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TV Column
Posted at 03:48 PM ET, 05/09/2013

NBC orders new Dermot Mulroney drama, Sean Hayes comedy


Dermot Mulroney as Thomas Gibson in “Crisis.” (NBC - VIVIAN ZINK)
NBC, which on Monday, at Radio City Music Hall, will unveil to advertisers its primetime schedule for the 2013-14 TV season,  has ordered a new action thriller set in Washington D.C., starring Dermot Mulroney (not to be confused with Dylan McDermott), and Gillian Anderson.

 The premise of “Crisis” goes like this: there’s this bus on a field trip. It’s filled with Washington, D.C. students.

 But not just any Washington, D.C. students — they’re students from Ballard High School, institution of higher learning for the children of “Washington, D.C.’s elite.”

And by “Washington, D.C.’s elite” they mean “top-of-their-industry CEOs, international diplomats, political power players and even the president’s son.”

And yet, the bus driver decides to take a cruise down a rural road. But not just any rural road. A SECLUDED rural road. Which is just asking for it. And sure enough, despite Secret Service protection for Son of POTUS on the bus, the teens of top-of-their-industry CEO’s, international diplomats, political power players, and Son of POTUS are taken hostage, as are their chaperones. 

This, NBC says, ignites a national crisis, with “some of the country’s most powerful parents at the mercy of one vengeful mastermind.”

What will The Country’s Most Powerful Parents do to ensure the safe return of their children? 

How many factual mistakes will CNN make as it covers this national crisis?

How many Ladies Who Lunch in Washington will pester poor NBC in hopes show characters will get their names, and their actual children will be cast to play the elite offspring? You know, kind of like how David Mamet and Brian Williams’ daughters were cast on “Girls.” We pity poor Rand Ravich (“Life,” “The Astronaut’s Wife”) — the guy behind this new drama series, whose life is about to become a living hell.

Anyway, NBC assures us that, with nowhere to turn and no one to trust — really? — this “unthinkable scenario” grows until it places “an entire nation at risk.”


Johnny Sequoyah as Bo, Jake McLaughlin as Tate in “Believe.” (NBC - ERIC LIEBOWITZ)
* And, if that one doesn’t keep you up at night, NBC has also ordered “Believe,” a drama about a little orphan girl named Bo.

Since Bo turned two, she has mastered levitation, telekinesis, the ability to control nature, and evento predict the future. She’s been raised by a small group known as the True Believers, who safeguard her from “harmful outsiders who would use her forces for personal gain.” People like the producers of “America’s Got Talent.”

Anyway, little Bo is now 10, which apparently is old enough so that it’s not creepy when the True Believers decide to spring -- from death row — a wrongfully convicted felon, because he’s the ONLY person they think fit to be Bo’s full-time protector. 

Initially, Tate — that’s the guy’s name — is reluctant to leave death row, NBC insists. We’d like to learn more about that, but the series is going to air on NBC, so there probably won’t be enough episodes before it’s canceled.

So, we’re just going to have to take it for granted that Tate witnesses Bo in action, levitating, or telekinesis-ing, or whatever, and decides he will leave death row after all, and will take Bo on the road, traveling from city to city, because it’s the only way to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo’s power.

They try to fly under the radar, changing forever the lives of everyone they meet in every city at which they stop. No wonder NBC assures us it will take a miracle to keep them safe forever. 

Did you guess JJ Abrams is involved with this one? You’re right! Ditto Alfonso Cuaron (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”).

* On the lighter side, having failed to hit a home run with a comedy starring an adorable monkey last fall, NBC will this fall take another stab at comedy ratings hit-dom with a comedy featuring an adorable yellow lab guide dog, stage-named Elvis.


“The Family Guide” (NBC - COLLEEN HAYES)
“The Family Guide” is about a blind divorced guy who nonetheless chops down trees, and teaches his daughter how to drive, which you or I might think unwise, but NBC assures us is evidence of his indomitable spirit. Mel, played by J.K. Simmons, used to be married to Joyce, but eventually they grew apart, due to her pipe smoking and mall hopping.

As a divorcee, Joyce is experiencing a second coming of age, which makes her a contemporary of her teenaged daughter Katie, whose clothes Joyce is forever borrowing.

In the center of this maelstrom is 11-year-old Henry, who learns about his parents pending divorce when Dad shows up with Elvis. No doubt there’s some deeper message there about wives as guide dogs, but we’ll think about that tomorrow. Anyway, the show is narrated by an adult Henry, played by Jason Bateman, who is also one of the show’s exec producers, as is DJ Nash, whose credits include NBC’s short-lived “Up All Night” and “Guys with Kids,” which are now both officially kaput.


Samantha Isler as Ellie, Sean Hayes as Sean. (NBC - VIVIAN ZINK/NBC)
* Sean Hayes is back as a comedy series star on NBC — this time playing a divorced gay dad with a pushy mom, who is played by Linda Lavin.

In “Sean Saves the World,” Sean has a teenaged daughter who moves in with him full time, at the same time his company’s new management thinks Sean should put in longer hours at work, which puts a damper on his Pinterest-worthy family dinners. 

* Also joining NBC’s primetime slate: “About a Boy,” a remake of the 2002 Hugh Grant flick of same name which, in turn, was adapted from the 1998 novel of same name, by Nick Hornby.

This time Jon Favreau, of “Iron Man” and “Revolution” fame, is directing, which may or may not be a good thing.

And, in this version, the man-child – played here by David Walton – isn’t living work-free thanks to royalties from a tacky Christmas tune his dad wrote a long time ago. This time, Man Child has himself written a hit tune and is now living off the royalties.

Minnie Driver’s got the Toni Collette role from the film, as the wacky, vegetarian, and sometimes suicidal mom of 11-year-old chick magnet Marcus, played here by Benjamin Stockham, who you loved in NBC’s short-lived sitcom “1600 Penn.”

In other news, NBC has renewed its Thursday comedy “Parks and Recreation” because it can’t cancel them all. “30 Rock,” “The Office,” and “Up All Night” have already bit the dust.

Also, “Whitney” has been canceled because, duh.


Benjamin Stockham as Marcus, David Walton as Will in “About a Boy.” (NBC - JORDIN ALTHAUS)

By  |  03:48 PM ET, 05/09/2013

Tags:  2013 upfronts, NBC upfronts

 
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