NBC's upcoming post-apocalyptic series Day One isn't due until 2010, but network executives are already suggesting it may be short-lived.
"We've always looked at Day One as a big event for us and not necessarily a show that would be an ongoing, returning show for a second season," NBC president of prime time entertainment Angela Bromstad said in a press conference today in Pasadena, Calif., as part of the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "It would depend on its success. Just by nature of the genre, they always then get a little narrow, and whether or not we can sustain it on the air ..."
Jesse Alexander's new series begins on the first day after a disaster, when a Los Angeles community sets out to rebuild.
CBS' Jericho, another serialized post-apocalyptic show, did not last more than a season and a half.
Still, NBC executives say they want to expand the network's genre programming. "Heroes was really so successful for us, and it's a genre we cannot ignore," Bromstad said. "It does tend to be a little more of a narrow genre."
Speaking of Heroes, former producer Bryan Fuller has moved on to his own development deal at NBC after a brief stint back on the show's writing staff after his ABC series Pushing Daisies got canceled. Bromstad asserted that he's right where she wants him, having already done his job to get Heroes back on track.
"It doesn't mean anything [for the show] one way or the other," Bromstad said. "He's no longer in the writers' room, and the show is doing exceptionally well creatively. Bryan came back to be in the writers' room initially and helped [them] get back on track. He was there from the start and on the original writing staff. So I think he was there in the beginning to get them back on track and [help] everybody sort of decide where they're going creatively. Our deal with Bryan now is in development. We're looking forward to his development."
One genre show that did not connect with audiences was Kings, a retelling of the biblical story of David, set in a parallel universe. Bromstad said she knew all along it was a tough sell.
"I think that it was an amazingly big swing and a great production, and Michael Green is a phenomenal writer," Bromstad said. "I think our challenge now—and hopefully what you see with the new shows is in a really crowded marketplace—you have to sell something. People want to know what something's about. That was a very complex idea. It was a show that was originally developed when I was there before [with] Laura Lancaster. We thought it was too highbrow and sophisticated to sell in a 30-second spot. It doesn't mean we're not looking for big ideas, but they have to be big ideas an audience can grab onto and relate to."