The characters in NBC’s Good Girls are anything but.
“It’s a show with three interesting people as the leads, and they happen to be badass women,” Mae Whitman, who plays Annie, told reporters at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday.
Premiering February 26, the show also stars Retta and Christina Hendricks as lifelong friends in desperate need of money who rob a grocery store with toy guns and set off down a complicated, comedic path of crime.
With an underlying theme of moral judgement and justification, the show is driven by the chemistry and comradery between the actresses, and the idea of women being forced into a corner and taking their power back.
“The blend of comedy and desperation is a fun tightrope we get to walk each episode,” said Executive Producer Jenna Bans, part of the all-female panel.
On a note of female empowerment, NBC also revealed it’s now accepting applications for its “Female Forward” training program for women directors.
The initiative from NBC President Jennifer Salke and director Lesli Linka Glatter (Mad Men, Homeland) will give 10 budding directors the opportunity to shadow a NBC director on three episodes, with the commitment to direct at least one episode from the series.
Salke called it a “game changing move that will give these women an actual credit to walk away with” as part of an effort to increase diversity and gender parity across the network.
The launch of upcoming musical drama Rise from Jason Katims (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) also inspired NBC’s R.I.S.E. (Recognizing and Inspiring Student Expression) America program that will provide half a million dollars to high school theater programs across the country. NBC has partnered with the Educational Theatre Foundation to award $10,000 to 50 high schools to fund enhancement and revitalization efforts.
Rise, premiering March 13, stars Damon J. Gillespie as a high school football player recruited by drama coach Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) for the musical “Spring Awakening.” The show also features Auli’i Cravalho (Moana).
“I really wanted this to be a show where as you watched it you were amazed to see the acting and the singing, but you also connected to what was going on with their characters,” Katims said.
USA’s Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. is another series that resonates as it digs into the murders of the two rappers while capturing the heart and spirit of their friendship and legacy.
Directed and executive produced by Anthony Hemingway, the series explores the people behind the public figures and accurately portrays their relationship. While it dramatic license was taken, “there are so many things in this story where people are going to say “did that really happen?” said Kyle Long, creator and executive producer.
Unsolved premieres February 27 at 10 p.m. on USA.
USA is also celebrating a wrestling milestone with the WWE Monday Night Raw: 25th Anniversary special on January 22, and NBC Sports is gearing up for this year’s Super Bowl LII.
Meanwhile, Syfy’s time-traveling Superman prequel Krypton, debuting March 21, follows Superman’s grandfather (Cameron Cuffe) as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his planet from chaos.
With a narrative that’s “very different than the back story most people know,” the series explores how the “S” got its meaning as fans “watch this symbol grow into something we all know and love,” said Geoff Johns, president and chief creative officer, DC Entertainment. “That’s the core of the show.”
“History could be changed,” added Executive Producer David S. Goyer.
E! also tackles sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood through Rose McGowan’s upcoming docuseries Citizen Rose.
“Women don’t have to sit in silence anymore and sit in fear, and Rose has been brave enough to come forward,” said Executive Producer Andrea Metz.
E! began working on the documentary in August, before news reports broke on the subject. It premieres January 30.
New NBC comedy A.P. Bio from Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels is also getting a digital debut on February 2, following a February sneak peek on NBC before the official premiere on February 25.
The show stars Glenn Howerton as a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who returns to his hometown of Toledo to teach biology, but instead uses the honor roll students for his own benefit. Patton Oswalt also stars as Principal Durbin, who struggles to control him.
Later this year, NBC will launch Champions staring Anders Holm (The Mindy Project, Workaholics), as Vince, who is living every bachelor’s dream with his naive younger brother Matthew (Andy Favreau, The Mick) and is on the verge of secretly selling the family gym and moving to Florida when his high school fling Priya (Mindy Kaling) drops off their 15-year-old son Michael (J.J. Totah, Other People, Spider-Man).
The series is created by Charlie Grandy and Kaling, both from The Office and The Mindy Project.