Sunday, May 15, 2016

2016 Fall Schedule: NBC

Monday

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

As always, NBC has given its biggest lead-in to a new drama, this time the time-traveling thriller Timeless. It bumps Blindspot to Wednesdays at 8:00, much like The Blacklist did to Revolution a few years back... and that didn't end well for Revolution, which was canceled at the end of its second season.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Voice
9:00 - This Is Us (NEW)
10:00 - Chicago Fire

Chicago Med moves out of its freshman timeslot to make room for This Is Us, while the rest of the lineup remains the same.

Wednesday

8:00 - Blindspot (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Law & Order: SVU
10:00 - Chicago P.D.

Blindspot, despite its darkness and violence, moves into the 8:00 hour to lead-in to the other two usual Wednesday night suspects. This is the oddest choice NBC made, I think, when they had other options (Thursdays at 9:00 or 10:00, Tuesdays at 9:00) for Blindspot's move.

Thursday

8:00 - Superstore (New Timeslot)
8:30 - The Good Place (NEW)
9:00 - Chicago Med (New Timeslot)
10:00 - The Blacklist (New Timeslot)

The NBC Thursday comedy block is back after taking a year off, this time with sophomore Superstore leading off the night (but never having to go head-to-head with its biggest competition, The Big Bang Theory, because of Thursday Night Football), paired with The Good Place. Chicago Med follows in a new hour, and The Blacklist gets pushed back to where it always should have been at 10:00.

Friday

8:00 - Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline

There are no changes, surprisingly, to the Friday night lineup. Grimm's order has been confirmed for only 13 episodes, though the option remains open for more. But NBC is actively seeking a genre replacement for the aging series, with Emerald City and Midnight, Texas cited by Chairman Bob Greenblatt as potentials.

Sunday

Football Night in America

Midseason

Preliminary Sunday night plans at midseason include the return of Little Big Shots; the newest branch of the Chicago-set franchise, Chicago Justice; and the second season of the Jennifer Lopez-led Shades of Blue. NBC has four other new dramas coming at midseason (The Blacklist: Redemption, Emerald City, Taken, and Midnight, Texas) and four new comedies (Great News, Marlon, Powerless, and Trial & Error), plus the third season of The Carmichael Show. Other shows returning at midseason include Hollywood Game Night and The New Celebrity Apprentice. They will join new alternative series The Wall and First Dates. In addition, NBC announced last week the second in its collaborations with Dolly Parton, a sequel to last year's successful Coat of Many Colors, this one titled Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. This December's annual live musical will be Hairspray Live!, joined by a new event: a live drama, a production of Aaron Sorkin's play A Few Good Men.

With so many new shows on tap, it's clear NBC is trying to get back in the game. But they're all being held for midseason. NBC has seven new dramas ordered for the upcoming season, but only two made the fall schedule. Of course, Sunday nights will become available in the spring once football ends, but NBC hasn't really had much luck launching scripted programming on that night. I expected, at least, a new series to be airing at 8:00 on Friday. But perhaps some of these new dramas are being developed as limited series, which would open up more time (and they do have three more hours a week to play with in January and February when The Voice is on hiatus), but this is a relatively disappointing schedule. There are some interesting things happening with the shows NBC has ordered, but the fall schedule just reflects how rote they are. There are no really big moves here. Sure, shifting The Blacklist back an hour makes sense, and it probably should have been done a year or more ago. Sure, debuting a new show after The Voice on Mondays makes sense, but they do it every year and the show that ends up suffering is the sophomore series who has to give up their spot (see: the cancellation of Revolution, or the ratings crash of The Blacklist). Sure, cancelling The Mysteries of Laura left Wednesdays at 8:00 open, and the easiest move is just shifting Blindspot, but how well will that show really do in such an early hour? There's a lot here that makes sense, but it isn't going to turn anything around for NBC. Hopefully their new shows are strong enough to do that.

Read descriptions of the new series after the jump.

Comedies

The Good Place - From Michael Schur, executive producer of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation and The Office, comes a smart, unique new comedy that follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, House of Lies, Veronica Mars), an ordinary woman who, through an extraordinary string of events, enters the afterlife where she comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. With the help of her wise newfound afterlife mentor (Ted Danson, Cheers, Bored to Death), she’s determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome (or at least the pretty good) person within. Directed by Drew Goddard, the Oscar-nominated writer of The Martian. The cast includes Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto and D’Arcy Carden. Michael Schur serves as writer and executive producer. David Miner also executive produces. Drew Goddard directs. The Good Place is produced by Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.

Great News - Getting along with some colleagues can be rough, but working with your mom? That’s a whole other story. When Katie, an up-and-coming news producer, finds out her overbearing mom (Andrea Martin, SCTV, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) has rejoined the workforce as an intern at the station where Katie works, it might just be the worst news ever. But, with her biggest cheerleader at her side, Katie might finally get the recognition she deserves. The laughs hit close to home in this new office comedy from executive producers Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and the producers of 30 Rock. The cast includes Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Kimrie Lewis-Davis, John Michael Higgins and Horatio Sanz. Tracey Wigfield serves as writer and executive producer. Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and David Miner also executive produce. Beth McCarthy-Miller directs. Great News is produced by Universal Television, Little Stranger and 3 Arts Entertainment.

Marlon - Loosely inspired by the real life of star Marlon Wayans (In Living Color, Scary Movie), this update to the classic family comedy centers on a loving (but immature) father committed to co-parenting his two kids with his very-together ex-wife. While his misguided fatherly advice, unstoppable larger-than-life personality and unpredictable Internet superstardom might get in the way sometimes, for Marlon family really always does come first — even if he’s the biggest kid of all. The cast includes Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Notlim Taylor, Amir O’Neil, Bresha Webb and Diallo Riddle. Christopher Moynihan serves as writer and executive producer. Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez, Michael Rotenberg and director Andy Ackerman (pilot) also executive produce. Marlon is produced by Universal Television, Wayans Brothers Entertainment, Bicycle Path Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment.

Powerless - In the first comedy series set in the universe of DC Comics, Vanessa Hudgens (Grease Live, High School Musical) plays Emily, a spunky young insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes. It’s when she stands up to one of these larger-than-life figures (after an epic battle messes with her commute) that she accidentally becomes a cult “hero” in her own right … even if it’s just to her group of lovably quirky co-workers. Now, while she navigates her normal, everyday life against an explosive backdrop, Emily might just discover that being a hero doesn’t always require superpowers. The cast includes Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi and Christina Kirk. Ben Queen serves as writer and executive producer. Director Michael Patrick Jann (pilot) also executive produces. Powerless is produced by Warner Bros. Television and based on the characters from DC Comics.

Trial & Error - In this outrageous fish-out-of-water comedy, bright-eyed New York lawyer Josh Segal heads to a tiny Southern town for his first big case. His mission? To defend an eccentric, “rollercizing” poetry professor (John Lithgow, 3rd Rock From the Sun) accused of the bizarre murder of his beloved wife. Settling into his makeshift office behind a taxidermy shop and meeting his quirky team of local misfits, Josh suspects that winning his first big case will not be easy, especially when his client is always making himself look guilty. Making a Murderer can be funny! The cast includes John Lithgow, Nicholas D’Agosto, Jayma Mays, Sherri Shepherd, Steven Boyer and Krysta Rodriguez. Jeff Astrof and Matt Miller serve as writers and executive producers. Jeffrey Blitz directs. Trial & Error is produced by Barge Productions and Good Session Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Dramas

The Blacklist: Redemption - In this thrilling new spinoff of NBC’s breakout hit series, undercover operative Tom Keen joins forces with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave (Famke Janssen), the brilliant and cunning chief of Grey Matters, a covert mercenary organization that solves problems governments don’t dare touch. While on the hunt for Liz’s attacker, Tom secretly discovered that Scottie is actually his biological mother. Now, as they team up to employ their unique skills and resources in a dangerous world of deadly criminals, Tom begins his own covert mission to find out more about his shadowy past. The cast includes Famke Janssen, Ryan, Edi Gathegi and Tawny Cypress. Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath serve as writers and executive producers. John Fox and John Davis also executive produce. Michael Dinner directs. Produced by John Eisendrath Productions, Flatwater Scribe, Davis Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Chicago Justice - Powerhouse creator Dick Wolf delivers a captivating new installment to the hit Chicago franchise. Just like their brethren in the Chicago P.D., the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators navigate heated city politics and controversy head-on while fearlessly pursuing justice. As they take on the city’s high stakes and often media-frenzied cases, they must balance public opinion, power struggles within the system and their unwavering passion for the law. It all starts with a gut-wrenching case when one of Chicago’s finest is shot in the line of duty. The cast includes Philip Winchester, Carl Weathers, Nazneen Contractor, Joelle Carter and Ryan-James Hatanaka. Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski, Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas, Michael Brandt and Arthur ‎Forney executive produce Chicago Justice. Chicago Justice is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Entertainment.

Emerald City - In the blink of a tornado’s eye, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale and a K9 police dog are swept into a world far removed from our own — a mystical land of competing realms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy. Starring Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil, Jurassic World) as the guileful Wizard and directed by the visionary Tarsem Singh across three European countries, this is Oz completely reimagined — a place where familiar characters show up in fresh, unexpected ways, and where an unsuspecting young woman holds the fate of kingdoms in her hands. As Dorothy navigates this dangerous world and uncovers her true destiny, we’ll see there’s no place like… Oz. The cast includes Vincent D’Onofrio, Adria Arjona, Ana Ularu, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jordan Loughran, Gerran Howell, Mido Hamada, Joely Richardson, Isabel Lucas, Stefanie Martini, Suan-Li Ong, Florence Kasumba and Roxy Sternberg. David Schulner and Shaun Cassidy are writers and executive producers. Josh Friedman, Matthew Arnold and director Tarsem Singh also executive produce. Emerald City is produced by Universal Television.

Midnight, Texas - Welcome to a place where being normal is really quite strange. From Niels Arden Oplev, the visionary director of Mr. Robot, and based on the hit book series from author Charlaine Harris (True Blood), comes a journey into a remote Texas town where no one is who they seem. From vampires and witches to psychics and hit men, Midnight is a mysterious safe haven for those who are different. As the town members fight off outside pressures from rowdy biker gangs, ever-suspicious cops and their own dangerous pasts, they band together and form a strong and unlikely family. The cast includes François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Ramos, Peter Mensah, Yul Vazquez and Sean Bridgers. Monica Owusu-Breen serves as writer and executive producer. David Janollari and director Niels Arden Oplev also executive produce. Midnight, Texas is produced by Universal Television and David Janollari Entertainment.

Taken - From executive producer Luc Besson (Taken, The Fifth Element) comes a modern-day, edge-of-your-seat thriller that follows the origin story of younger, hungrier former Green Beret Bryan Mills (Clive Standen, Vikings) as he deals with a personal tragedy that shakes his world. As he fights to overcome the incident and exact revenge, Mills is pulled into a career as a deadly CIA operative, a job that awakens his very particular, and very dangerous, set of skills. In 30 years, this character became the Bryan Mills that we’ve come to love from the Taken films. The cast includes Clive Standen, Jennifer Beals, Brooklyn Sudano, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Gaius Charles, Michael Irby, James Landry Hébert and Jose Pablo Cantillo. Alexander Cary serves as writer and executive producer. Luc Besson, Matthew Gross, Edouard de Vésinne, Thomas Anargyros and director Alex Graves also executive produce. Taken is produced by EuropaCorp TV and Universal Television.

This Is Us - Sometimes life will surprise you. Starring Mandy Moore (A Walk to Remember), Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, Gilmore Girls) and Sterling K. Brown (The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), this refreshingly honest and provocative series follows a unique ensemble whose paths cross and their life stories intertwine in curious ways. We find several of them share the same birthday, and so much more than anyone would expect. From the writer and directors of Crazy, Stupid, Love. comes a smart, modern dramedy that will challenge your everyday presumptions about the people you think you know. The cast includes Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan and Ron Cephas Jones. Dan Fogelman serves as writer and executive producer. Jess Rosenthal, Charlie Gogolak and directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra also executive produce. This Is Us is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.

Timeless - From Eric Kripke (Revolution, Supernatural), Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and the producers of The Blacklist comes this thrilling action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: a scientist, soldier and history professor who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of this dangerous fugitive. Can this handpicked team uncover the mystery behind it all and end his destruction before it’s too late? The cast includes Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Goran Visnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit. Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan serves as writers and executive producers. John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman and director Neil Marshall also executive produce. Timeless is produced by Davis Entertainment, Kripke Enterprises and MiddKid Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Alternative

Better Late Than Never - Based on a popular Korean format, this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy/reality show follows cultural icons Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman on their greatest adventure yet. Deciding it’s better late than never, these four national treasures embark on the journey of a lifetime, traveling across Asia on their own with no schedule and no itinerary. The only help will come from Jeff Dye, a young tech-savvy comedian with an agenda of his own and who isn’t above leading the men off track. Each stop is packed with hilarious cultural experiences, heartwarming spectacles and unexpected twists as our legends take on this unforgettable adventure. Craig Zadan & Neil Meron, Henry Winkler, Jason Ehrlich, Stephanie Chambers, Alex Katz and Tim Crescenti executive produce. Troy Miller directs. Better Late Than Never is produced by Universal Television and Small World IFT.

First Dates -  Everyone can relate to the experience of a first date: the promise of potential love when it goes well and the hilariously awkward moments if it crashes and burns. From executive producer Ellen DeGeneres, narrated by Drew Barrymore and based on the hit U.K. format, this new series offers a voyeuristic look at a variety of real first dates happening throughout one night at the same restaurant in Chicago. The daters are of all ages, backgrounds and from across the U.S. The audience will be along for the ride in a refreshingly authentic viewing experience that plays like a real-life romantic comedy. At the end of each episode, we will find out if the participants want to see each other again for a second date or if they head back to love’s drawing board. Ellen DeGeneres, Pam Healey, John Hesling, Anthony Dominici, Jeff Kleeman and Tim Carter executive produce. First Dates is produced by Shed Media and A Very Good Production.

The Wall - Packed with drama and action, this is a game that the entire family can root for together. Executive producer LeBron James presents a challenge infused with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, where regular people can achieve their dreams with one bounce of the ball. Hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick and set in a large glossy arena centering on the colossal 40-foot wall, the gameplay involves quick thinking, shrewd strategy and a little luck. Played by contestant pairs, this is an unpredictable journey with giant swings of fortune and millions of dollars passing through the contestants’ hands throughout the hour. LeBron James, Andrew Glassman, Maverick Carter and Chris Hardwick executive produce. The Wall is produced by Glassman Media in association with SpringHill Productions. Glassman Media developed the series with CORE Media.

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