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Monday, May 1, 2017

UPFRONTS 2017: What NBC Should Do

It is Upfronts season again! This week, I will be giving my opinions on what the networks should do. These are not predictions (that is next week) and I have not seen the pilots so I am basing my opinions on what sounds promising.

In another rough year for the broadcast networks, NBC had the best season. They didn't have any regular shows go below a 1.0 demo until winter. They had the only breakout hit of the year in acclaimed drama This is Us. They still have The Voice, which is lower but still a force. The Chicago franchise may be overexposed at this point, but it gives them a lot of stability. They at least have a comedy pulse thanks to Superstore and The Good Place and of course they still have football. But there's still work to be done, especially on Mondays at 10pm and Fridays. Here is what I think they should do.

Past NBC Suggestions: 2016   2015   2014   2013   2012   2011

For a list of NBC pilots, click here

8:00 The Voice
NBC has often opted for high concept dramas like Revolution, The Blacklist, Blindspot, and Timeless airing out of The Voice. All of those flamed out pretty quickly except for The Blacklist so I think it's time to try a different kind of drama. I think the military drama For God and Country might be a strong option. It seems like it could be a big tent show airing after a big tent franchise in The Voice.

8:00 This is Us
9:00 RISE
10:00 Chicago Fire
OK so this may be my most radical suggestion for NBC. A lot of people think NBC will move Chicago Fire to another night so a new drama can air out of This is Us. I completely agree that a new drama needs to air out of This is Us, but the show I would move would be The Voice to Wednesdays at 8pm. I do not think this will happen, but it's my suggestion. 10pm shows are tough to launch, even after a ratings powerhouse so why not leave Chicago Fire alone and let This is Us lead off the night into its very obvious companion, Rise. I think this maximizes NBC's hits but again, I do not think it'll happen.

8:00 The Voice
9:00 Chicago PD
10:00 Law & Order: SVU
Since I took The Voice off of Tuesdays, it of course needs to go to the lead-off spot on Wednesdays. If they actually did that, I would flip Chicago PD and Law & Order: SVU. NBC needs PD to last for years while SVU is obviously towards the end of its run. This might be the best way to get PD the most exposure and it did well in a one-off 9pm airing earlier this year.

8:00 Superstore
8:30 The Good Place
10:00 Chicago Med
Thursdays have been a tough nut to crack for NBC. They got a little more stable this year, especially in the fall and they will once again have football in November and December. I think a comedy lineup makes the most sense here. I would leave single cam comedies Superstore and The Good Place in the 8pm hour and follow it with a return to Thursdays for the straight-to-series Will & Grace reboot. They only have one multi-camera show in development so I would slot that show, Relatively Happy, after Will & Grace. I think Chicago Med hasn't gotten enough credit for surviving in a tough situation this season, but I'd still move it to 10pm.

9:00 Chicago Justice
10:00 Dateline NBC
NBC needs to do more with Fridays than they did this season. They basically punted in the fall and then had the low rated Grimm/Emerald City combo in the winter. It's time to find an older skewing lineup for the night and I think they can accomplish that with the new true crime drama Law & Order: True Crime (initially focusing on the Menendez Brothers) and Chicago Justice. This would give them a Chicago show every night Tuesday-Friday and I think that's OK. Dateline NBC can remain at 10pm.

8:00 Encores

7:00 Football Night in America
8:30 Sunday Night Football
As always, it's football for Sunday in the fall.

NBC will need shows for Sunday in the spring and for The Voice hiatus. They also have smaller order shows like This is Us and The Good Place, so they'll need a decent amount on the bench. I'm not sure I have enough here but we'll see. Great News could be added to this list if it does well in week two. I think Good Girls could be a Tuesday candidate at some point, perhaps when This is Us ends its season. Redliners and Reverie could both be Monday 10pm options for spring if For God and Country doesn't work. Champions and Spaced Out could both be included in the comedy block or perhaps even Sundays. Sundays could also be home to Little Big Shots and Shades of Blue again. With Law & Order: True Crime being a limited show, The Blacklist or Blindspot could be a Friday 8pm option. There's a lot of directions NBC could go with midseason shows.

CANCELLED/ENDED: The Blacklist: Redemption, Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon, Emerald City, First Dates, Great News, Grimm, The New Celebrity Apprentice, Powerless, Taken, Timeless, Trial & Error

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