How ‘Gravity’ Boosts Alfonso Cuaron’s NBC Show ‘Believe’

Show will debut amid Oscar hype for space epic

NBC has lucked into good timing: “Believe,” its new drama from J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron, will debut amid awards season hype for Cuaron’s astronaut epic “Gravity.”

Free advertising doesn’t come much better than the kind NBC will get if “Gravity,” as expected, is a serious Oscar threat. Though countless Oscar nominees and winners have moved into television, very few have done so while they had a film in contention. Cuaron wrote “Gravity” with his son, Jonas, and hopes to be closely involved with the NBC series he created with Mark Friedman.

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“He will be as involved as he possibly can,” said NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke in an interview with TheWrap. “We’re lucky that some of the launch of the show will coincide with him being here for the Golden Globes and other various events potentially, so we’re going to maximize his connection to the show. He’s very attached to the show. It’s his idea.”

NBC executives met last week about how to promote “Believe,” which does not yet have a premiere date. The “Gravity” success will, if nothing else, allow the network to herald the show as coming “from the creator of ‘Gravity.’”

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NBC won’t be shy about noting Abrams’ record, either: He’s the director of the new “Star Trek” films and co-creator of “Lost,” among other shows. But “Star Trek: Into Darkness” is no Oscar contender; “Gravity” is.

Cuaron and Abrams are collaborating on “Believe” with fellow executive producer and Dave Erickson, who took over as showrunner after Friedman exited the show in July. “Believe” focuses on a girl with supernatural powers who is under the protection of an escaped death row inmate, wrongfully convicted of murder. Cuaron directed the pilot.

“He’s a very thoughtful director and obviously ‘Gravity’ is breaking through because it has such a specific feel to it,” Salke said. “I credit Alfonso with most of that. He has the same sort of connection to this show.”