on Peacock. He said no project in his 30-year career gets a bigger reaction out of people than the original Fresh Prince. “Literally every country around the world, quoting lines,” he said. “The fever pitch has never seemed to die down.

Clips were shared of dramas Ordinary Joe and La Brea, and comedies Grand Crew and American Auto.

NBC shared its 2021--2022 schedule late last week, which includes Ariana Grande joining the coaches, including Clarkson, on The Voice on Mondays, and Dick Wolf's Chicago dramas on Wednesdays and a Law & Order trio on Thursdays. 

On the unscripted side, Kevin Hart shared about his new talk show Hart to Heart on Peacock, and Andy Cohen chatted with Kandi Burruss, Sandy Yawn, Ryan Serhant and Akbar Gbajabiamila about The Real Housewives, Below Deck Mediterranean, Million Dollar Listing New York and American Ninja Warrior. 

“This season will be very, very, very different," said Serhan. “A big roller coaster.”

Laverne Cox spoke about becoming host of E!s red carpet coverage. “It needs to be a fantasy, you need to escape,” said Cox, summing up the strategy as “escape with perspective.”

Mike Tirico chatted about sports, including Sunday Night Football, the Summer Olympics starting in July, and the Winter Olympics around the corner. NBC has the Super Bowl early in 2022, and Telemundo has the World Cup that year. He chatted with Drew Brees, who will call Notre Dame games for NBC, about the NFL’s off season. 

The presentation, concluding with Linda Yaccarino, NBCU chairman of global advertising, ran for about an hour and six minutes. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.