Here’s a look at NBC’s summer schedule, which has some interesting offerings in the realms of science fiction and fantasy:
Merlin is a new 13-part drama series that updates the story of the infamous sorcerer of Arthurian legend for a new audience in the mythical city of Camelot, in a time before history began. (This previously aired on the BBC and stars Anthony Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame.)
The Listener centers on Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik, The Timekeeper), a 25-year-old paramedic who has a big secret — he’s a telepath.
In Meteor, two massive rocks, tumbling debris older than the solar system itself, collide in space. The course has been altered. The target is Earth. (This stars Christopher Lloyd, Doc Brown from Back to the Future, as a scientist.)
In The Storm, billionaire Robert Terrell (Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Treat Williams, Everwood) has fulfilled a lifelong obsession and made history with “weather creation” technology though his Atmospheric Research Institute. But during a test run, a blast of energy is sent into the ionosphere with unexpected results. (Williams played a character named Doc Brown in Everwood … freaky!)
Full descriptions, including those for non-sci-fi programs, are on the jump if really want them.
NBC’S SUMMER SCHEDULE PACKED WITH ORIGINAL SCRIPTED SERIES (‘THE PHILANTHROPIST,”THE LISTENER’ AND ‘MERLIN’) AND ALTERNATIVE SHOWS PACED BY DEBUTS OF NEW ‘I’M A CELEBRITY…GET ME OUT OF HERE!’ AND ‘GREAT AMERICAN ROAD TRIP’ — PLUS RETURN OF TOP-RATED ‘AMERICA’S GOT TALENT’
Published: March 12, 2009
“I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” to Be Stripped Over Four Weeks Beginning June 1
Season Finales of “Medium,” “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” – Along with Debut of “The Listener” — Provide Momentum at 10 p.m. in Inaugural Week for “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” Beginning on June 1
Network Also Offers Eventful New Miniseries “Meteor” (June 7 and 14) and “The Storm” (July 19 and 26); “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” Episodes from USA Network Join NBC Lineup June 8
UNIVERSAL CITY, CALIF. – March 12, 2009 – NBC will serve up a sizzling menu of new and returning summer series — accented by all-new original scripted programming with the series premieres of “The Philanthropist,” “Merlin” and “The Listener” – and paced by the new alternative series “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” and “Great American Road Trip” plus the return of summer’s top-rated “America’s Got Talent.”
In a bold scheduling move, “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!,” based on the international hit from Granada America, will debut as a two-hour television event on Monday, June 1 (8-10 p.m. ET) and will be stripped over four weeks in June.
NBC’s season finales of “Medium,” Law & Order: SVU” and “Law & Order” and the premiere of “The Listener” will provide additional primetime momentum at 10 p.m. for the inaugural week of Conan O’Brien beginning Monday, June 1 (11:35 p.m. – 12:35 a.m. ET).
NBC’s eventful summer will also include the action-packed original miniseries “Meteor” and “The Storm.” In addition, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” episodes from USA Network will join the NBC lineup.
The announcements were made today by Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.
“This summer will feature more original scripted programming than ever before, along with our #1 hit ‘America’s Got Talent’ and two new buzz-worthy reality shows,” said Silverman. “In addition, we’ll give Conan the best launch possible during his premiere week by slotting the season finales of some of our best dramas at 10 p.m.”
“I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” will air Monday through Thursdays for the first three weeks beginning June 1 (8-9 p.m. ET) and during the fourth week of June, the series will be telecast Monday through Wednesday (8-9 p.m. ET) with the finale on Wednesday, June 24 (8-9 p.m. ET).
“Great American Road Trip” – newly announced today – will debut on Wednesday, July 1 (8-9 p.m. ET) and will continue for eight weeks.
The popular “America’s Got Talent” will kick off its fourth season over two nights on Tuesday, June 23 (9-10 p.m. ET) and Wednesday, June 24 (9-10 p.m. ET). “The Philanthropist” premieres on Wednesday, June 24 (10-11 p.m. ET) while “Merlin” begins on Sunday, June 21 with a two-hour premiere (8-10 p.m. ET). The new drama series will also air from 8-10 p.m. on June 28 before resuming in its normal day and time on Sunday, July 5 (8-9 p.m. ET).
“Medium” will broadcast its season finale Monday, June 1 (10-11 p.m. ET), “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” will have its season finale on Tuesday, June 2 (10-11 p.m. ET) and “Law & Order” will unveil its season finale on Wednesday, June 3 (10-11 p.m. ET). The new drama “The Listener” will also debut that week on Thursday, June 4 (10-11 p.m. ET).
NBC illuminates the sky this summer with two major miniseries in “The Meteor” on Sunday, June 7 (9-11 p.m. ET) and Sunday, June 14 (9-11 p.m. ET) as well as “The Storm” for broadcast on Sunday, July 19 (9-11 p.m. ET) and Sunday, July 26 (9-11 p.m. ET).
In addition, episodes from the eighth season of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (now telecast on USA) will begin on NBC on Monday, June 8 (9-10 p.m. ET)
“Dateline NBC” will begin broadcasts on Mondays (10-11 p.m. ET) beginning June 8.
The annual “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” will take place on July 4 (9-10 p.m. ET).
(Show descriptions are provided below):
“I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” is the ultimate Swiss Family Robinson as ten celebrities are dropped into the heart of the jungle to face fun and comedic challenges designed to test their survival skills. America is the puppetmaster, controlling their favorite celebrities by putting them into challenges and tasks to win food, supplies and luxury items. In each episode, friendships will be tested, hilarity will ensue and viewers will decide which celebrities stay or go. The last remaining star will be crowned King or Queen of the Jungle, winning a substantial cash prize for their favorite charity.
The participating celebrities will be announced at a later date. The series is produced by Granada America.
“Great American Road Trip” from BBC Worldwide, is a hilarious and relatable new series where seven families from divergent backgrounds are selected take the journey of a lifetime. Over eight episodes, the families will travel through cities large and small all while competing in a medley of humorous challenges that will ultimately lead one family to victory. These comical, clever challenges are set against iconic American backdrops like the majestic Grand Canyon and the regal Washington Monument. Along the way, our families and our viewers will also discover quirky American landmarks ranging from the World’s Largest Chair to a sneaker the size of a car. Although family fun is the centerpiece of the show, the competition is real and one family will be eliminated each week based on their performance in the challenges. Ultimately, only one family will return home with a dream prize that perfectly compliments their extraordinary and memorable summer vacation.
“The Philanthropist” chronicles the heroic adventures of a billionaire playboy turned vigilante philanthropist. James Purefoy (“Rome”) stars as Teddy Rist, a successful tycoon whose life is forever changed after rescuing a young boy during a hurricane in the Nigerian town he was visiting. Rist is spontaneous and impulsive and quickly decides to channel his passion, power and money into helping those in need.
Rist’s actions are not just about helping others – he is purging his soul to help exorcise the inner demons which have been festering ever since his young son died and he lost everything he truly loved. Since the death of his son, the danger and risk to his life is the only way he can feel genuinely alive and he’ll do anything in order to achieve his goals.
A man who has everything but can feel nothing, Rist keeps his adrenaline pumping by putting his business head and money-making skills to good use through bargaining with the self-righteous, making deals with drug barons and trading with the nefarious.
“The Philanthropist” boasts a heady cast of established and up-and-coming talent. Purefoy takes on the lead role of Teddy Rist, Jesse L. Martin (“Law & Order”) plays Teddy’s business partner and friend, Philip Maidstone, and Neve Campbell (“Burn Up”) plays Olivia, Philip’s wife who also runs the charitable foundation set up by the two billionaires.
Purefoy, Martin and Campbell are supported by a tremendous line up of names from both sides of the Atlantic including Lindy Booth (“The 4400”), Michael Kenneth Williams (“The Wire”), Krista Allen (“The Starter Wife”) and newcomer James Albrecht.
From Universal Media Studios, “The Philanthropist” is a Carnival Films production in association with The Levinson/Fontana Company and Original Media. Tom Fontana, Barry Levinson, Peter Horton, Charlie Corwin, Gareth Neame and Teri Weinberg serve as executive producers.
“Merlin” is a new 13-part drama series that updates the story of the infamous sorcerer of Arthurian legend for a new audience in the mythical city of Camelot, in a time before history began. In this fantastical realm, Merlin is a young man gifted with extraordinary magical powers who arrives in the kingdom and quickly makes enemies, including the heir to Uther’s crown, the headstrong Prince Arthur. But guided by Uther’s wise physician, Gaius, Merlin is soon using his talents not just to survive but also to unlock Camelot’s mystical secrets.
Starring Colin Morgan as Merlin, Bradley James as Prince Arthur, Anthony Head as King Uther, Richard Wilson as Gaius, Katie McGrath as Morgana and Angel Coulby as Gwen, “Merlin” is an imaginative new twist on a legend that is as old as time. “Merlin” was created and produced by Shine Television (executive-produced by Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps) for the BBC and FremantleMedia Enterprises. FME holds the exclusive licensing, home entertainment (excluding U.K.) and distribution rights to “Merlin” and has invested in the series alongside Shine Television and BBC One.
“The Listener” centers on Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik, “The Timekeeper”), a 25-year-old paramedic who has a big secret — he’s a telepath. Until now, Toby kept his ability hidden, exploring its possibilities only with his long time mentor and confidant, Dr. Ray Mercer (Colm Feore, “24: Redemption”). As he makes the rounds with his energetic paramedic partner — “Oz” Bey (Ennis Esmer, “Young People F*#king”), “The Listener” follows Toby as he tries to help people in crisis, and in the process, unravel the truth about his past. While his professional life is in check, Toby’s personal life could use its own rescue. And with the help of Detective Charlie Marks (Lisa Marcos, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”) and his E.R. doctor/ex-girlfriend Olivia Fawcett (Mylène Dinh-Robic, “Da Vinci’s City Hall”), Toby realizes his gift can help others.
“The Listener” was developed by award-winning Shaftesbury Films and Canadian broadcaster CTV and produced in association with CTV, FIC and NBC. The executive producers include: International Emmy Award winner Christina Jennings and Scott Garvie for Shaftesbury Films; Michael Amo (“Blessed Stranger: After Flight 111”); Tom Chehak (“ReGenesis”) and Clement Virgo (“Poor Boy’s Game”). “The Listener” is distributed internationally by Shine-Reveille.
“America’s Got Talent” — NBC’s hit summer series from “American Idol” producers FremantleMedia North America and Simon Cowell’s SYCO Television — returns with the hottest performers from across the country ready to compete in the blockbuster reality show’s fourth season. The multi-talented entertainer-producer-comedian Nick Cannon joins as the new host. The series will continue to be presided over by the explosive combination of celebrity judges Sharon Osbourne, Piers Morgan and David Hasselhoff. With the talent search open to acts of all ages, “America’s Got Talent” has brought the variety format back to the forefront of American culture by showcasing performers from across the country — all hoping to win America’s hearts and the $1 million prize. As a result, the series is a true celebration of the American spirit.
“America’s Got Talent” is produced by FremantleMedia North America and Simon Cowell’s SYCO Television. Cowell, Cecile Frot-Coutaz (“American Idol”), Jason Raff (“Clash of the Choirs”), James Sunderland (“Dancing on Ice”) and Scott St. John (“Deal or No Deal”) serve as executive producers.
In “Meteor,” two massive rocks, tumbling debris older than the solar system itself, collide in space. The course has been altered. The target is Earth. In a remote observatory, Dr. Lehman (Emmy winner Christopher Lloyd, “Back to the Future”), discovers a meteor approximately three times the size of Mount Everest barreling its way towards Earth. His devoted young assistant Imogene O’Neill (Marla Sokoloff, “The Practice”) feverishly types in the coordinates only to find the previously identified meteor named Kassandra is headed their way. It’s only the beginning of their troubles as showers of smaller meteorites begin to lay waste to major cities around the globe.
The impending disaster brings out the best and the worst sides in people as they cope by either lending a helping hand or taking advantage of the situation. In a small California town, a Police Chief (Golden Globe Nominee Stacy Keach, “Prison Break”) struggles to calm a panicky group of citizens. Miles away, his son Jack, a detective (Golden Globe nominee Billy Campbell, “Once and Again”), finds himself caught in the middle of the most difficult arrest of his career with the ill-timed transfer of a very dangerous psychopath named Stark (Michael Rooker, “JFK”). Then there’s the skeptical Dr. Chetwyn (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Jason Alexander, “Seinfeld”) who may be the only chance Lehman and O’Neill have to get their findings to the proper authorities in time to deflect Kassandra.
Time is running out in “Meteor,” in which eye-popping effects, explosive human drama, and hair-raising action combine to create a suspenseful, thrilling and dramatic new miniseries event from RHI Entertainment.
In “The Storm,” also from RHI Entertainment, billionaire Robert Terrell (Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Treat Williams, “Everwood”) has fulfilled a lifelong obsession and made history with “weather creation” technology though his Atmospheric Research Institute. But during a test run, a blast of energy is sent into the ionosphere with unexpected results. The experiments hurtle the planet towards destruction-hurricanes change course, winds go instantly from hot to cold, torrential rains bring regions to a standstill, and buildings crumble into ruins under explosive lightening storms. It’s only the beginning.
Only one scientist, Dr. Jonathan Kirk (James Van Der Beek, “Dawson’s Creek”), steps forward to demand that the system be terminated. Terrell is undeterred and continues to push his team to move forward. His motives for the initially philanthropic technology is in truth far more opportunistic. With government cohort, Army General Braxton (David James Elliott, “JAG”), Terrell envisions the technology as a key military weapon to ensure super power status.
Realizing he’s powerless to stop the project by himself, Kirk contacts news reporter Danni Wilson (Teri Polo, “Meet the Parents”) with plans to expose Terrell and explain the catastrophic weather to a bewildered and frightened world. It’s a task that won’t come easy, as Kirk quickly discovers the motives and loyalties of authorities are not in his favor. As devastating and extreme weather events hammer down on every corner of the Earth, it will be a race against time to shut down the system before the edge of extinction.
Featuring a cast of television favorites including Emmy Winner John Larroquette (“Boston Legal”), Luke Perry (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) and Marisol Nichols (“24”), “The Storm” is the ultimate tale of man against nature and an epic miniseries event posing a tantalizing and terrifying what-if scenario.
In the eighth season of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” on USA, Oscar and Emmy nominee Jeff Goldblum joined the cast that includes Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, Julianne Nicholson and Eric Bogosian. Goldblum plays Zach Nichols, a detective born and bred on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The series takes viewers into the minds of its criminals while following the psychological approaches the Major Case Squad uses to solve its worst offenses. The squad investigates high-profile homicide cases, often involving some of the cities most high-powered people, including local government officials, the financial sect as well as celebrities. Guest stars this season include Academy Award nominee Lynn Redgrave (“Gods and Monsters”), Eric Balfour (“24”), Shawn Hatosy (“Numb3rs”), Piper Perabo (“Coyote Ugly”) and Janel Moloney (“The West Wing”)
A summary of NBC’s new summer lineup follows (new series capitalized; all times ET):
MONDAY, JUNE 1
“I’M A CELEBRITY…GET ME OUT OF HERE!” — premiere (8-9 p.m.)
“Medium” season finale (10-11 p.m.)
TUESDAY, JUNE 2
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” — season finale (10-11 p.m.)
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3
“Law & Order” — season finale (10-11 p.m.)
THURSDAY, JUNE 4
“THE LISTENER” — premiere (10-11 p.m.)
SUNDAY, JUNE 7 and JUNE 14
“METEOR” — miniseries (9-11 p.m.)
MONDAY, JUNE 8
“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (NBC season premiere; 9-10 p.m.)
“Dateline NBC” (10-11 p.m.)
SUNDAY, JUNE 21
“MERLIN” (premiere 8-10 p.m.; June 28 airs 8-10 p.m.; July 5 resumes regular time 8-9 p.m.)
TUESDAY, JUNE 23 and WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24
“AMERICA’S GOT TALENT” (9-10 p.m. both nights)
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24
“THE PHILANTHROPIST” – premieres (10-11 p.m.)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 1
“GREAT AMERICAN ROAD TRIP” — premieres (8-9 p.m.)
SATURDAY, JULY 4
“MACY’S 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR” (9-10 p.m.)
SUNDAY, JULY 19 and SUNDAY, JULY 26
“THE STORM” – miniseries (9-11 p.m.)
# # #
NBC Universal press release, via Sci Fi Wire