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Sunday, May 15, 2016

UPFRONTS 2016: NBC's Official Fall Schedule

Upfronts week has arrived! Here is the official NBC fall schedule!

Past NBC schedules: 2015   2014   2013   2012   2011

MONDAYS
8:00 The Voice (11th Edition)
10:00 TIMELESS
NBC is once again premiering a high profile drama following The Voice. This time, it is the time-traveling drama Timeless from Shawn Ryan. This show will likely get tons of promotion during the Olympics this summer, which helped Revolution get off to a hot start in this same slot in 2012. Meanwhile, The Voice will be bringing new coaches Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys and will also get a big Olympic boost which may help it reverse some of the problems it's been having in the ratings this spring. As of now, the plan is for Celebrity Apprentice (with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Donald Trump) to replace The Voice in-between cycles with Taken replacing Timeless.

TUESDAYS
8:00 The Voice (11th Edition)
9:00 THIS IS US
10:00 Chicago Fire (5th Season)
NBC is going with a new show following The Voice on Tuesdays as well but it's not comedies as some speculated, or one of their more "exciting" new dramas. Instead, it's the heartwarming dramedy This is Us from Dan Fogelman. This looks like an interesting show but it strikes me as one that will have difficulty finding a mass audience. However, NBC has been high on this show and they're showing their faith by giving it a great slot and booting Chicago Med to another night. Chicago Fire will continue on at 10pm where it has quietly become TV's top 10pm show.

WEDNESDAYS
8:00 Blindspot (2nd Season)
9:00 Law & Order: SVU (18th Season)
10:00 Chicago PD (4th Season)
Blindspot is getting the Revolution treatment by getting booted to the difficult Wednesday 8pm slot in its second season. This show has quickly become a low priority for NBC as it went from being the hottest new show on TV in the fall to a disappointment in the spring. It got an early renewal and NBC is not giving up entirely by booting it to Friday or anything like that. But the odds are going to be stacked against it to seeing a third season. The 9-11pm lineup remains the same with the successful pairing of Law & Order: SVU and Chicago PD.

THURSDAYS
8:00 Superstore (2nd Season)
8:30 THE GOOD PLACE
9:00 Chicago Med (2nd Season)
10:00 The Blacklist (4th Season)
The most radical changes on the NBC schedule are coming to Thursdays where comedy returns to the night where it once dominated on NBC. Superstore was a surprise success story on Mondays this winter and now will be tasked with starting off the Thursday schedule. It will get an extra boost with a special episode that will air during the Olympics this summer. It leads into the new Ted Danson/Kristen Bell comedy The Good Place. This seems like an offbeat new comedy that could pair well with Superstore but also could be too niche to find a mass audience. New comedy Powerless seemed like a much more natural fit with SuperstoreChicago Med makes the move to Thursdays after its comfortable Tuesday timeslot. These Chicago shows tend to be solid no matter where they're placed but it's still a tall order to help out a night where NBC has had trouble getting anything going in recent years. Speaking of which, The Blacklist has been on a Thursday night island for a year and a half where it has usually been lead-in and lead-out by horribly rated shows. It will now move to 10pm. If it can keep getting what it was getting and Chicago Med brings most of its Tuesday audience over, Thursday will see a major upgrade regardless of what happens with the comedy hour.

FRIDAYS
8:00 Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon (3rd Season)
9:00 Grimm (6th Season)
10:00 Dateline NBC (26th Season)
Friday nights are by far the most perplexing of the NBC schedule. Despite having an abundance of dramas in their arsenal and several comedies as well, NBC is throwing away an hour on Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon, which has done very little in this slot during the spring. If NBC wanted to keep this show, it screams "backup option" for when a show fails. I know that Friday 8pm (or 9pm if they slid up Grimm) is not an ideal place to launch a new show. But they had some genre shows like Emerald City and Midnight, Texas. They needed to use this hour to try something new. I can't believe they're just punting with Caught on Camera. Grimm will return for a sixth season but it only has a 13 episode order so it could end up being the final season. Dateline NBC returns at 10pm, of course.

SATURDAYS
8:00 Dateline Saturday
10:00 Saturday Night Live (Encores)
As usual.

SUNDAYS
7:00 Football Night in America (11th Season)
8:30 Sunday Night Football
Sunday has football as usual in the fall where NBC will dominate. As of now, the spring schedule is supposed to be Little Big Shots at 8pm, the new Chicago Justice at 9pm, and Shades of Blue at 10pm.

MIDSEASON: THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, CHICAGO JUSTICE, EMERALD CITY, FIRST DATES, GREAT NEWS, MARLON, MIDNIGHT TEXAS, POWERLESS, TAKEN, TRIAL & ERROR, THE WALL, The Carmichael Show, Celebrity Apprentice, Hollywood Game Night, Little Big Shots, Shades of Blue
NBC has a ton on deck for midseason and beyond. I already mentioned Chicago Justice, Taken, Celebrity Apprentice, Little Big Shots, and Shades of Blue. Some of the other comedies could be candidates as a bridge for The Voice. You have to think at least one of their genre shows will eventually make its way to Friday, Still, I'm not convinced NBC has room for all these shows in season even with creative scheduling so I bet some of these spill into summer. The Carmichael Show got a last minute renewal this afternoon for 13 episodes. I cannot find anything definitive on The Biggest Loser so I don't know if that was renewed or cancelled.

CANCELLED/ENDED: Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, Crowded, Game of Silence, Heartbeat, The Mysteries of Laura, The Player, Strong, Telenovela, Truth Be Told, Undateable, You Me and the Apocalypse

TO SUM UP:
I am not too impressed by this schedule. The only night I think NBC got completely right was Mondays. Tuesdays seems like too big of a risk for a show like This is Us. I think Blindspot is a weaker option than The Mysteries of Laura was for Wednesdays at 8pm. Thursdays are another big risk. They should be an improvement over the current lineup but it's a tall order for sophomores Superstore and Chicago Med, two shows that have a lot of promise. And Fridays are pathetic when they have so many new shows. I do like the plan for Sundays at midseason, however. NBC had a good year and they responded by being overly conservative which didn't work at all for ABC this past season. Robert Greenblatt can talk all he wants about the fall season not being relevant in today's TV climate but they have a tremendous opportunity to launch and promo shows with the Olympics this summer and they are choosing to launch just three new shows, two of which are major swings that may not pay off.

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