Usually, pilot buzz around this time of year is pretty unreliable. After all, screenings have just started, and most conversation is driven by agents and studios talking up their own projects.
This year, however, the rules are a bit different. In less than 100 hours, NBC will take the wraps off of its 2009-10 series pickups and renewals. So it’s not surprising that buzz is starting to build around some of the network’s projects.
I had hoped to avoid playing the buzz game, but some things—like Joe Biden gaffes—are simply unavoidable. Keep in mind that NBC likely hasn’t made any final decisions yet, and what seems “hot” on Thursday afternoon could be ice cold come Monday.
NBC seems to have several comedies that turned out strong, according to industry insiders interviewed Thursday.
“Community,” a Sony half-hour from Joe and Anthony Russo and producer Russ Krasnoff (“The Soloist”), has some strong supporters, sources said. The single-camera show is about a man in his 30s who enrolls in community college.
Lots of insiders are raving about Universal Media Studios’ “Charlotte Payne” (which might also end up as “100 Questions”). It’s being described as “Friends” meets “How I Met Your Mother.” James Burrows directed the pilot. I’m starting the rumor right now that this show, if it’s as hot as some people suggest, could be a good fit to lead off Thursday nights at 8.
The Bradley Whitford-led cop comedy “Off Duty” also has some Thursday buzz. It’s also from Universal.
NBC will, of course, pick up several dramas next week. With the untimely passing of Peacock drama executive Nora O’Brien, however, speculation on that front can wait.