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 HOLLYWOOD REPORTER The Miracle of 'The Voice'

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PostSubject: HOLLYWOOD REPORTER The Miracle of 'The Voice'   Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:33 pm

The Miracle of 'The Voice'

The fourth-place network (finally!) has a big, flashy hit as NBC's execs, talent and producers open up about the drama behind the talent show's making, why it works and how the Peacock could use this to plume its feathers once again.

Just two months ago, if NBC had been a craps table in Vegas, the dealer probably would have put on a coat -- the network's cold streak was that bad. But this spring, with new players from Comcast at the table, the network rolled the dice yet again on another big show, The Voice.
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•The Voice

This time, the wager would be record-setting and the odds long. For starters, it was another music competition -- and the broadcast graveyard is littered with them. (Anyone remember NBC's Grease: You're the One That I Want?)

At $2.3 million per episode, Voice was the costliest new unscripted series in NBC's history. But the network was starving for a hit, and Voice -- a huge success in Holland that had displaced the Dutch version of Idol and The X Factor as the country's top show -- seemed to show promise.

Installed in late January as NBC's new entertainment chairman, Robert Greenblatt -- cautious and contemplative by nature -- was impressed enough to place his bet.

STORY: NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt Shares His Plan to Rebuild the Network (Exclusive Q&A)

His instinct that the show might work was bolstered by the confidence of John de Mol, the Dutch media tycoon who had created The Voice of Holland. "When I went down to the set during the audition rounds, [John] said to me: 'This is going to work. It's absolutely going to be a hit,' " recalls Greenblatt. De Mol confirms that he wasn't just spinning. "How do you say this in English? I got chicken skin?" he says of those early performances. "Or is it goose bumps?"

That frisson made it all the way to the top. Hours before Voice was set to air for the first time on April 26, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke called Paul Telegdy, the network's head of alternative programming since January 2009. "This is all in the hands of the American viewing public," Burke told him, "but the show is excellent. So win or lose, you should be incredibly proud of the work that you've done."

Those were the words that Telegdy, who by some accounts had put his job on the line for Voice, wanted to hear. But the show still needed an audience. For that all-important 9 p.m. premiere, "coaches" Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton performed a rousing rendition of the Gnarls Barkley tune "Crazy" before seating themselves in outsized red chairs with their backs to the stage to hear the contestants and judge them, sight unseen. Encouragingly, the show quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter.
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