TCA: NBC swears 'Allegiance' isn't just like 'The Americans'

These spies are played by Hope Davis and Scott Cohen, not Keri Russell and Matthew RhCraig Blankenhorn

An early morning executive session with Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC entertainment, and Jefnnifer Salke, president of NBC entertainment, revealed a few new moves for the network. For one, Eva Longoria is returning to series regular work on a show called “Telenovela.” She’ll produce and star in the show, which will be a single camera comedy series that takes place behind the scenes of a telenovela.

 

It’s not the only move recognizing the greater influence of Latino audiences. The network also has a drama premiering in June called “Shades of Blue,” which will star Jennifer Lopez. Greeblatt called it a dark cop show, and Lopez will play a single mother who works undercover for the FBI’s corruption task force.

 

There will also be a new series starring David Duchovny called “Aquarius,” which takes place in the ’60s and follows Duchovny as he follows a missing teenage girl who’s gotten mixed up with Charles Manson.

 

For “Downton Abbey” fans, Greenblatt also announced that NBC is moving forward with a show from Julian Fellowes, who currently writes every episode of the show. He’ll be creating a show called “The Gilded Age,” which follows a group of 1880s millionaire titans in New York, and their “brilliant ascents and calamitious falls,” as Greenblatt put it.

 

One thing you won’t see? Anything from Bill Cosby. Greenblatt confirmed the network wouldn’t work with him again, and then got into a slightly heated back and forth with a reporter who asked just how much it took before they weren’t willing to work with him anymore. Greenblatt pointed out, “There’s a lot of people who’ve been in business with Cosby for 25 years,” then swiftly moved on.

The first show panel of the day was for “Allegiance,” NBC’s “we swear it’s not just like ‘The Americans' on FX” show. It follows a family of sleeper agents in American whose Russian handlers want them to recruit their son, who works for the CIA.

“Watch one or two episodes and I think it’s very clear that we’re going in a different direction. This is a family drama about people who really do not want to be spies,” says creator George Nolfi.

Star Scott Cohen pointed out that one of the biggest differences is that the show takes place in a post- 9/11 world, while Gavin Stenhouse, who plays the CIA agent son, pointed to the way many shows have similar premises, but appeal for different reasons.

Hope Davis impressed the crowd when, in response to a question about whether she was learning her Russian lines phonetically or learning the language, she said a few things in Russian, then smirked and wouldn’t admit what she’d said. Co-star Margarita Levieva is Russian-born, and talked a little bit about her choice to take on the role.

“It definitely felt like one of those roles that comes once in a while that you’re born to play. … Because I’m a Russian actress, I do get a lot of Russian roles, but I don’t do many of them because I feel that they’re written in a very superficial way.”

 
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