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Monday, May 2, 2016

UPFRONTS 2016: What NBC Should Do

Upfront season is here! This week, I will be giving my thoughts on what the networks should do. This is not a prediction, that comes next week. I also have not seen any pilots so this is based simply on what I think based on logline, stars, etc.

It has been a rough year for all the broadcast networks but NBC probably finds itself in the best shape of any of them. They had arguably the two most successful new dramas in Chicago Med and Blindspot and a hit new unscripted show, Little Big Shots. On top of that, they finally got a bit of a pulse in the comedy department with Superstore and had a surprisingly stable run for Shades of Blue. That's a lot more positive in the new show arena than all the other networks, possibly even put together. On top of that, they have a healthy stable of dramas returning along with The Voice, of course. They are adding a short package of Thursday Night Football in November and December, which makes scheduling for that night tricky. They also have the Olympics running through late August so I wouldn't be surprised to see some early premieres or previews as they did in 2012.

Past NBC suggestions: 2015   2014   2013   2012   2011

For a list of NBC pilots, click here

8:00 The Voice
10:00 TIME
NBC needs to have something other than Blindspot for the Monday 10pm slot and it always seems like thrillers do best here. To me, that pilot this year is Time, which is a high concept, time-traveling drama. If shows like Revolution and Blindspot could succeed here, at least temporarily, Time certainly could as well. The Voice is starting to show its age but the fall usually does better than the spring and it can get another big push with its new judges during the Olympics.

8:00 The Voice
9:00 Chicago Med
10:00 Chicago Fire
I would leave Tuesdays completely alone. Arguably, this is the most successful night on any network right now from top to bottom. Chicago Med is still young and has room to grow and Chicago Fire is quickly becoming TV's top 10pm drama. This night works, there's no need to change.

8:00 TAKEN
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
10:00 Chicago PD
Taken is a proven brand and could have a shot in the Wednesday lead-off slot. I think The Mysteries of Laura doesn't get enough credit and should be renewed but it's time to try something else in this particular slot. With the built-it name, it should at least get some sampling and if it's any good, it might be a nice addition to the crime lineup on Wednesday nights. I would leave the 9-11pm slots alone with the solid pairing of Law & Order: SVU and Chicago PD.

8:00 Little Big Shots
9:30 Superstore

8:00 Thursday Night Football

8:00 The Blacklist
10:00 Blindspot
Thursdays are very interesting because NBC will be airing football starting November 17 through the end of December. Therefore, it can't be anything permanent here. So, I would start this lineup early (right after the Olympics) and I think this would be a good spot for Little Big Shots in the fall before it goes back to Sunday after football. Then, I would try the new offbeat workplace comedy Powerless with returning offbeat workplace comedy Superstore in the 9pm hour. Both could get Olympic previews. I don't know if it would be ready in time, but I think a limited series like Law & Order: True Crime would be a great 10pm option. After football ends, then I would premiere the new drama lineup consisting of The Blacklist moving up an hour, the newest Chicago series, and Blindspot. I think this might provide NBC its best Thursday hope since The Blacklist moved to this night.

8:00 The Mysteries of Laura
9:00 Grimm
10:00 Dateline NBC
NBC has tried a ton of different things paired with Grimm on Fridays, most recently comedies. So why not an established dramedy like Laura? In theory, it might be a good fit for the older Friday night crowd. If its total viewer count remained healthy enough, that could be a win. NBC only ordered 13 episodes of Grimm to start so the Friday slot could be open in the spring.

7:00 Football Night in America
8:30 Sunday Night Football
Of course there's football. At midseason, Little Big Shots should come back to 8pm, possibly paired with more comedies or Celebrity Apprentice.

A lot of the NBC comedies on the pilot list look good and NBC needs to keep swinging with comedies so I would cancel The Carmichael Show and try some new comedies. If Superstore and Powerless work in early season on Thursday, they could bridge the gap for The Voice with two new comedies while Sunday is another option. Cruel Intentions or Shades of Blue could be a Wednesday option if Taken has a limited order, which it might. 36 sounds intriguing but I don't know where I would schedule it. I would not pick up the Blacklist spinoff. It's not a strong enough show to have an offshoot.

CANCELLED/ENDED: The Biggest Loser, The Carmichael Show, Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon, Crowded, Game of Silence, Heartbeat, The Player, Strong, Telenovela, Truth Be Told, Undateable, You Me and the Apocalypse

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