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TV Critics Tour: NBC notes and quotes

BEVERLY HILLS -- The main part of NBC's portion of the press tour wrapped Tuesday and now, a tour through the day, in notes and quotes (and thanks to the very hardworking transcribers for the TCA and networks). Let's start with:

“Smash.” No panel but NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt addressed  the problems with the new series -- evidenced by the forced exit of Theresa Rebeck for new producer Josh Safran.  

“We had some ups and downs creatively as the season went on, which is true of any show. Just compound that by the production that we go through in terms of original songwriting and recordings, and all that is happening simultaneously. I think where we didn’t do as good a job as I hope we do this year, and I think with the new show-runner, we will do better is the arcing of the story lines and the consistency of going in one direction with a character and continuing in a really interesting way with that arc. I think we were inconsistent, going back and forth with some things."

"Guys with Kids.” Jimmy Fallon's first show for NBC is about guys with kids -- oh, and guess what it's called. He spoke of the genesis Tuesday (via closed circuit): "When we came up with this idea, it was Amy and I, who is my producing partner, we were just talking about all the guys that we were seeing around New York City and Times Square, like with the Baby Bjorns and the babies on the backs of their bikes, and I was saying, like, these are like young, good-looking guys. “They’re just embracing the role of dad ..."

"But basically it’s young parents, and it’s just very positive, very fun. It’s very, like, I would say, late night in a way, because we just want to have a good time. It’s not really about what a drag it is to have kids. It’s more like, 'I’m bringing the kid to the baseball game, and I forgot diapers. How do I make a diaper out of a hot dog wrapper and a napkin?' ”

“Community.” Greenblatt says no major changes are forthcoming. "'Community' is a show that has been always on the bubble, and we decided to bring it back again and see what a fourth season will do for us. But the reason that we did 13 episodes of that and a couple of our other shows is because we really wanted to get more comedies on the schedule,  and we picked up a number of new comedies for the fall and midseason, and we just sort of laid out the number of episodes we would need .?.?. which isn’t to say we couldn’t decide at some point to extend those seasons, you know, longer.

“And I think the fans of  'Community' are going to get the same show that they have loved from the beginning. Every so often, it’s time to make a change with a show-runner, and you sort of evaluate the creative and how the show is run and how the writing staff works,  and sometimes you want to freshen the show. And we just decided that it was time to do that on 'Community,' and no disrespect to anyone.

“Stars Earn Stripes.” New unscripted about stars who get military training -- described as an homage to the armed services. It will feature among many others, Todd Palin, husband of former Sarah Palin, half-term governor of Alaska and GOP vice presidential candidate in 2008.

He was asked whether “SNL's” mild digs at his wife had given him pause before joining this:  “I was invited to participate in this competition to raise money for military based charities, and that was the last thing in the back of my mind when I made the decision to be a part of this event and to hang out with these military ops and these celebrity contestants and to be able to shed a light on our the guys that keep us safe and save lives and defend our freedom every day."

"Revolution.” Actor Giancarlo Esposito -- who will probably get an Emmy for his brilliant work on “Breaking Bad" -- stars in “Revolution,” a post-apocalyptic world where the electricity suddenly is turned off.

In person, Esposito could not be more unlike his “Breaking Bad” character, Gus. He's passionate and decidedly un-scary.

He had this to say about his new show: “The one thing about this particular show and because of the interesting and creative elements that went into the writing of the show, this new world is you could think of it as a throwback to an old world, but it’s returning to a simpler life .  . . We have good guys. We have bad guys. We have guys in the middle. But there are people who want to get the power back for their own reasons and people who may not want to get it back because they can live a simpler life.

“I’m so excited to be working with such great actors who have such strong commitment. And most of our actors went out and did incredible things, survival courses and Billy’s been doing the fight stuff with Jeff. And I got a chance to get down to Carolina early and get on the right saddle, on a Western saddle and really ride this horse and feel like I know what I’m doing. It’s interesting from an actor’s standpoint to explore this new world, and we hope that you guys as an audience will feel the same way."

"Animal Practice.” JoAnna Garcia recently joined this new NBC comedy (also starring Justin Kirk) about a veterinarian. Garcia, wife of Yankee outfielder Nick Swisher, had this to say: “It sort of happened very shortly after I realized that my show wasn’t going to be picked up. I worked with Joe and Anthony before in a very interesting work experience that they were just so sweet and kind and lovely, and I had watched the show, and I thought it was great. I said there’s such a mass appeal, because when you hear about the show, you kind of feel like, 'What’s the show about? Is it about animals?'

"And really, when you watch it, the show is about people, and the animals are this great backdrop and this sort of, like, cherry on top, and I found all of these guys very funny, and I know Joe and Anthony were great, so I got a chance to have some cocktails and shared a bottle of wine with all these guys in New York, and signed on.

“The New Normal.” Ryan Murphy  --  "Glee,” natch --  has produced this new sitcom about a gay couple who hire a surrogate so they can have a child. It stars Andrew Rannells of “Book of Mormon.”

Says Ryan: It's “is loosely based on my life, and the show came about because my partner and I have been having conversations about surrogacy and meeting with people and talking about it. So I guess, I mean, I guess if you saw that scene, one would think that, but I think if you watched the show and you watched the scripts, you know, we’re really writing hopefully a great depth to this couple, and it’s hard to be, it’s not easy to be, a gay couple having a child. We deal with those issues.”

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