BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — A roundup of news from the Television Critics Association summer meeting, at which TV networks and streaming services are presenting details on upcoming programs.
ANSWERS FOR US
The details of a tragedy looming over “This Is Us” will be revealed in season two.
Dan Fogelman, creator of NBC’s time-shifting hit drama series, said the circumstances about the death of doting family man Jack will be part of the show’s sophomore season that begins Sept. 26.
“If that is a question that is haunting people, in the course of the second season” they’ll get the answers they need and more, Fogelman told reporters Thursday, surrounded by the show’s ensemble cast including Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jack.
His character’s ultimate fate — but not how he meets it — has been a key part of the show that travels between the past and present of Jack, wife Rebecca (Mandy Moore), their three children and family circle.
Fogelman said the season’s first episode will create “some momentum” toward filling in the blanks about Jack’s death. But characters who die are revisited in the show’s era-hopping that’s intended to illustrate how “the past influences the present,” he said.
“Jack has been dead the entire season, and he’s nominated for an Emmy,” Fogelman said, wryly.
The hit drama earned 11 Emmy nominations for next month’s ceremony, including acting nods for Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz and Ron Cephas Jones. Its best-drama series bid is the first for a broadcast network show since CBS’ “The Good Wife” in 2011.
WILLING MORE ‘WILL & GRACE’
The revival of “Will & Grace” has yet to air, but NBC says it’s getting at least a second season. NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt cited an “outpouring of love” from fans of the original series in making the announcement. He said he was glad to have the show on for a minimum of two years, opening the door to more.
The NBC executive appeared with returning cast members Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally.
The original, Emmy-winning series aired from 1998 to 2006. It was regarded as revolutionary because of the way it helped promote acceptance and gay rights.
This iteration will also use comedy to reflect the times.
“I think that still, first and foremost, (it) is the job to be funny,” said McCormack. “Will that include political and cultural things? Of course it will.”
Hayes, however, wanted to rein in expectations that the objective will be to tackle the Trump era.
“Our show is not a news show. Our show is a situation comedy,” he said.
Despite that, it was politics that brought them together and sparked the idea of a reboot.
Last September, the cast took part in a nearly 10-minute video that was released before the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Its message: Vote for Clinton.
Mullally said just reading the script for that short made her want more.
“I emailed (co-creator) Max (Mutchnick), and I said, ‘Why can’t we do the show again?’ And he emailed right back, ‘We can.'”
The “Will & Grace” reboot debuts Sept. 28.
INJUSTICE FOR THE BROTHERS?
TV producer Dick Wolf says he thinks Eric and Lyle Menendez got a harsh sentence when they were convicted of killing their parents in 1996.
Wolf is producing an eight-episode miniseries for NBC called “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.” He told reporters that the brothers should probably have been let out of jail eight to 10 years ago and convicted of first degree manslaughter, which has less moral blame, rather than murder.
The show is said to explore new aspects of the case that the public isn’t aware of. The first in a new anthology series from Wolf, it also stars Edie Falco, Josh Charles and Heather Graham.
NBC aims to boost the number of female directors on its shows. The network announced a new initiative called “Female Forward,” which will give 10 female directors the opportunity to shadow up to three episodes of a scripted NBC series, culminating in a commitment to direct at least one episode of the series she shadows.
The initiative is spearheaded by NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke in partnership with director Lesli Linka Glatter (“Mad Men,” ”Homeland” and “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”).
Salke told reporters “there’s a huge drought in female directors, and we were determined to do something about that.”
“Female Forward” will begin with NBC’s 2018-19 season.
TAKE A MEMO
Steve Harvey says he learned two things after catching heat for a leaked memo.
In an email to his staff for “The Steve Harvey Show,” the comedian cautioned coworkers not to approach him in the makeup chair or “ambush” him in a hallway.
Harvey told reporters that he realized, in his words, he can’t write and he should never write. Harvey, who was promoting his new, Los Angeles-based syndicated show titled “Steve,” called himself a congenial guy.
The email, which Harvey said was a year old, was obtained and posted in May by Chicago media blogger Robert Feder.
Harvey compared his request to a parent asking his kids for a few moments alone at the end of the workday.
His daytime talk show debuts Sept. 5.
Associated Press Writers Lynn Elber, Frazier Moore and Alicia Rancilio contributed to this report.