Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NBC Execs on Trump, 'Friends' Reunion

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NBC Execs on Trump, 'Friends' Reunion

Article excerpt

PASADENA, Calif. - Flat is the new up in television. While other networks have seen their ratings decline during the 2015-16 TV season, NBC has generally held steady. Ratings for the "Golden Globes" declined by 5 percent, and NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt touted that as a win.

"What's a hit now?" asked NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke.

Indeed, it's a question that grows murkier as networks factor in delayed viewing, online viewing and assorted platform viewing options.

In this new environment, NBC's comedy "Superstore" and cop drama "Shades of Blue" got off to relatively strong starts last week ratings-wise. Both shows have Pittsburgh ties.

O'Hara native Jonathan Green ("The McCarthys," "The Mindy Project") writes for "Superstore" (8 p.m. Monday, WPXI), starring America Ferrera as a big box store employee. "Superstore" creator/ executive producer Justin Spitzer said he worked with Mr. Green and his writing partner, Gabe Miller, on "The Office."

"They're talented, they're leaders. You can plug them into any role on the show and make it work," he said, citing their work on the "cold open" first scene in the "Shots and Salsa" episode. "The scene where everyone was chanting at the beginning, that was theirs."

Tonight's episode of "Shades of Blue" (10 p.m., WPXI) introduces North Belle Vernon native Gino Anthony Pesi, who is a recurring guest star playing the love interest of dirty cop Harlee Santos (Jennifer Lopez).

"He originally came in for another role, one of the cops" before being cast as assistant district attorney James Nava, said "Blue" executive producer Jack Orman. "He has a certain charisma, but it's down-to-earth, and he had to represent an ideal for Harlee, something she couldn't have but related to."

Mr. Orman said the relatability and openness Mr. Pesi brought to the role contrasted nicely with Ms. Lopez's character having to be closed off as a keeper of secrets.

"We needed chemistry and a connection between the two of them," Mr. Orman said. "We brought him in to read [in an audition] with Jennifer and saw right away that it worked. …

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