Even though NBC won’t make its official announcements for the 2011-2012 season until Monday, the network has followed in the vein of FOX by announcing some early pilot pickups. It now looks like next year’s lineup will include Prime Suspect, Whitney, Smash and Up All Night.

Deadline.com reported the pickups on Wednesday evening. All four of the new shows are “in-house” productions, from Universal Media Studios, indicating that that was NBC’s first go-to location for pickup decisions.

The four new shows all have an obvious female-oriented slant. Prime Suspect is an adaptation of the successful British crime drama (originally starring Oscar-winner Helen Mirren) which will feature Maria Bello in the starring role. Whitney is a sitcom with a romantic bent, starring comedian Whitney Cummings. Smash is NBC’s answer to Glee: the show has a Broadway theme, thereby taking the musical-comedy genre to new heights. Debra Messing is set to star in the show, which is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg (because when you think “musical comedy,” of course you think Spielberg). The final show, newly-named Up All Night, will be a sitcom starring Christina Applegate.

As NBC is currently lacking much in the way of hit shows, there should be plenty of room for new series in the fall. This leaves hope for the many remaining pilots that NBC can choose next week. These include the much-talked-about Wonder Woman, dramas like REM, The Playboy Club, Grimm, Metro and Reconstruction and comedies like whatever they’re planning to call the Chelsea Handler sitcom.

It looks like returning shows may also need to wait until Monday before they learn their fates. Of scripted shows, only Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has the ratings to ensure another season. Rumors surfaced on Wednesday that Chuck would be getting at least a 13-episode fifth season, but the networks other bubble shows, most notably Parenthood and Law &  Order: Los Angeles, remain in doubt.

Are you looking forward to any of NBC’s new shows? What do you expect to see on the network in the fall? Do you think that any of these will be a hit for the struggling network? Leave your comments below!

(Images courtesy of WENN)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.