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NBC Gambles on “Event” Television

NBC is really counting on “event television” (whatever that means) to boost the network’s audience grabbing abilities. At the TCA presentation for the network, it was announced that development has started on four of these “event” series/miniseries. There is Hilary, the four-hour miniseries and Hillary Clinton biopic starring Diane Lane. The series is to be written by Oscar nominee Courtney Hunt and will follow Clinton’s story from the year 1998 to the present. The network will also be producing a retelling of the classic horror novella, Rosemary’s Baby, a new version of Stephen King’s Tommyknockers, and Plymouth, a series detailing the arrival of the pilgrims to America, which will be produced by Mark Burnett, who hit it big recently with the History miniseries The Bible. NBC had previously announced they would producing the sequel to the miniseries, AD: After the Bible, hoping to cash in on the success of its predecessor.

NBC’s entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt stated, “We’re moving very aggressively in limited series and miniseries,” and acknowledged the success of CBS’s own limited series, Under the Dome, which he mentioned was a factor in the decision to produce their own King adaptation. Whether this approach to broadcasting will prove successful is yet to be seen. Recent miniseries successes, like The Bible, were surprise hits, and simply mimicking the production model does not guarantee financial success. We’ll just have to wait how the network handles its new projects and how audiences embrace (or reject) them.

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