Is NBC’s new comedy Parks and Recreation in trouble even before it debuts? The raw pilot for the Amy Poehler vehicle by the producers behind The Office was recently screened for test audiences, where it received largely negative reviews. The results of the focus group leaked on the internet over the weekend.
Parks and Recreation is scheduled to premiere on April 9. If any changes are going to be made to the pilot based on the focus group’s responses, the producers will need to scramble. Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily details some of the findings here. The biggest complaint seems to be that the show is a derivative Office clone. They didn’t need to get an entire focus group; I’ve only seen the promos and I could’ve told them that.
The pilot also suffers from poorly-developed characters, no appealing or “datable” male characters, and slow pacing. The test audience also thought there was a lack of clear motivation behind the documentary framing device.
NBC entertainment chief Ben Silverman dismissed the results, telling EW that negative responses to rough cuts are common. “If you had seen the initial research on all of ours and our competitors’ successful shows, it tends to be like that.” However, this is the same man who thinks five hours of Jay Leno at the 10:00 pm hour instead of original scripted programming is a brilliant idea. How does Silverman still have a job?
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