There's a new sheriff in town over at NBC, and a whole new slew of shows to replace all the shows that failed last season (pretty much all of them, basically). It's an entirely new programming slate over there, so I attended the red carpet portion of the network's Upfront presentation this morning to get some interviews with the new and returning talent. They were all so lovely that I hope none of their shows get canceled too soon.
First up is Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler.
Will Leslie and Ben finally get together next season?
Amy Poehler: We just saw them have a moment, so it's just going to be about figuring out how to make that work even though it's forbidden love. The best kind!
I think a lot of viewers are afraid the writers will break April and Andy up...
Poehler: Yes. Yeah, I don't know, they're very impetuous, April and Andy. They don't think a lot before they act, so who knows.
What else would you like to see happen next season?
Poehler: I don't know, we've got a couple things brewing, but really, we're just excited to be back. Just so happy to be doing more shows. It's a super fun job.
Besides your own show, what are you watching?
Poehler: I am watching The Voice, I will say that. Yeah. I'm surprising myself and watching that. That, and Ice Road Truckers. No I don't, I'm totally kidding.
On to Maulik Pancholy, of new sitcom Whitney. You probably know him as Jack Donaghy's assistant Jonathan on 30 Rock.
Tell me about the show.
Maulik Pancholy: It's a couples comedy. It's about how to be a couple in this world -- do you get married? Do you not get married? Whitney [Cummings] and Chris [D'Elia] play the couple that has been together forever, and they're totally comfortable with each other, like "Hey, lemme pull that hair out of your back." And Zoe Lister-Jones and I play the couple that is madly in love. I'll do anything for her and we make out in front of people, so you have these two perspectives on how you handle being in a relationship in 2011.
Will we still see you on 30 Rock?
Pancholy: I think you will, yeah! It's one big happy NBC family, so yeah.
You've been in so many different things -- what's the strangest way you've been recognized?
Pancholy: I did the show Weeds for five years and I played a drug dealer and I was surprised the number of times people hit me up for pot. It was like, "Hey man, I love you on the show -- are you carrying?" Like no, I'm sorry, I'm an actor, I'm not actually a drug dealer."
And now, Yvette Nicole Brown, a.k.a. Community's Shirley.
In terms of the show's pop culture parodies, what would you like to see next?
Yvette Nicole Brown: I'd love to see a romantic comedy parody. I'd love to see the show's colors change, and have it be red and pink and yellow and have rainbows and sunshine, and have someone dancing through the streets. You know, a little 500 Days of Summer-like extravaganza.
What was your favorite moment from the season?
Brown: I loved the stop-motion animation episode because that was a dream of mine. That, and being a Muppet. So I'm halfway there to fulfilling my bucket list.
It wasn't giving birth on the floor of a classroom?
Brown: Oh God, no! With Gillian between my legs? No, no. You don't think of your friends being between your legs, so that was not a dream of mine. But, we both survived it, and a little baby was born for Shirley, so it was worth it.
Any guest stars you'd love to see on the show?
Brown: She doesn't do TV, but Sandra Bullock, I would love. And Blair Underwood isn't hard to look at. Those are my two.
Is the rest of the cast jealous that Annie gets to hook up with a new person in every finale?
Brown: Yeah! I don't understand why she gets to kiss somebody every season! We could have had a nice little Malcolm-Jamal Warner/Yvette Nicole Brown kiss to end out the season. That would have been lovely!
Switching gears now to David Giuntoli and Bitsie Tulloch, of Grimm.
What can we expect from the show?
David Giuntoli: Well, it's a cop drama based on Grimm's Fairy Tales -- we fight characters from Grimm's Fairy Tales, these supernatural beasts and wolves and trolls. It's a really cool show.
The show is produced by David Greenwalt of Angel and Buffy fame. Does the show have that same kind of humor that those shows did, or is it heavier in tone?
Bitsie Tulloch: We do have a little bit of that humor, but I'd say it's definitely more serious. David Greenwalt also worked on The X-Files, and that's kind of the show people are comparing it to the most.
Focusing on a family of monster hunters, the show also seems a lot like Supernatural...
Giuntoli: Well, it's darker than Supernatural. It's also obviously based on fairy tales, instead of comic books, and things like that. I don't know.
Can you tease some gross monsters we can look forward to?
Giuntoli: There will be a troll. I don't want to get too specific.
Tulloch: A werewolf!
Giuntoli: Ooh! A crazy, old haggish woman.
Tulloch: They're really quite scary.
Giuntoli: Yeah, they're frightening. People morph into these creatures, and then morph back right away.
Is there pressure to kind of save NBC, being apart of this new, overhauled programming slate?
Giuntoli: I think NBC has picked a wonderful group of programming for this season.
Tulloch: We're just happy to be on the slate, really.
What else are you guys watching?
Giuntoli: Right now, I just started watching The Voice.
Everyone is saying that! Were you all instructed to say that?
Tulloch: No! I don't watch The Voice! I do like Top Chef Masters though...
Giuntoli: Yeah, I love Dateline NBC, as well. I do! I get sucked in every time.
It's that To Catch a Predator, it's captivating.
Giuntoli: I know! It's like a four-hour show.
And now for Megan Hilty, star of the un-Glee, Smash.
Tell me about the show.
Megan Hilty: It's about a group of people who come together and create a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. And it's about everybody's drama outside of the drama they're creating.
So it's like a show-within-a-show.
Hilty: Exactly! Yeah.
Since no one's seen any of Smash yet, everybody's just kind of lumping it in with Glee. What's different about Smash?
Hilty: All of our music numbers are original pieces, as if they're actually putting on a Broadway show. So it's stuff that you've never heard, never seen before, and the staging of these numbers is fantastic. The dancers are incredible, and the choreographer did an incredible job.
So these are full-out Broadway-style songs, not pop musical songs?
Hilty: These are like, straight-up Broadway.
How annoying is it to be constantly compared to Glee right out of the gate?
Hilty: Well, that's pretty much the only thing we have in common with that show, is the musical element. And thank God for Glee, because they really paved the way and made it acceptable to sing and dance on television again.
Your thoughts about the new shows? Leave them in the comments!
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