Articles

May 15, 2016
 

NIELSENWAR UPFRONTS: The Fall 2016 NBC Schedule

  • SumoMe

 

Thanks to SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, THE VOICE and Dick Wolf, NBC is in stable–if unexciting–shape as the 2015-16 season ends, and the Peacock’s fall line-up is as notable for what it doesn’t do as for what it does.  Although the network has ordered a dozen new series, only 3 of them will begin airing this fall, with such high-profile titles as the spin-off to THE BLACKLIST and the latest in the Dick Wolf Chicago franchise holding for midseason.  THE CARMICHAEL SHOW isn’t in the line-up, because of a dispute between NBC and 20th Century Fox Television over the episodic order (reportedly, NBC wants just 10).  (UPDATE:  After being hit with virtually unanimous PR blowback this morning, NBC made its deal with 20th TV to renew THE CARMICHAEL SHOW, giving in to the studio’s demand for a minimum 13-episode order.  However, the show is not on the fall schedule.)  The network’s most highly-touted new drama, time-travel yarn TIMELESS, is getting the traditional post-VOICE slot on Monday, but will be replaced by the TV version of TAKEN later in the season.  Meanwhile, on the business side, while NBC is acting like an old-school network by picking up several prominent new series from outside studios, it’s pushing with the other networks for the cutting-edge right to maintain a library of the entire season’s episodes on its website and app (traditionally, only the 5 most recent episodes have been permitted).  Here’s a night-by-night look at the line-up, and trailers for the new shows are available here.

MONDAY:  As noted, the new TIMELESS follows The Voice.  The time-travel drama is from Sony TV and Eric Kripke, who created Revolution for NBC, another high-concept piece of sci-fi that thrived in the post-Voice slot, only to founder when it was moved to Wednesdays at 8PM (remember that timeslot).  This time, Kripke is partnered with The Shield‘s Shawn Ryan.  Based on the trailer, Timeless looks well-produced but unexciting for anyone who’s been watching TV (Outlander, 12 Monkeys, Legends of Tomorrow, etc) for the past several seasons, and a cast led by Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter and Goran Visnjic won’t guarantee viewers.  That Monday 10PM slot, however, is a statement by NBC that this is their Big One for the fall.

TUESDAY:  The new THIS IS US gets the other coveted post-Voice slot.  The surprise, based on the trailer, is how low-concept it appears to be, a variation on Parenthood (with a little Mike & Molly mixed in) about a group of disparate people who seem to be linked by sharing the same birthday.  The ensemble cast includes Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, and The People Vs. OJ Simpson‘s breakout star Sterling K. Brown.  This one is going to have to be awfully good to build an audience, even with that Voice lead-in, but the fact that the show reunites the team behind the sleeper hit Crazy, Stupid Love (writer Dan Fogelman and directors John Requa & Glenn Ficarra) suggests there there may be more substance here than meets the eye.  With Chicago Med vacating Tuesdays, the lone Dick Wolf title left on the night is Chicago Fire, which has been extremely sturdy and should continue to perform well.

WEDNESDAY:  NBC’s biggest scheduling move is the transfer of BLINDSPOT to Wednesday 8PM, the same move that killed Revolution.  The good news for the show is that the bar is low for that hour after 2 seasons of The Mysteries of Laura, and Blindspot should draw some less arthritic eyeballs.  But Blindspot‘s performance has been little better than so-so even with its Voice lead-in, so this is a risk.  SVU and Chicago PD keep their slots, and it appears they can’t be killed with a tank.

THURSDAY:  Comedy returns to NBC’s Thursday night, but hardly of the must-see variety.  Superstore, a modest success on Mondays, isn’t likely to do any better when facing The Big Bang Theory and Grey’s Anatomy, and that won’t be much of a set-up for new 8:30PM comedy THE GOOD PLACE.  That show, produced in-house by Universal TV, hails from the great Michael Schur, who gave us Parks & Recreation, and it stars TV staples Ted Danson and Kristen Bell.  Compared to Schur’s other shows, this one is rather high-concept, set in a heaven where Bell, who was a miserable human being when alive, has mistakenly gone after death.  It looks clever if soft (how long before that gag about not being able to curse grows tired?), and although it won’t be expected to do blockbuster numbers in that slot, it has a tough road ahead.  Afterward, Chicago Med transfers to Thursday 9PM, which seems like a promising move, especially as ABC’s Scandal has been slumping in the hour.  Med should give The Blacklist something it’s needed since its own move to Thursday:  a solid lead-in, which should be a lot of help in that show’s new 10PM berth.

FRIDAY:  No news, as Caught On Camera, Grimm and Dateline return to their current slots, although Grimm has only a 13-episode order, so things will change later in the season.

SATURDAY:  As with all the networks, there isn’t any original programming planned for Saturdays.

SUNDAY:  Sunday Night Football, duh.

NBC’s long list of bench players for midseason include the previously mentioned TAKEN, CHICAGO JUSTICE and THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, as well as dramas EMERALD CITY and MIDNIGHT, TEXAS, comedies POWERLESS (DC Comics’s first sitcom, starring Vanessa Hudgens), TRIAL & ERROR, MARLON (as in Marlon Wayans) and GREAT NEWS, and unscripted BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, FIRST DATES and THE WALL.



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 screened.com and the-burg.com. In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."