For my final schedule prediction, I dug deep to try and make NBC's sinking ship float. Something's gotta give for NBC, and I think there are some prospects for the fall that will help bring them out of the slump they find themselves in.
8:00 - The Biggest Loser
10:00 - Harry's Law
I think NBC needs to move The Biggest Loser to Monday. None of its Monday dramas have succeeded, save for a small success from Harry's Law. It does relatively well against Castle and Hawaii Five-0, but they need something to garner some decent ratings at 8:00. While this move would put The Biggest Loser up against more competition from Dancing with the Stars, it moves it away from Glee.
8:00 - Wonder Woman (NEW)
9:00 - Smash (NEW)
This is why they need to move The Biggest Loser. Should Glee stay on Fox at 8:00 on Tuesdays, NBC needs to capitalize on that and launch their new pilot Smash after it. They need to hope that viewers will want more musical numbers and change the channel to their Broadway-themed series. And Wonder Woman should garner enough curiousity from that group of 18-49ers who would rather not watch a high-school show like Glee, and possibly even take away some of Glee's viewers.
8:00 - Prime Suspect (NEW)
9:00 - REM (NEW)
10:00 - Law & Order: SVU
This would be another bold move on NBC's behalf. Law & Order: SVU is the network's flagship series, and it performs best in the 10:00 timeslot. But these two new pilots are both variations on the L&O theme, with slight twists. The reviews of the REM script are very good, comparing it to a police procedural meets Inception. That movie was a huge hit, so obviously there is a market out there for high-concept, in-depth ideas. It has buzz potential to go up against Modern Family and The X Factor. Prime Suspect is based on a successful British series and has a strong leading lady in Maria Bello.
8:00 - Community
8:30 - Parks & Recreation
9:00 - The Office
9:30 - Alpha Mom (NEW)
10:00 - 30 Rock
10:30 - Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea (NEW)
The three-hour comedy block wasn't a huge bust for NBC, and this is their strongest night of the week. With Steve Carrell leaving The Office, there will likely be a drop in viewers. But Christina Applegate is always good for a decent number of viewers, and Alpha Mom (the Emily Spivey pilot) also has two SNL favorites on board: Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett. Chelsea Handler is a hot commodity right now, with two successful shows on E! and multiple best-selling books, so she should still be able to bring in enough viewers to hold her show's own in the 10:30 slot, plus viewers could then go right over to her talkshow at 11:00.
8:00 - Minute to Win It/Other Reality
9:00 - Who Do You Think You Are?/Other Reality
10:00 - Dateline
Nothing much to say here. After Outlaw's massive failure last fall, I don't see NBC trying to schedule a new drama on Fridays again.
8:00 - The Apprentice
10:00 - Playboy (NEW)
With Mad Men proving so popular and Sundays normally dominated by Fox and/or cable television, putting Playboy on at 10:00 would be a great way for NBC to give the Sunday lineup some competition.
NBC ordered a few too many projects for midseason this year, as two of them are still unaired. It's likely they'll either be put in summer or killed completely (Love Bites is likely for the latter). So I can see them having a few dramas on the backburner, just in case. I'd guess Chuck, as weak as it has been lately, will still get a midseason order for one last chance on the schedule and to push it into syndication territory (as it will be 10 episodes short as of the end of this season). And I can see them picking up one other drama, possibly Grimm, which is one of two "magical" police procedurals in development and the one with stronger buzz. In terms of comedies, I think they'll pick up three for midseason (in the event one or both newbies fail on Thursdays, or to try a fourth comedy block on another night in place of a failed drama). My guesses would be Brave New World, Help Wanted and Whitney.
I just don't see them getting out of this hole they're in without taking some risks, which unfortunately involves picking up a massive number of new shows again. Last season they picked up ten new shows, two of which never aired. Given how they are routinely now out-rated by both CW and Univision on certain nights, they need to keep trimming the fat. This schedule I've created would mean eleven new pickups, not including any new reality projects. That's steeper than what they did last year, which many considered crazy. But something drastic needs to happen, and that does not involve renewing shows with ratings below 1.5 (though I can see them bringing back Chuck despite its numbers in that area). Unfortunately, that's a large number of its shows.
Bottom Line Predictions
Canceled - The Cape, Chase, The Event, Friday Night Lights, Law & Order: LA, Outlaw, Outsourced, The Paul Reiser Show, Perfect Couples, Undercovers
New Series Comedy - Alpha Mom, Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea, Brave New World (midseason), Help Wanted (midseason), Whitney (midseason)
New Series Drama - Grimm (midseason), Playboy, Prime Suspect, REM, Smash, Wonder Woman