NBC is betting hugely on This Is Us next season.
For its sophomore season, the critical and ratings breakout hit will move from its current Tuesday perch into the most competitive and lucrative time slot in TV — Thursdays at 9 p.m. NBC is also giving This Is Us the post-Super Bowl slot in 2018. If that weren’t enough, the network is also considering ordering a special Christmas episode of This Is Us during its hiatus — just so fans don’t forget about the show during the break. NBC just released its fall schedule (below) which saw many key changes to the network’s lineup.
“We went back and forth about [moving This Is Us to Thursday],” NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt told reporters. “There’s a case to be made for keeping the show where it was. While it’s a little risky, there’s a bigger case to be made about redoing Thursday night.”
That Thursday redo includes reviving the 1990s-era marketing brand “Must See TV.” NBC will open the night with the reboot of Will & Grace. At 8:30 p.m., NBC will have the second season of recently launched freshman comedy Great News, which will see executive producer Tina Fey taking an on-camera role. After This Is Us airs at 9 p.m., the network will run producer Dick Wolf’s Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders miniseries starring Edie Falco.
Some reporters pressed the executive about the reason for reviving the slogan. “Our hope is to create the return of Must See TV on Thursday,” he said. “It’s not like we’re bringing back the entire old Must See TV lineup. We’re using the label to refer to some extraordinary new things and Will & Grace. I‘m not saying it’s going to be 100-foot letters on the Empire State Building, but, yes, we’re going to use it.”
Among other big headlines from NBC’s schedule: New military special-ops drama The Brave, starring Anne Heche and Mike Vogel, is getting the coveted post-The Voice slot on Monday nights; Blindspot, which squeaked into a renewal despite recent ratings drops, is being downshifted into Friday nights. The sophomore season of Taken is also being moved to Fridays. “In the past conventional wisdom has been ‘don’t put anything on Fridays’ but we like these shows and wanted to find room for them,” Greenblatt said.
And while NBC may have changed its mind about canceling Timeless, that doesn’t mean the network is suddenly so bullish about the time-travel drama that it will get a fall timeslot. Timeless fans will likely have to wait until 2018 to see the show’s return.
Still unclear are the fates of Chicago Justice and Trial & Error — NBC notes they’re both still in the running to return and should have some news soon — as well as the Tina Fey comedy pilot The Sackett Sisters, starring Busy Philipps and Casey Wilson. Greenblatt noted: “We haven’t definitively said no” to giving it a series order.
Here is NBC’s new fall schedule:
8-10 P.M. — The Voice
10-11 P.M. — THE BRAVE
8-9 P.M. — The Voice
9-9:30 P.M. — Superstore
9:30-10 P.M. — The Good Place
10-11 P.M. — Chicago Fire
8-9 P.M. — The Blacklist
9-10 P.M. — Law & Order: SVU
10-11 P.M. — Chicago P.D.
8-8:30 P.M. — WILL & GRACE
8:30-9 P.M. — Great News
9-10 P.M. — This Is Us
10-11 P.M. — LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS
8-9 P.M. — Blindspot
9-10 P.M. — Taken
10-11 P.M — Dateline NBC
8-10 P.M. — Dateline Saturday Night Mystery
10-11 P.M. — Saturday Night Live (encores)
7-8:20 P.M. — Football Night in America
8:20-11 P.M. — NBC Sunday Night Football
Held for midseason: Dramas Rise from Friday Night Lights executive producer Jason Katims, Good Girls from Scandal alum Jenna Bans; and virtual reality thriller Reverie, with Chicago Med returning too. On the comedy side: A.P. Bio, Champions, The Awesome Show, along with Ellen’s Game of Games from Ellen DeGeneres and Genius Junior hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.