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Monday, April 27, 2015

UPFRONTS 2015: What NBC Should Do

It's hard to believe it but we are already in upfront season! This week, I will be looking at what I think the networks SHOULD do. This is not a prediction (that will come next week). This is a suggestion. I have not seen any pilots so it's based on premise and the talent in front and behind the camera.

NBC had an absolutely disastrous season with its newbies this season and they have no comedies to build a block around. They still have some successful veteran dramas and some promising drama pilots so I'd focus on that. But they can't give up on comedy. They're going to have to keep trying until something sticks. I would just try it in small doses.

Past NBC suggestions: 2014   2013   2012   2011

For a list of NBC pilots, click here

8:00 The Voice
NBC had a rough time with the 10pm slot on Mondays after The Blacklist left the night as both State of Affairs and The Night Shift had trouble. What NBC can't do is wait until November to premiere a new drama because The Voice will be at its strongest in early fall. I suggest Endgame starring Wesley Snipes. It's a high octane thriller with a recognizable name and that worked for The Blacklist. Of course, it didn't work for State of Affairs but that November premiere date hurt it (and it was a terrible show!)

8:00 The Voice
10:00 Chicago Fire
I think this is absolutely what NBC should do with Tuesdays. Chicago Fire has always been a good lead-out from The Voice so I think Chicago Med would be too. It would have a nice flow to the night as Chicago Med would finally give Fire a compatible lead-in. Fire always has to be a stand-alone show and I think this move would strengthen the night. It doesn't work to go from unscripted to comedies to a drama. Keep it more simple.

9:00 Law & Order: SVU
10:00 Chicago PD
I would leave 9-11pm alone. Yes, Law & Order: SVU could go Thursdays at 10pm as some have suggested but it can hold its own in a tough slot that will certainly include Modern Family and will probably include Criminal Minds and maybe Empire. I don't think NBC has anything that could do better than SVU here and Chicago PD works at 10pm though it always seems to be a bit of an underachiever. At 8pm, I would do the Heroes reboot. It already has a built in fan base and should be a self-starter.

10:00 The Blacklist
The move of The Blacklist to Thursdays was marginally successful. The Blacklist held up OK after an initial big drop but the 8pm and 10pm shows completely bombed. I would move Blacklist to 10pm because it'll be hard to launch a new drama against ABC's powerful TGIT lineup. I think the 8pm slot is an ideal place to try Neil Patrick Harris' new variety show. It could be good counter programming to football on CBS and dramas on ABC and likely FOX. 9pm comedies didn't work here last season but they were pretty bad and had a weak lead-in. Comedies could be more compatible with the NPH variety show. NBC could do some cross promotion on his show as well and a promising title is the latino-themed Telenovela. Strange Calls sounds interesting to me too. I think this block would have the potential to do much better than Bad Judge and A to Z did.

8:00 The Mysteries of Laura
9:00 Grimm
10:00 Dateline NBC
NBC has tried over and over again to pair something with Grimm and they've usually tried a new show at 10pm. I don't know if it'll work any better but I think it might be worth trying a drama at 8pm. The Mysteries of Laura hasn't done all that well on Wednesdays but I don't think it'd be a horrible option for Fridays at 8. I'd renew it for 13 episodes and give it a shot.

8:00 Encores

7:00 Football Night in America
8:30 Sunday Night Football
Of course football remains. The question is what to do with Sunday nights in the spring.

MIDSEASON: BLINDSPOT, COACH, CUCKOO, EMERALD CITY, GAME OF SILENCE, SHADES OF BLUE, SUPERSTORE, The Biggest Loser, Celebrity Apprentice, The Night Shift, The Sing Off, Undateable
NBC has some interesting pilots - I think Blindspot and Game of Silence both sound interesting but NBC has to be careful about dumping them on Sunday as they have with many a failed drama over the past couple years. Coach and Undateable might make a nice pairing somewhere. NBC could maybe try to launch Emerald City in conjunction with their live musical for the year, "The Wiz." Celebrity Apprentice worked pretty well as a bridge between the two editions of The Voice while The Biggest Loser can be a serviceable plug-in. Finally, I would renew The Night Shift but let it go back to summer where it worked better.

CANCELLED/ENDED: A.D. The Bible Continues, A to Z, About a Boy, Allegiance, American Odyssey, Bad Judge, Constantine, Marry Me, One Big Happy, Parenthood, Parks and Recreation, The Slap, State of Affairs
Look at how many of NBC's new shows from this past year are on this list and The Mysteries of Laura could certainly be here too.

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