NBC Announces Fall Schedule, ‘This Is Us’ Grabs Post-‘Super Bowl’ Slot
The busy broadcast TV upfronts week kicked off today with NBC announcing their fall schedule for the 2017-18 television season. While news has been dropping this past week over cancellations and renewals, as well as a few surprises (Timeless is not canceled after all!), a call today with reporters explained some of the network’s choices.
The NBC bigwigs on the call were Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment; Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment; Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Reality Group, NBC Entertainment; and Jeff Bader, President, Program Planning Strategy & Research, NBC Entertainment.
Greenblatt talked of the network’s goals for shaping their fall season and about moving hit series This Is Us to a new night—Thursday. “We are coming off a very successful year and feeling really bullish about next season, ” Greenblatt said at the top of the call. “Strategy for us is to continue to grow and nurture shows…obviously This Is Us is a show that we think is peerless at the moment in broadcast television so we decided to move it to Thursday nights and not just throw it in there and hope for the best but strategically surround it with shows that we think are very strong and our hope is to create the return of Must See TV on Thursday.”
It was also revealed Sunday that This Is Us will get the coveted post-Super Bowl slot on February 4, 2018, and Greenblatt revealed during the call that we may also see a special Christmas episode. “The priority is how do we keep This Is Us alive as much as possible and on the schedule as long as possible and that’s what we’re going to try to do even with the interruptions [reruns, football] that we’re going to have.”
For Chicago Justice, which noticeably wasn’t renewed earlier this year along with sister shows Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med, there still may be life in the latest spin-off even if it wasn’t on NBC’s press release for fall or midseason. “We haven’t made a definitive decision on that yet,” Greenblatt said. “We decided that we didn’t have a place for it yet but we’re still looking at deeper in midseason and don’t have a definitive decision on that right now.” Greenblatt also said other shows like Trial & Error and The Carmichael Show are still in contention even if they aren’t currently on the fall or midseason schedules.
And while the return of Will & Grace has already generated a great amount of buzz, could we see more than the 12-episodes that have been ordered? “I just literally saw the cast twenty minutes ago,” Greenblatt said, “and I said to them ‘If this works were going to want more of these’ and I believe without putting any words in anyone’s mouths and, of course, there are deals and schedules to work out, but I think it’s possible. If they love doing it again and it lands in a big way…it’s my hope that we would have more than these twelve.”
Besides the fall season, midseason shows picked up include Rise from Friday Night Lights & Parenthood executive producer Jason Katims and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Sellers; provocative Good Girls from Scandal alum Jenna Bans; and Amblin Television’s Reverie with Chicago Med returning to Thursdays at 10 p.m.
Midseason comedy A.P. Bio is executive produced by Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels while Champions brings Mindy Kaling back to NBC as an executive producer. On the alternative side, Chris Hardwick’s The Awesome Show, Ellen’s Game of Games from Ellen DeGeneres, Genius Junior hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, and The Handmade Project executive produced and hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman are all coming mid-season.
NBC’s Fall Schedule (New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET):
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
Here are the synopses for the new NBC fall series:
NEW DRAMA SERIES
From Keshet Studios and Avi Nir (executive producer of Homeland) comes a fresh, heart-pounding journey into the complex world of America’s elite undercover military heroes. While D.I.A. Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche) and her team of analysts wield the world’s most advanced surveillance technology from Washington, D.C., Adam Dalton and his heroic Special Ops squad of highly trained undercover specialists use their unbreakable bond and commitment to freedom to save lives of innocent people and execute missions in some of the most dangerous places in the world. The cast includes Heche, Mike Vogel, Sofia Pernas, Tate Ellington, Natacha Karam, Demetrius Grosse, Noah Mills and Hadi Tabbal.
When three suburban moms get tired of trying to make ends meet, they decide it’s time to stick up for themselves by robbing the local supermarket at (toy) gunpoint. But when the manager catches a glimpse of one of them and the loot is far more than they expected, it doesn’t take long for the three best friends to realize the perfect getaway will be harder than they think. From executive producer Jenna Bans (Scandal) comes this comedy-infused drama that mixes a little Thelma & Louise with a bit of Breaking Bad. The cast includes Retta, Mae Whitman, Reno Wilson, Manny Montana, Lidya Jewett, Izzy Stannard and Matthew Lillard.
LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS
Starring the incomparable Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Edie Falco (“The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie), this new eight-episode true-crime installment of the powerhouse Law & Order franchise delivers a gripping in-depth dramatization of the notorious murder case that changed America forever. When the Menendez brothers were tried on national TV for brutally killing their parents in Beverly Hills, their story became a national obsession. Now, the first edition of this anthology series delves into the players, the crime and the media circus, detailing the day-to-day battles of the trial and unveiling the shocking truth of what really went down when the cameras stopped rolling.
From Mickey Fisher, the creator of Extant, this grounded new thriller follows Mara Kint (Sarah Shahi, Person of Interest), a former hostage negotiator and expert on human behavior who became a college professor after facing an unimaginable personal tragedy. But when she’s brought in to save ordinary people who have lost themselves in a highly advanced virtual-reality program in which you can literally live your dreams, she finds that in saving others, she may actually have discovered a way to save herself. The cast includes Shahi, Dennis Haysbert, Jessica Lu, Sendhil Ramamurthy and Kathryn Morris.
From Jason Katims, writer and executive producer of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, and “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller comes a heartening new drama about finding inspiration in unexpected places. When dedicated teacher and family man Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor, How I Met Your Mother) sheds his own self-doubt and takes over the school’s lackluster theater department, he galvanizes not only the faculty and students but the entire working-class town. Inspired by a true story. The cast includes Radnor, Rosie Perez, Marley Shelton, Auli’i Cravalho, Damon J. Gillespie, Amy Forsyth, Rarmian Newton, Ted Sutherland, Casey Johnson, Taylor Richardson, Joe Tippett and Shirley Rumierk.
NEW COMEDY SERIES
When a philosophy scholar loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher, he makes it clear he will not be teaching any biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, he decides instead to use the kids to his own benefit. The cast includes Glenn Howerton, Patton Oswalt, Lyric Lewis, Mary Sohn, Aparna Brielle, Jacob McCarthy, Nick Peine and guest star Vanessa Bayer (pilot only).
Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition, lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot. Their simple life of women and working out is put on hold when the teenage son of Vince is dropped off on their doorstep by Priya (Mindy Kaling), one of his old high school flings. The cast includes Anders Holm, Andy Favreau, J.J. Totah, Mouzam Makkar, Nina Wadia and guest star Kaling.
WILL & GRACE
That’s right, honey! A decade after their unforgettable eight-season run, comedy’s most fabulous foursome is back. Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reprise their infamous roles as Will, Grace, Jack and Karen in this exclusive 12-episode event. The legendary James Burrows, director of every original Will & Grace episode, returns along with a slew of razor-sharp jabs and dirty martinis. Behold once again, from the minds of Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, TV’s wittiest ensemble ever.