Bionic Woman, Isaiah Washington

Alan Zenuk/NBC, Jean Baptiste Lacroix/

Jen here, reporting from the NBC exec session at TCA.

First Look:

  • Isaiah Washington hired to guest on five of the first six Bionic Woman eps.
  • Jerry Seinfeld guests on season premiere of 30 Rock as part of his Bee Movie promotion. Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin are totally coming back to 30 Rock, so no worries. (P.S. Do you hear they may be writing Tracy’s real-life ankle bracelet into the show?)
  • The Office and Heroes Web products are apparently “huge” for the Peacock.
  • TV legend Norman Lear coming out of retirement to TV to shepherd young writer Nina Colman through the telling “the story of a gender battle.“ It’s on the “fast track,” and they’re talking to A-list actors.
  • The Apprentice is back. Mixing it up with a celebrities-playing-for-charity twist.

In-Depth Dish from the Dias:

Bionic Management: NBC chair Ben Silverman rationalizes hiring Isaiah Washington: “He’s a wonderful actor and a great performer, and he became available. I started talking to him before he became available. And he told me was available. And I was like, You are? They let you go? I didn’t really understand what went on there.“

Washington’s going to be playing a great character yadda yadda whatever. Silverman is not concerned that a segment of the audience could be alienated by his appearance on the series. Huh. Writers met with Isaiah and adjusted an existing role for him; he plays a quasi-governmental operative who wants Jamie Sommers to embrace and enhance her bionicity. Ben and Isaiah had dinner together; Ben knows him through a mutual friend and admires his charity work in Africa; Ben told me that he would not reconsider the decision if there were to be a backlash against the hiring. And there you have it...

Economical Lights: According to Silverman, Friday Night Lights is cheap enough that even with a “lower ratings base” it is “less expensive than Heroes, for example.” “Austerity” is apparently the order of the day for Friday Night Lights. Feel free to send your financial support to Kyle Chandler via check or money order.

Reality Shows? Per Ben Silverman, the Monday night fantasy/sci fi lineup of Chuck, Heroes and Journeyman is not about fantasy/sci fi. (Heaven forfend!) He says all three of those shows are grounded in character. “Chuck has a bit of the quarter-life [crisis] going on.” He says Heroes showed there is a massive appetite for that kind of fantasy show. Journeyman is a love triangle with an immortality storyline running through it.

NBC’s comedy ratings on Thursday do, in fact, kind of suck, but the all-important young person demographics rock, so they’re cool with that lineup slouching along for a while.

Quote of the Moment

“Peace is something we believe in.” —Silverman

Korbi'll be by later this afternoon with the report from the NBC Comedies panel, in the meantime, tell us how you really feel about this Isaiah thing. Will it affect whether or not you watch Bionic Woman?

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