Sunday, May 14, 2017

2017 Fall Schedule: NBC


Continuing with the oddness that has been NBC's scheduling department, Taken has been removed from the fall schedule. Following a massive overhaul which includes a new showrunner (Person of Interest's Greg Plageman replaces Emmy winner Alex Cary) and an almost entirely new cast (six of the eight regulars from season one were fired, with only leads Jennifer Beals and Clive Standen remaining), Taken has been pushed to midseason and replaced with a second hour of Dateline. Blindspot remains at 8:00pm.

About two weeks after announcing their fall schedule, NBC has changed their minds and released a heavily revised lineup for two nights: Tuesday and Thursday. In this new schedule, This Is Us stays put on Tuesday, moving Superstore and The Good Place back to their fall 2016 timeslots and displacing Chicago Fire, which will now air on Thursday nights. This decision is odd, considering NBC is citing football as the reason for This Is Us retaining its former slot. I'm not buying that, though... they knew football would be airing on Thursdays when they announced their schedule. Why suddenly is that a problem? This Is Us was often preempted last season for election coverage, and it did fine, so why the sudden concern that interruptions will erode viewership? I'm not pretending to understand the real reason here, except maybe that they got cold feet about Tuesdays with their comedies going up against other comedy blocks and/or not being strong enough to withstand the move. Either way, it undoes all the big moves NBC was poised to make this fall.


8:00 - The Voice
9:00 - This Is Us
10:00 - Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (NEW)


8:00 - Superstore
8:30 - The Good Place
9:00 - Will & Grace (NEW)
9:30 - Great News (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Chicago Fire (New Timeslot)

The rest of the lineup remains as announced on May 14.



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

Once again, a new drama is slotted into the 10:00 timeslot after The Voice, which has begun to fade this past year. This time it's the military drama The Brave following the singing competition, which will introduce two new judges this fall: Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson.


8:00 - The Voice
9:00 - Superstore (New Timeslot)
9:30 - The Good Place (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Chicago Fire

NBC's moderately successful pairing of Superstore and The Good Place remains intact, just now on a different night. They'll likely be going head-to-head with ABC comedies (barring any big shakeups in that network's Tuesday night schedule), but This Is Us proved last season that NBC can successfully launch a new show in the timeslot... maybe they can boost some existing ones too.


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

The Blacklist is on the move yet again, to its earliest hour yet in the troublesome 8:00 timeslot. Blindspot occupied the spot this past season and crashed, so an established show like The Blacklist is at least a bit less of a gamble, but it's not going to help rebuild the night either.


8:00 - Will & Grace (NEW)
8:30 - Great News (New Timeslot)
9:00 - This Is Us (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Law & Order: True Crime - The Menendez Murders (NEW)

Thursday Night Football (November 9 - December 14)

NBC is touting this as "the return of Must See TV," and I can't really disagree with that. After more than a decade off the air, Will & Grace becomes the latest nostalgia renewal on broadcast television, leading off what could be a really big night for NBC. Last year's breakout hit This Is Us moves to the 9:00 anchor, and barely-renewed freshman Great News (which will feature producer Tina Fey as a guest star in season two) gets the plum spot between a returning favorite and the biggest drama on TV. Dick Wolf also debuts the limited series off-shoot of his Law & Order franchise, an American Crime Story-esque docudrama about the Menendez brothers. Left out of the party is his other Chicago series, Chicago Med, which gets evicted from the fall schedule entirely.


8:00 - Blindspot (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Taken (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Dateline

I fully anticipated Blindspot moving to Fridays, and it should pair well with Taken, as both are action-driven series, but this is a rather unexciting night, yet again, for NBC.


Sunday Night Football


At midseason, NBC has new dramas Good Girls, Reverie, and Rise; new comedies A.P. Bio and Champions; new alternative series The Awesome Show, Ellen's Game of Games, Genius Junior, and The Handmade Project; plus returning dramas Chicago Med, Shades of Blue, and Timeless, as well as returning alternative series Little Big Shots and The Wall. Additionally, their annual December live musical will be Bye Bye Birdie Live!, starring Jennifer Lopez. At Easter, NBC will also air the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar Live!

It's interesting to note that, once again, NBC is debuting very few new shows in the fall. Aside from the 8-episode Menendez Murders limited series, NBC ordered four new dramas, but only one made the cut for fall, and there are no new comedies either (not counting Will & Grace, which is technically the show's ninth season). I don't know if this is a trend across all networks that we'll see, with fewer and fewer new series making it to the schedule, or if NBC is just playing it safe in the fall, as they did in 2016. But with football taking up three hours of the entire fall schedule each week, plus another three hours for five weeks during November sweeps, I guess you don't need to screw around too much. NBC will additionally have the Winter Olympics to help promote its returning and new midseason series, though that didn't work out too well for the new shows of midseason 2014 (only About a Boy managed a second season, which never completed airing). Also interesting to me is the potential state of the Chicago franchise: only two of the four series made the fall lineup. NBC made no mention of Chicago Justice at all during its renewal/cancellation announcements, and it's left off both the fall and midseason schedules; are we to assume it's been silently canceled, or are negotiations ongoing for its return? Chicago Med was renewed last week and is mentioned as a returning series in NBC's schedule press release, but there are no concrete plans announced for it. Will it be getting a shortened order or simply a late start? Something clearly happened this season that made NBC rethink its commitment to the franchise, though their relationship with Dick Wolf is clearly thriving: he has a new limited series on the fall schedule next to Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and the nineteenth season of Law & Order: SVU.

As expected, NBC is seriously high on the success of This Is Us, trusting it to launch an entirely new lineup on Thursdays against Thursday Night Football on CBS before taking a six-week hiatus while the NFL airs on NBC, returning January, and then airing after the Super Bowl on February 4 (it looks to be a lot of on-off, off-on for the Thursday night lineup on NBC because of the dates the NFL games fall on). They're hedging their bets on it and the return of Will & Grace (which, I suppose, could become another regular series rather than a 12-episode limited run) to boost what is a notoriously difficult night for the network to program. I'm interested to see what happens with Thursdays at midseason when W&G, This Is Us, and Menendez Murders complete their seasons and will have to be replaced by a totally (or nearly so) schedule.

Click after the jump for descriptions of NBC's new shows for the 2017-2018 season.


A.P. Bio - When a philosophy scholar loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher, he makes it clear he will not be teaching any biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, he decides instead to use the kids to his own benefit. The cast includes Glenn Howerton, Patton Oswalt, Lyric Lewis, Mary Sohn, Aparna Brielle, Jacob McCarthy, Nick Peine and guest star Vanessa Bayer. Mike O’Brien will write and executive produce. Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers, Andrew Singer and Mike Shoemaker also executive produce. Osmany Rodriguez will direct. A.P. Bio is produced by Universal Television, Broadway Video and Sethmaker Shoemeyers Productions.

Champions - Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition, lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot. Their simple life of women and working out is put on hold when the teenage son of Vince is dropped off on their doorstep by Priya (Mindy Kaling), one of his old high school flings. The cast includes Anders Holm, Andy Favreau, J.J. Totah, Mouzam Makkar, Nina Wadia and guest star Mindy Kaling. Charlie Grandy and Mindy Kaling will write and executive produce. Michael Alan Spiller will direct and executive produce. Howard Klein also executive produces. Champions is produced by Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment, Eyes Up Productions and Kaling International.

Will & Grace - That’s right, honey! A decade after their unforgettable eight-season run, comedy’s most fabulous foursome is back. Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reprise their infamous roles as Will, Grace, Jack and Karen in this exclusive 12-episode event. The legendary James Burrows, director of every original Will & Grace episode, returns along with a slew of razor-sharp jabs and dirty martinis. Behold once again, from the minds of Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, TV’s wittiest ensemble ever. Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will write and executive produce. Alex Herschlag, Tracy Poust & Jon Kinnally also executive produce. James Burrows will direct and executive produce. Will & Grace is produced by Universal Television.


The Brave - From Keshet Studios and Avi Nir (executive producer of Homeland) comes a fresh, heart-pounding journey into the complex world of America’s elite undercover military heroes. While D.I.A. Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche) and her team of analysts wield the world’s most advanced surveillance technology from Washington, D.C., Adam Dalton and his heroic Special Ops squad of highly trained undercover specialists use their unbreakable bond and commitment to freedom to save lives of innocent people and execute missions in some of the most dangerous places in the world. The cast includes Anne Heche, Mike Vogel, Sofia Pernas, Tate Ellington, Natacha Karam, Demetrius Grosse, Noah Mills and Hadi Tabbal. Dean Georgaris will write and executive produce. Brad Anderson will direct and executive produce the pilot. Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan also executive produce. The Brave is produced by Universal Television and Keshet Studios.

Good Girls - When three suburban moms get tired of trying to make ends meet, they decide it’s time to stick up for themselves by robbing the local supermarket at (toy) gunpoint. But when the manager catches a glimpse of one of them and the loot is far more than they expected, it doesn’t take long for the three best friends to realize the perfect getaway will be harder than they think. From executive producer Jenna Bans (Scandal) comes this comedy-infused drama that mixes a little Thelma & Louise with a bit of Breaking Bad. The cast includes Retta, Mae Whitman, Reno Wilson, Manny Montana, Lidya Jewett, Izzy Stannard and Matthew Lillard. Jenna Bans will write and executive produce. Dean Parisot directs and executive produces the pilot. Jeannine Renshaw also executive produces. Good Girls is produced by Universal Television.

Law & Order: True Crime: The Menendez Murders - Starring the incomparable Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie), this new eight-episode true-crime installment of the powerhouse Law & Order franchise delivers a gripping in-depth dramatization of the notorious murder case that changed America forever. When the Menendez brothers were tried on national TV for brutally killing their parents in Beverly Hills, their story became a national obsession. Now, the first edition of this anthology series delves into the players, the crime and the media circus, detailing the day-to-day battles of the trial and unveiling the shocking truth of what really went down when the cameras stopped rolling. Rene Balcer will write and executive produce. Lesli Linka Glatter will direct and executive produce. Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski and Arthur W. Forney also executive produce. Law & Order: True Crime: The Menendez Murders is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Films.

Reverie - From Mickey Fisher, the creator of Extant, this grounded new thriller follows Mara Kint (Sarah Shahi), a former hostage negotiator and expert on human behavior who became a college professor after facing an unimaginable personal tragedy. But when she’s brought in to save ordinary people who have lost themselves in a highly advanced virtual-reality program in which you can literally live your dreams, she finds that in saving others, she may actually have discovered a way to save herself. The cast includes Sarah Shahi, Dennis Haysbert, Jessica Lu, Sendhil Ramamurthy and Kathryn Morris. Mickey Fisher will write and executive produce. Jaume Collet-Serra will direct and executive produce the pilot. Brooklyn Weaver, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey also executive produce. Tom Szentgyorgyi is a consulting producer. Reverie is produced by Universal Television and Amblin Television.

Rise - From Jason Katims, writer and executive producer of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller comes a heartening new drama about finding inspiration in unexpected places. When dedicated teacher and family man Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor) sheds his own self-doubt and takes over the school’s lackluster theater department, he galvanizes not only the faculty and students but the entire working-class town. Inspired by a true story. The cast includes Josh Radnor, Rosie Perez, Marley Shelton, Auli’i Cravalho, Damon J. Gillespie, Amy Forsyth, Rarmian Newton, Ted Sutherland, Casey Johnson, Taylor Richardson, Joe Tippett and Shirley Rumierk. Jason Katims will write and executive produce. Mike Cahill will direct and executive produce the pilot. Michelle Lee, Jeffrey Seller and Flody Suarez also executive produce. Rise is produced by Universal Television, True Jack Productions and Seller Suarez Productions.


The Awesome Show - From executive producer/host Chris Hardwick (The Wall), executive producer Mark Burnett (The Voice) and Silicon Valley’s Singularity University, comes a new series that will showcase the groundbreaking scientific and technological advances that are shaping the future, as well as celebrate the pioneers and communities at the forefront of this golden age of unprecedented discovery, innovation and opportunity. Each episode of The Awesome Show will be a rollercoaster ride through the world of innovation as told by the people who are shaping it and whose lives are affected by it. The series will highlight stories of revolutionary scientific and technological advances and will marvel at mankind’s tremendous feats, both now and in the future. Mark Burnett, Chris Hardwick and Alex Murray executive produce. The Awesome Show is produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio in association with Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Fish Ladder.

Ellen's Game of Games - The one and only Ellen DeGeneres returns to primetime to host an exciting new game show that’s one big party! Featuring super-sized versions of some of the most beloved games from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, as well as new ones, contestants will be pulled from the studio audience to maneuver massive obstacles while answering trivia questions, all under the pressure of Ellen’s mischievous and hilarious antics. With DeGeneres’ witty and comedic sensibility plus fun-filled games, each episode is sure to entertain the entire family and deliver lots of laughs. One lucky contestant will get the chance to win the grand prize, but everyone will have a blast! Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner, Kevin Leman and David A. Hurwitz executive produce. Russell Norman directs. Ellen’s Game of Games is produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted in association with A Very Good Production and Telepictures.

Genius Junior - No stranger to young geniuses, Neil Patrick Harris hosts an exciting new game show that celebrates the smartest kids in America. These talented “genius juniors” will team up to take on mind-blowing tests of logic, math, memory, spelling and more. Through escalating rounds, they will be tested in each area of the brain, culminating in an ultimate challenge to be crowned the smartest and brightest. The winning team will take home a life-changing prize — setting the stage for a big, bright future ahead. Neil Patrick Harris, Pam Healey, John Hesling, Phil Parsons and Ed Egan executive produce. Genius Junior is produced by Shed Media in association with Prediction Productions.

The Handmade Project - From executive producer and host Amy Poehler and co-host Nick Offerman comes a lighthearted competition celebrating the creativity and craftiness in all of us. Each week, eight amateur makers will take on a series of projects they must complete in their own unique way. As the competition escalates, the amateurs will be challenged to master progressively difficult skills, culminating in a final craft-off between the most creative and tenacious contestants. Shot in a serene outdoor setting, this friendly competition will focus on the character and camaraderie of DIY culture – and through it all, Poehler and Offerman will provide encouragement, guidance and plenty of laughs. Amy Poehler, Brooke Posch, Nicolle Yaron, Nick Offerman, Dave Becky and Anthony Dominici executive produce. The Handmade Project is produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio in association with Paper Kite Productions.

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