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NBC bets on big names for fall

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Welcome back to NBC, Matthew Perry. The network pulled an Etch A Sketch on its prime-time schedule last week to make way for a new crop of fall comedies and dramas, including Go On, starring Friends‘ Perry (last starring on the small screen in ABC’s Mr. Sunshine) as a charming sportscaster. Also in the comedy hopper: Save Me, starring Men in TreesAnne Heche as a housewife who goes through a spiritual transformation; Animal Kingdom, which stars Justin Kirk as a House-like veterinarian; the White House-set 1600 Penn (with Bill Pullman as the prez); and The New Normal, a comedy from Glee guru Ryan Murphy that stars The Hangover‘s Justin Bartha and The Book of Mormon‘s Andrew Rannells as a gay couple who turn to a surrogate to help them have children. On the drama side, the Peacock looks to replace holes left behind by failed series like Prime Suspect and The Playboy Club with Revolution, a new adventure thriller from J.J. Abrams that focuses on a family struggling to survive in a postapocalyptic world of empty cities and local militias, starring Giancarlo Esposito and Andrea Roth. (Not to be confused with ABC’s doomed daytime talk show featuring Tim Gunn.) More series orders will be unveiled leading up to NBC’s fall presentation to advertisers, which is scheduled for May 14; other projects with good buzz include a scripted sitcom from Jimmy Fallon and an FBI conspiracy thriller starring Julia Stiles and Titus Welliver. Talk has not been so positive, however, about the future of struggling shows Whitney, Are You There, Chelsea?, and Harry’s Law.

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