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    NBC's Awake Rises and Shines at TCA Winter Press Tour

    Jason Isaacs, Awake Lewis Jacobs/NBCJason Isaacs

    Awake—the smartest, most original and intriguing scripted new drama of 2012—is finally going to hit the airwaves.

    When?

    That's the question we've been asking since production was halted this fall so Awake producers could refine the fantasy crime procedural's intricate storyline about a cop (Jason Isaacs) straddling two different realities after a tragic car accident—one in which his wife survives; the other, his son.

    But thanks to NBC head honcho Bob Greenblatt, we have an answer:

    "We haven't found the right place to put it yet, but it's going to be on before the end of the season," Greenblatt promised reporters at today's TCA Winter Press Tour.

    OK, so we can't circle a specific premiere date on our calendar, but the cast and producers did dish enough scoop to satisfy our curiosity in the meantime…

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    "It's a really tricky show—the parallel worlds, the mix of crime versus personal stories," Greenblatt said, adding that the producers were "so smart" to ask for the hiatus. "They really wanted to get it right, and we didn't want to force it before it was ready."

    As "tricky" as the premise is, creator Kyle Killen emphasizes that no matter when viewers pick up Awake, "you're going to engage in it" because of its "procedural engine"—driven by Isaacs' Detective Michael Britten.

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    "It's not a mistake that his mind has come up with this [coping mechanism]—he's a great cop," Isaacs said. "Even if he didn't have these realities, he'd be a very good detective. He's not stupid. He knows somewhere he's making up one of the realities.

    "He's not ahead of the audience at all. You have the adventure with him."

    At the end of this season's 13-episode adventure, viewers will discover the truth about what really happened to Britten's family that tragic night.

    "It's a bit of a conspiracy thriller that loops around at the end, telling that story in the last two episodes," producer Howard Gordon told us. The season ends with "not so much a cliffhanger as actually an answer to a question that's posed in the pilot."

    (NBC and E! are both part of the NBCUniversal family)

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