Well... I didn't think I'd have to rush to get this schedule out there, but NBC went on an early-pickup spree today. I'm not at all confident in about 75% of this schedule, but that's because NBC is so messed up that no fantasy scheduler will ever come close to figuring their convoluted process out.
For example, apparently they're trying to get a group of new comedies ready in time to debut immediately following their coverage of the Summer Olympics. It's a good idea in theory, since the games are so widely watched, but will young adults be willing to give up their final weeks of summer to watch a bunch of new shows? There's a reason the fall season typically starts after Labor Day...
Plus that makes timeslots almost impossible to figure out. Whatever.
8:00 - The Voice
10:00 - Chicago Fire (NEW)
The Voice has been holding open auditions for months now, so I'm assuming they're prepping a fall season. They'd be stupid not to considering how big the ratings were for the first part of the season. Chicago Fire ensures a solid relationship with Dick Wolf (Law & Order), and it helps that the pilot has been getting decent reviews thus far as well. A series about firefighters is an easy sell, but not totally overdone the way cop and lawyer shows are.
8:00 - The Biggest Loser
9:00 - The Voice
10:00 - Parenthood
While it has fallen in the ratings recently, The Biggest Loser is still one of NBC's strongest performers. I do think, however, that they will cut it back to an hour once The Voice goes to live shows. And Parenthood is the network's most consistent drama on the ratings front, so I don't see it going anywhere.
8:00 - Table for Three (NEW)
8:30 - Guys with Kids (NEW)
9:00 - Smash
10:00 - Law & Order: SVU
While I think it would be smart of NBC to renew Whitney and try something similar to the "Happy Hour" thing they had going this spring, I just don't think it'll happen. Whitney Cummings just signed a deal with E! to do a weekly talk show, and Whitney was never a ratings juggernaut to begin with. So I think they'll try another multi-camera comedy block with some new shows, and my picks are Table for Three from Aaron Kaplan and Guys with Kids, the new Jimmy Fallon-produced show. Smash has pretty much squandered its lead-in on Mondays this spring, so it will be moved; Wednesdays at 9:00 are currently a dire place for NBC (this season the timeslot was home to Harry's Law and Rock Center, both of which routinely rate below 1.0 in adults 18-49), so Smash could bring the slot up... or at the very least, not do as poorly as everything this year.
8:00 - Save Me (NEW)
8:30 - The New Normal (NEW)
9:00 - The Office
9:30 - Go On (NEW)
10:00 - Revolution (NEW)
Until I just looked at all the NEWs, I didn't realize how ridiculous this night looks. I don't know if this will happen, but it would certainly be a gamble with the potential to pay off. The current Thursday-night comedies NBC has are pretty horribly rated, so it can't hurt to try something new and then if it doesn't work (or even if it does) reintroduce the veterans at midseason. I would personally go with a three-hour comedy block extended into the 10:00 hour, but since NBC is pretty dumb I think they'll try another new drama instead.
8:00 - Do No Harm (NEW)
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline
Do No Harm has two things going for it: it's a medical procedural, and it's got a supernatural twist. The former is something NBC has lacked on its schedule, and the latter makes it a good companion for Grimm. I admit that I thought it was a horrible idea for NBC to try a new show on Fridays last year, but Grimm has become something of a hit for them so I think they should try to capitalize on that with a new drama.
Oh boy... here goes. NBC has already given a series order to Hannibal, a show based on the popular Hannibal Lecter character. I wouldn't be surprised to see it debut in the winter months and carry over to spring. I think they'll order at least one other drama for midseason, possibly Notorious, a Revenge-like undercover mystery thriller. Then I think they'll eventually pick up the Bryan Singer-led Munsters remake Mockingbird Lane as well. As for comedies, I think 30 Rock, Community and Parks & Recreation will all be be back in some capacity. Community only needs 17 episodes to make it to the magical syndication number (88), and it's already been sold to Comedy Central. So despite low ratings and being pulled from the schedule for months this spring, I think it will be back. 30 Rock is still a critical darling and a flagship series, so it should be back. And Parks & Recreation has stabilized at a decent level that should safely see it return as well. I think they'll also pick up one more single camera comedy, likely the Bill Pullman vehicle 1600 Penn, and one more multi-camera comedy, possibly the return of Roseanne and John Goodman in Downwardly Mobile. Keep in mind that they will also need to fill Sunday nights once Football ends, so...
That's a lot. Then NBC also has the new dating show Ready for Love to debut this winter, and I would think Fear Factor and another shortened run of The Sing Off would be back for December/January runs as well. I'd also expect new episodes of Who Do You Think You Are and The Celebrity Apprentice. So that's a shit ton of shows to put on the air.
Bottom Line Predictions
New Series - Hannibal, Revolution, Chicago Fire, Do No Harm, Notorious, Mockingbird Lane, Go On, Save Me, The New Normal, Table for Three, Guys with Kids, 1600 Penn, Downwardly Mobile
Canceled Series - The Playboy Club, Prime Suspect, Awake, Harry's Law, Chuck, The Firm, Free Agents, Up All Night, Are You There Chelsea?, Bent, BFFs, Whitney, Rock Center