While the Republican candidates were debating twice in ten hours and Tim Tebow was proving the existence of a football-obsessed God in the AFC wild card game, the TV networks continued to preview their midseason schedules at the winter Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena. Over the weekend, NBC and Fox–and some of their associated cable properties–presented new and old shows and new and old lines of network spin. Among the highlights:
* The common link among the two networks is Ryan Seacrest, who was the subject of buzz over whether he would negotiate a return to American Idol and whether he would sign to join the hosting team of NBC’s Today. On the former question, he said he “can’t imagine” a future without Idol; time will tell whether that’s a comment on his plans or his imagination. On the latter, he was tantalizingly quiet, though NBC head Bob Greenblatt said the network had no intention of booking Matt Lauer a one-way ticket on his next Where in the World excursion. And hey, who’s to say Seacrest can’t do both jobs—as well as radio, TV specials and producing shows for the entire extended Kardashian bloodline? I assume he’ll continue to maintain his heavy workload even after he is eventually elected President.
* Charlie Sheen‘s sitcom is still becoming a thing.
* Fox is still not sure about bringing back House, Fringe or Terra Nova, the last decision of which may depend on finding a space-time portal to an alternative Earth on which the series had higher ratings.
* NBC’s Greenblatt made TCA history by saying that his network, which had a really bad fall, “had a really bad fall.”
* Chief among the Peacock’s hopes for getting back up following said fall is musical-about-a-musical Smash, debuting next month. NBC and producers (including Steven Spielberg) were cagey about the buzz that the network may actually try to launch the show-within-a-show as a Broadway musical next year. But come to think of it, if NBC can’t turn its ratings around, maybe they could just try to move the entire network from TV to Broadway. If Community could make a musical, why not SVU?