See the Stars of This Is Us, The Good Place, Will & Grace, and More Jam to Prince
Before audiences settle in to watch a slow-cooker-induced tragedy in the post-Super Bowl episode of This Is Us, at least they’ll have a few moments of joy with members of the Pearson family. Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley are among the stars NBC enlisted to groove to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” in a flashy new promo directed by Spike Lee, which Vanity Fair is debuting exclusively.
After brief banter from the cast of Will & Grace, the fourth wall comes down, and Jennifer Lopez kicks things off by uttering the Purple One’s immortal words: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” Then everyone goes, well, crazy. The Good Place group has some excellent dance moves. Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T croon next to a corpse. Even Seth Meyers sings a lyric. (Well, “sings” may be generous.)
“We just want to go big and show that the network has a cool vibe and a bit of a sense of humor—but that we all are part of this big whole,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt tells Vanity Fair. “It’s so exciting to us when we see everybody take part in something like this.”
This isn’t the first time NBC has gathered its casts together for a massive musical enterprise. When the network aired the Super Bowl back in 2012, it produced a spot set to a reworked version of “Brotherhood of Man” from the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which functions almost as a mini 30 Rock episode. The six-year-old ad is now something of a time capsule for TV obsessives. Alec Baldwin—in character as Jack Donaghy—welcomes the “newest member of the NBC family,” Smash, a series that still has a cult-like fandom despite its ultimately short life. Later, there’s a disorienting flashback to when Donald Trump was still just the star of The Celebrity Apprentice.
“Brotherhood” arrived just about a year after Greenblatt assumed his role, when the network was struggling in the ratings. “Everything was an emergency back then, and we were just trying to figure out how to pull the network up. And now there’s no chaos. It’s a very calm, steady place to be,” Greenblatt says. At the end of last year, NBC comfortably triumphed over the other major broadcasters in the 18-49 demo. “Six years later, it’s not exactly the message of, ‘Oh we’re a great network. Please look at us as a cohesive group of shows!’ But it’s just a really fun place to be.”
For the 2018 update, showtunes were swapped for a nod to the game’s location this year in Prince’s hometown. The Roots remixed the Purple Rain song for these purposes. “It just made sense that we would do something that had some Minneapolis and Prince presence,” Greenblatt explains. “Not that we’re doing this as a tribute or anything, but it’s a really fun song. The theme of it is fun. We knew all the actors would get on board. Spike Lee loved it; obviously he was a big part of this.”
The exec adds that NBC is making use of the platform it has throughout the evening, noting that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will make a special announcement during Sunday’s live installment of The Tonight Show, which will also feature halftime performer Justin Timberlake.
As for that This Is Us episode? Greenblatt deems it “extraordinary,” and urges us to expect the unexpected: “I will also say, very teasingly: the last two minutes, there’s another surprise twist.” Did you really expect anything less?
Article originally posted on Vanity Fair