It’s Thursday, which means that it’s time for my weekly Adweek Throwback Thursday column. In honor of tonight’s Peter Pan Live! (which could turn out to be as big of a disaster as the fishnet and spandex that makes up Allison Williams’ Peter Pan costume), I revisited promos from various live programs, including my favorite “live” promo, for ER’s live episode in 1997.
The show was at its creative peak, and this fantastic promo captured all its glory. Old episode footage was filmed as it played on a monitor, setting a dramatic, nail-biting tone punctuated by ace voiceover work from maestro Don LaFontaine.
See, “anything can happen. Anything!” (Quick question: Is the “Oh My God!” you hear in this clip the same one used in every single ER promo, or did they actually record a new one each time?) Alas, the episode itself was a dramatic dud, but the promo had more than done its job.
I also unearthed promos from 30 Rock’s (second) live episode, a long-forgotten Jon Lovitz Fox special from 1992, and 2008’s so-awful-it-can-never-be-forgotten Rosie Live.
The news that NBC is developing a weekly live sitcom called Hospitality took many by surprise, but not me. During TCA summer press tour, I had chatted with NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt, who told me this summer that he had been looking to do just that. As I wrote at Quartz,
“We do it with sporting events, music competition shows and reality shows. There’s a lot of live things on television,” Greenblatt told Quartz in July. “The Today show is live every day; The Tonight Show is taped within hours of its broadcast. There’s a lot of immediacy, but not in scripted programming. So we’ve been talking about doing a live sitcom. We just have to find the right show.”
If the show ends up on the air, it will be the first weekly live primetime series since Fox’s Roc in 1992, which not coincidentally was overseen by Greenblatt, who oversaw Fox’s primetime programming at the time.