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NBC Announces Dwayne Johnson Comedy and Jimmy Fallon-Led Musical Variety Series

TCA: NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy declined to discuss details about the company's investigation into its "America's Got Talent" controversy.

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson speaks during a hand print ceremony for Kevin Hart at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA, 10 December 2019.

NINA PROMMER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

NBC’s slate of upcoming television shows includes “Young Rock,” a comedy about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s childhood, and a Jimmy Fallon-led musical variety series titled “That’s My Jam.”

NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy discussed a variety of the network’s new and returning series during the network’s executive session at the Television Critics Association’s 2020 Winter Press Tour in Pasadena Saturday morning. Chief among those announcements were “Young Rock,” which will be executive produced by Nahnatchka Khan, Johnson, Jeff Chiang, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Jennifer Carreras. Though the single-cam series will focus on Johnson’s younger years, the actor will appear in each episode. The show will be produced by Universal Television, Seven Bucks Productions and Fierce Baby Productions.

Telegdy also announced “That’s My Jam,” which will premiere shortly after the 2020 Summer Olympics. The hourlong primetime comedy variety series was inspired by the popular celebrity musical segments from “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and will feature classic and new musical games.

Returning NBC shows include crafts-making series “Making It,” which stars Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, and “New Amsterdam,” a medical drama starring Ryan Eggold, Janet Montgomery, Freema Agyeman, and Jocko Sims. The former series was renewed for a third season, while “New Amsterdam” was renewed for three years, through the 2022-23 season. Telegdy also noted that Ellen DeGeneres’ holiday event series “Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways” was a ratings hit and confirmed that it was renewed for a new season.

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Looking forward, Telegdy also announced “The New World,” a 10-part series from BBC Studios Natural History Unit that will air in 2024. The series, executive produced by Mike Gunton (“Life,” “Dynasties”) will explore the wilderness and wildlife of North America, Central America, and South America. “The New World” marks NBC’s first venture into natural history documentaries.

NBC is also continuing to work on live events; the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo that NBC will air was one of several live tentpoles that the company played up during its TCA day. Poehler opened the morning by revealing that she and Tina Fey would return to host the Golden Globes in 2021. Telegdy also noted that NBC, like other networks, will continue airing live musicals but said it was too early to discuss specifics.

Beyond the official announcements, Telegdy said the long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives” would “carry on” in the future, but didn’t offer a timeframe or say anything official about the series. The show is currently on indefinite hiatus.

Telegdy addressed several controversies NBC was embroiled in last year, primarily the ongoing “America’s Got Talent” investigation. Former panelist Gabrielle Union was fired from “America’s Got Talent” after she alleged it had a racist and toxic workplace culture, prompting NBC to investigate the show in December 2019. Though Telegdy declined to discuss the details of the investigation, he noted that it would likely conclude near the end of January.

Telegdy also received a question on the “Saturday Night Live” hiring of comedian Shane Gillis, who was quickly fired after his prior use of racial slurs in his comedy was discovered. Telegdy referred to the “Saturday Night Live” controversy as a learning experience and said they would “rightly be accountable” going forward.

While it was a busy morning for network announcements, Telegdy did not offer many new details about NBCUniversal’s upcoming Peacock streaming service, which will release sometime in April. NBCUniversal will share new Peacock deals — which will presumably include a release date, pricing tiers, and series announcements — during a press event Thursday, Jan. 16. Though Telegdy did not discuss potential upcoming Peacock series, he name-dropped Fallon while noting that NBCUniversal’s various talent would be involved in upcoming Peacock projects. Is the late night funnyman bringing his talents to the upcoming streaming service? Stay tuned.

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