Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 Fall Schedule: NBC

Who knows... perhaps this schedule will work wonders for NBC and help it rise from the depths of fourth-place mediocrity. Or perhaps it will just go down as one of the absolute worst, nonsensical schedules I've ever seen.


8:00 - The Voice
10:00 - Revolution (NEW)

Good news: The Voice will be back in the fall. It may not rate as well as it does in the spring because of vocal competition overload, but I don't see it bombing at all. And it gives a great lead-in for Revolution, the new Abrams-produced and Favreau-directed post-apocalyptic drama. All good so far.


8:00 - The Voice (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Go On (NEW)
9:30 - The New Normal (NEW)
10:00 - Parenthood

Okay, here's where you start to lose me. Why is The Biggest Loser not on the schedule? It may not be as highly rated as it was, but that's how it goes with mammoth hits. It's still one of NBC's best performers. Even if it were scaled back to an hour, it should be on the schedule. Instead it is replaced by two new comedies, Go On starring Matthew Perry and The New Normal by Ryan Murphy. I don't really understand how they go together (the former is about a sportscaster and the latter a gay couple starting a family... "sports" and "gay" don't typically go hand-in-hand), but at least they will receive a nice lead-in from The Voice results shows. Not the worst decision, just a little bit of a headscratcher.


8:00 - Animal Practice (NEW)
8:30 - Guys with Kids (NEW)
9:00 - Law & Order: SVU (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Chicago Fire (NEW)

Now I'm lost. You start the night off with a single-cam comedy about an offbeat veterinarian with no true "name" attached to it (it actually stars Justin Kirk from Weeds, but that show isn't exactly a phenomenon) and follow it up with a multi-cam comedy about three dads living with young children. Don't get it. Then you move Law & Order: SVU back into a slot where it previously failed so that a new drama can debut at 10:00, Chicago Fire. The problem? SVU hasn't cracked a 2.0 in the ratings in months and really won't provide much of a lead-in. And the Wednesday 10:00 slot is relatively difficult (hence the reason it took ABC so long to find a hit there, as it now has with Revenge). This doesn't seem like the smartest of moves.


8:00 - 30 Rock (New Timeslot)
8:30 - Up All Night (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Office
9:30 - Parks & Recreation
10:00 - Rock Center (New Timeslot)

While I'm shocked Rock Center is still on the schedule, putting it on Thursdays at 10:00 is probably the smartest move of this entire fall schedule. It gets horrible ratings, so it really won't hurt them if it can manage its current ratings in this new position (it rates about the same as Awake right now, which currently occupies this slot but is scripted and therefore more expensive). The episode orders for both 30 Rock and Up All Night are supposedly for 13, so the entire 8:00 hour should open up come midseason. It's not a bad way to begin the evening, but Up All Night just doesn't fit thematically with the rest of these shows (all set in the workplace). It should have been paired with Guys with Kids (HELLO!), if they were going to pair a single cam with a multi-cam.


8:00 - Whitney (New Timeslot)
8:30 - Community (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline NBC

Again... WTF. Why are Whitney and Community paired together? Not only do they have nothing in common (not even their formats! again with the single-paired-with-multi!), but they're both very low-rated on their regular nights. What will happen when they have to lead-off Fridays? It looks like suicide to me. I mean, on the one hand I get it... you want to quietly usher Community to syndication, so you renew it and put it on Friday. Fine. But why would you renew Whitney to pair with it? I assumed the whole point of renewing Whitney was to pair it with Guys with Kids, the only other multi-cam comedy the network ordered. Why not try something new with Community? If it fails, it fails, and then you move something at midseason or whenever. I mean, Next Caller with Dane Cook has only a 6-episode order; why not put it with Community and see what happens? Stupid. And then you follow it up with Grimm, a supernatural-fantasy-horror police show. Brilliant move, NBC.




New sitcoms 1600 Penn, Next Caller and Save Me will debut at midseason. New dramas Do No Harm, Hannibal and Infamous will also debut then. These dramas will be joined by Smash, which was renewed but placed on the schedule. They also announced some returning reality series: Betty White's Off Their Rockers, Fashion Star, The Celebrity Apprentice and The Biggest Loser.

NBC announced a preliminary Sunday night schedule for midseason, which sees Fashion Star returning at 8:00; The Celebrity Apprentice reduced to one hour and airing at 9:00; and the medical drama Do No Harm debuting at 10:00.

Overall, this schedule is just doing too much. They threw comedies at the schedule to see where they would stick, and it looks like a mess. Four nights of comedy is excessive, especially when their surrounding programming makes no sense. I get that they're trying to establish new comedies to replace their aging Thursday night lineup, but randomly scattering a bunch of new comedies across the schedule with a half-dozen returning ones looks both desperate and confusing. It doesn't make sense to me.

And look at how many shows have changed times! I don't recall ever having seen this many moves.

Also once again, NBC has reserved its best pilots for midseason. The Revenge-like undercover drama Infamous and the well-tested comedy 1600 Penn are both held back.

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