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'Hannibal': NBC Could Air The New Show As Soon As This Season

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NBC says "Hannibal" could premiere sooner than you think. | NBC

"Hannibal" may be hitting NBC sooner than we previously thought.

"Hannibal," one of NBC's most anticipated new projects, is the origin story for iconic serial killer Hannibal Lecter from "Pushing Daises" creator Bryan Fuller. At NBC's presentation for the 2013 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on Sunday, network chairman Robert Greenblatt hinted that the anticipated drama "might" make it to air by the end of the 2012-13 season, depending on how their other new series are received.

Greenblatt and Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment, wouldn't confirm whether the show would air in the summer or fall if all of NBC's other midseason projects were hits. Greenblatt admitted, "It could be a summer show -- you look at all the great cable shows that are on in the summer, it could fit very nicely. It's very well crafted."

A reporter at TCA questioned the sudden influx of violent shows based on serial killers this season (others include Fox's "The Following" and The CW's "Cult") -- especially given the recent tragedies in Aurora and Sandy Hook. Greenblatt and Salke were quick to downplay any link to TV violence and real-life events. "I don't know that you can make the cause and effect argument on that," Greenblatt said. "'Hannibal' is actually ... there's a lot of violence around the show, but you don't see a lot of acts of violence."

Salke agreed, adding, "[In 'Hannibal,'] the character you're following is the Will Graham character, who has to be pulled into these violent crimes and they take a terrible toll on him ... He's the definition of a kind, gentle soul." She also pointed out that they're not actively pursuing violent material: "We're not out there saying, 'Can we get more serial killer shows because we like this 'Hannibal' one?'"

The project stars Hugh Dancy as FBI agent Will Graham, a brilliant criminal profiler on the hunt for a serial killer. When the twisted mind of the murderer proves too complex for even Graham's skills, he turns to Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), one of the premier psychiatric minds in the country, for help unravelling the mystery. Unbeknownst to Graham, his new partner may turn out to be the one he's hunting.

The show co-stars Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Caroline Dhavernas, Eddie Izzard, Anna Chlumsky, Raul Esparza and Gina Torres.

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