NBC is making some big moves. The broadcaster just released its 2012-13 prime-time schedule (below), revealing several returning shows that are changing time slots while the network launches new titles that executives hope will turn around the network’s performance in the ratings.
New action-drama The Blacklist, starring James Spader as a master criminal (trailer here), gets the most valuable piece of one-hour real estate — Mondays at 10 p.m. after The Voice. That move will boot Revolution out of its protected post-Voice nest to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. This year’s surprisingly sturdy freshman soap Chicago Fire will shift to Tuesdays at 10 p.m., thus gaining a lead-in from The Voice results show in the fall (clearly NBC hopes to fan Chicago Fire’s ratings into a full-fledged ratings bonfire during its second season, just like ABC did with its breakout soap Scandal). Parenthood is also on the march, shifting to Thursdays at 10 p.m. (a tough time period for NBC lately, but you can see why the network would think the family dramedy would be a good fit with its new family oriented comedies).
NBC will continue to program a two-hour comedy block on Thursdays despite its struggles on the evening. Parks and Recreation will shift to Community‘s 8 p.m. slot in the fall (Community will be a midseason replacement at some point). NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt says the rest of the Thursday comedy lineup will have a “family theme” moving forward, continuing to signal a shift back toward more traditional comedies after years of more hipster-friendly titles that often couldn’t deliver broad audiences.
The new Thursday shows include multi-cultural/generational comedy Welcome to the Family and two sitcoms heralding the return of NBC comedy stars from yesteryear: Will & Grace‘s Sean Hayes in Sean Saves the World, and Family Ties star Michael J. Fox in the rather plainly titled The Michael J. Fox Show. In a concept that echos Fox’s prime-time history, the actor will play a news anchor and family man who returns to the workplace after putting his career on hold due to having Parkinson’s disease.
There’s been some worrisome buzz over NBC’s long-gestating direct-to-series project Dracula, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and that title is going into Fridays at 10 p.m. and will be considered a limited series (first Dracula photos here). Grimm, despite some speculation that it might get an upgrade to earlier in the week, will stay on Fridays.
Saved for midseason: New comedies About a Boy and The Family Guide. New J.J. Abrams-produced drama Believe and political thriller Crisis will go on Sundays after football season concludes, with pirate drama Crossbones eventually going to Fridays. No word yet on Hannibal. Celebrity Apprentice is also awaiting a pickup verdict, though a return seems likely. New dramas Chicago PD, The Night Shift and comedy Undateable will also air sometime in midseason. Earlier Sunday, NBC also announced that Seth Meyers will take over as host of Late Night when Jimmy Fallon takes control of The Tonight Show next year.
See the complete schedule below:
8-10 p.m.– “The Voice” 10-11 p.m. – “THE BLACKLIST”
8:30-9 p.m. – “WELCOME TO THE FAMILY”9-9:30 p.m. – “SEAN SAVES THE WORLD” 9:30-10 p.m. – “THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW” 10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood” (New Day and Time)
7:00-8:15 p.m. – “Football Night in America”8:15-11:30 p.m. – “NBC Sunday Night Football”
8-10 p.m.– “The Voice” 10-11 p.m. – “THE BLACKLIST”
8:30-9 p.m. – “WELCOME TO THE FAMILY”9-9:30 p.m. – “SEAN SAVES THE WORLD” 9:30-10 p.m. – “THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW” 10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood”
8-10 p.m. – Encore and specials programming
10-11 p.m. – “Saturday Night Live” (Encore)
7-8 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”8-9 p.m. – “AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS” 9-10 p.m. – “BELIEVE” 10-11 p.m. – “CRISIS”
“The overriding strategy this year was to develop enough strong comedies and dramas to take advantage of the promotional heft of the Winter Olympics and devise two schedules for the upcoming season: one for fall and a slightly different one for midseason. I’m pleased to say that our development groups — headed by Jennifer Salke (scripted) and Paul Telegdy (alternative/reality) — really delivered,” Greenblatt said. “This is the most robust and highest-testing slate of new shows we have had in years.”Greenblatt continued, “And aside from our Olympics planning, we also wanted to create better flow and compatibility on each night, and deploy our strongest lead-in (‘The Voice’) to maximum effect.“Sunday in the fall remains the night to beat with ‘Sunday Night Football.’ After football and the Olympics are over, we will launch two classy, attention-getting dramas in February: ‘Believe’ from J.J. Abrams, and ‘Crisis’ starring Dermot Mulroney and Gillian Anderson. We think it’s time for big dramas again on Sunday nights. And leading into these dramas at 8 p.m. will be an exciting home renovation competition hosted by Nate Berkus called ‘American Dream Builders.’“Monday and Tuesday will again dominate with ‘The Voice.’ Our highly anticipated new James Spader drama ‘The Blacklist’ deserves to go into the 10 p.m. slot on Monday, and we’re moving ‘Chicago Fire,’ a show we really believe in, to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays to benefit from ‘The Voice’ lead-in that will be at 9 p.m. in the fall.“After the Olympics, however, ‘The Voice’ moves back to 8 p.m. on Tuesday so that we can launch two of our strongest new family comedies in the 9 p.m. hour: ‘About a Boy’ and ‘The Family Guide.’ Landing more comedy on the schedule is important and using ‘The Voice’ as a lead-in after the Olympics is the strongest way to do that.“I believe we’ll have a more compatible Wednesday line-up with three dramas: ‘Revolution,’ ‘Law & Order: SVU’ and ‘Ironside,’ starring Blair Underwood, which is another new show we’ve very high on.“Thursday will have a family theme, starting with a two-hour comedy block from 8-10 p.m. anchored by strong stars: Amy Poehler in ‘Parks and Recreation,’ Mike O’Malley in ‘Welcome to the Family,’ Sean Hayes in ‘Sean Saves the World’ and the new ‘Michael J. Fox Show.’ Then at 10 p.m. ‘Parenthood’ moves in to top off the night with what I know is the best family drama on television.“On Fridays, anchored by ‘Grimm’ at 9 p.m., we will have a more fun genre night with the limited-series ‘Dracula,’ starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers at 10 p.m. In the spring, ‘Crossbones’ — with John Malkovich as the infamous pirate Blackbeard — replaces ‘Dracula,’” said Greenblatt.