New comedies in which Anne Heche thinks she’s channeling God, and Matthew Perry believes he can save the Holy Grail of broadcast TV, are among NBC’s early pickups for next season.
Although the broadcast networks aren’t set to unveil their plans for the 2012-13 TV season to advertisers until next week, NBC has been quietly staffing some new series it wants to launch out of the London Summer Olympics, whose closing ceremonies are scheduled for Aug. 12.
Among those series is Heche’s new show, “Save Me.” Heche, you’ll recall, was found in August 2000 — the day after her breakup with Ellen DeGeneres — wandering door to door in Fresno, Calif., talking about having been told to go meet a spaceship with the hit of ecstasy that was the price of boarding. That ultimately led to an interview with Barbara Walters, in which Heche explained that she had another personality named Celestia, who was from another planet and was the reincarnation of God, and that Celestia helped her cope with having been molested by her father.
Meanwhile, NBC also has greenlit the comedy “Go On,” starring “Friends” alum Matthew Perry as a charismatic sportscaster who, trying to move on from loss, finds help from members of his group-therapy sessions. “Go On,” from “Friends” writer Scott Silveri, presumably is destined for NBC’s Thursday lineup — former home of the iconic Must See TV, but better known these days as the home of Self-Referential TV.
Also said to be staffing up is Ryan Murphy’s NBC comedy, “The New Normal,” about a gay couple starting a family with a surrogate. Also making NBC’s early pickup list: the new J.J. Abrams drama “The Revolution,” about people trying to reunite with family in the empty cities of a post-apocalyptic America — where no technology is available because all forms of energy have ceased to exist.
NBC sometimes, but not always, uses the Olympic Games to launch its fall lineup early. Remember when it premiered the “Friends” spinoff “Joey” and the cop drama “Hawaii” right after the 2004 Summer Games? Four years later, NBC decided to wait instead for the official Premiere Week in mid-September to launch its new programs.
This year, the pendulum seems to have swung back the other way.