May 10, 2015

NIELSENWAR: The NBC Fall Schedule


Although its official Upfront presentation isn’t until tomorrow morning, NBC has unveiled its Fall 2015 primetime schedule, and here it is along with some instant analysis (new shows are in ALL CAPS, new timeslots are in italics):


8PM:  The Voice

10PM:  BLINDSPOT (trailer here)

The network may not have moved The Blacklist back to Mondays, but it’s done the next best thing:  put a virtual clone, or at least close relation, into the post Voice slot.  Once again, a mysterious figure provides a series of mysterious crimes to an FBI agent, with the idea that solving each one will bring the Bureau closer to some bigger central mystery.  This time, the bearer of the information is a beautiful nude woman (Jaimie Alexander) found in Times Square instead of James Spader, and she doesn’t know the key information either–she’s an amnesiac, and the mysteries are contained in tattoos over her body.  Monday 10PM isn’t a particularly tough slot, if ABC and CBS hold their current shows there, but the question for Blindspot is whether it can be anything like the (temporary) breakout hit The Blacklist was when it lacks the crucial ingredient of Spader.  That kind of success would be a surprise.  (The Night Shift has been renewed but is currently unscheduled, and depending on how the fall goes, it could find itself back in the summer rotation.)


8PM:  The Voice

9PM:  HEARTBREAKER (trailer here)


10PM:  Chicago Fire (Nov)

NBC is coming as close to abandoning sitcoms next fall as any major network has done in memory, burying a pair in the low-rated Friday 8PM hour.  It’s giving its post-Voice slot on Tuesday to the medical drama Heartbreaker.  The show looks thoroughly routine, and Melissa George hasn’t previously shown the kind of star power that could bring viewers in for her presence, but it will have a strong lead-in, and if the other networks stand pat, it would be the only drama in its slot aimed at older women, so it has a chance of doing passably.  As for 10PM, NBC is big on stunts, and starting the season with 2 months of Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris is low-risk in a soft timeslot–and it has the advantage of allowing Chicago Fire, which won’t begin until November, to run with few preemptions or reruns.


8PM:  The Mysteries of Laura


10PM:  Chicago PD

An aging, mediocre night will continue as-is.  Get ready for plenty of Dick WolfWorld crossovers.


8PM:  HEROES REBORN (trailer here)

9PM:  The Blacklist

10PM:  THE PLAYER (trailer here)

The consensus was that Heroes had been run into the ground by the time it was canceled, but here it is back again.  It will certainly perform better than The Slap as a lead-in for The Blacklist, but it won’t be any surprise if the ratings start off strong and immediately start tailing off.  Blacklist‘s lead-out The Player is another unexciting genre show. although again it should be a better pairing with Blacklist than Allegiance.  Look for modest improvements on the night, but no serious challenge to CBS or ABC.


8PM:  Undateable

8:30PM:  PEOPLE ARE TALKING (trailer here)

9PM:  Grimm

10PM:  Dateline

As noted, NBC management loves its stunts, and an all-live Undateable certainly qualifies.  It’s not clear that anyone will care after the first week or two, but any rating over 1.0 in the Friday 8PM hour would likely be acceptable, so this may be a safe berth.  Not to prematurely judge a show based on a 2-minute trailer, but People Are Talking looks like an early candidate for Worst New Show Of the Fall.  That being said, it isn’t a bad pairing with Undateable, and could survive against minimal competition.


7PM:  Sunday Night Football

Well, yeah.

OVERALL:  There’s nothing in the NBC line-up that suggests a leap from this past season–but there aren’t many signs of disaster, either.  Blindspot should do OK behind The Voice, and the 8PM/10PM shows on Thursday are likely to improve on their disastrous predecessors.  Little will be expected of the Friday sitcoms, and that’s what they should deliver.  Heartbreaker is the most likely loser, but the network has plenty on its shelves for midseason if it needs a replacement.  With Sunday Night Football anchoring the fall, the line-up should perform modestly but consistently. the question being whether that’s good enough as network TV in general is shrinking fast.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."