Raza Jaffrey Stars in NBC’s “Smash”

Did anyone catch the premiere of the new NBC drama Smash? It debuted on Monday after a multi-million dollar promotional campaign and many hope that it will be the hit show NBC desperately needs. The hour-long musical drama is about the creation of a Broadway show based on the life of  Marilyn Monroe and is produced by Steven Spielberg.

British actor Raza Jaffrey plays Dev Sundaram, the live-in boyfriend of main character/Broadway actress Karen Cartwright (played by former American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee). Jaffrey’s best known for his role as Zafar Younis in the BBC drama Spooks.

From his character’s mini-bio on the show’s official website:

Devan “Dev” Sundaram was born in Wimbledon in the United Kingdom, but has split his time with relatives in Queens for much of his life and has lived in New York City for several years. With a B.A. in Classics and Political Science from Oxford University and M.A.s in Communications (from Columbia University) and International Relations and Journalism (from NYU), Dev has worked as Deputy Press Secretary in Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s office since 2010. He lives in Lower Manhattan with his girlfriend, Karen Cartwright.

Masters degrees plural. Of course. It will be interesting to see how the show portrays New York’s South Asian community and, since the show films in New York, to see if they visit any notable landmarks. I also wonder if there will be any subplots involving the character’s relatives in Queens. I only caught a few minutes of the episode, so I don’t have an opinion on the show yet. The entire pilot episode can be seen here.

 

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“Outsourced” gets picked up by NBC

Exciting news out of Hollywood for sitcom fans: a show set in India will be on network television this fall.

Outsourced, a sitcom about an American manager who has been transferred to India to run his company’s call center, has been picked up by NBC. The show is based on the 2006 movie of the same name. (The film garnered mostly positive reviews, earning a 78% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes.)

Via Headline Planet, here’s NBC’s synopsis of the show:

“Outsourced” is a comedy where the Midwest meets the exotic East in a hilarious culture clash. The series centers on the all-American company Mid America Novelties that sells whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon — and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India. Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway’s “The Gingerbread House”) is the new company’s manager who learns that he’s being transferred to India to run the operation.

Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world. But as strange as America seems to his eclectic sales team, Todd soon realizes that figuring out India will be more than a full-time job. Rizwan Manji (“Privileged”), Sacha Dhawan (BBC’s “Five Days II”), Rebecca Hazlewood (BBC’s “Doctors”), Parvesh Cheena (“Help Me Help You”), and Anisha Nagarajan (Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”) also star as members of Dempsy’s off-shore team; Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”) and Jessica Gower (Network Ten’s “The Secret Life of Us”) additionally star.

While the show’s storyline is certainly timely, Deadline.com’s Nellie Andreeva wonders if America is ready for a show centered on outsourcing. She writes:

By tackling such a touchy subject, NBC is guaranteed free publicity because of the inevitable controversy over its new comedy series. And that may distinguish it in next fall’s cluttered landscape where more than 90% of new shows fail.

Do you think Outsourced will appeal to the same niche audience that gravitates towards NBC shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation? And has anyone seen the movie this show is based on?

Hat tip: Actor Parvesh Cheena’s Twitter feed (@Parvesh)