Armchair Scheduling: NBC Fall 2012
May 7, 2012 1 Comment
Unlike its competitors, NBC has been much more open about its plans this pilot season. They gave an early order to the Matthew Perry fronted Go On and allowed at least 3 other comedy pilots to begin staffing. On the drama side, they’ve played things closer to the vest. Returning favorites like Parenthood and Law & Order: SVU has yet to receive official pickups nor have high profile pilots from their respective creators. The peacock network did, however, give early renewals to Smash and Grimm with the intention of launching both in August out of the summer Olympics.
A flurry of news coming out of NBC today suggests that they could be finalizing a number of things by the end of the day, in which case this post will be need to be edited. Until then, this is my best guess of how NBC’s schedule will look in the fall.
8pm: Sunday Night Football
Not much to say here. Sunday Night Football airs on Sunday nights.
8pm: The Voice
Bringing The Voice back in the fall seems like an ill-advised idea. The show has been bleeding viewers this spring and another cycle so close to this one doesn’t leave much time for NBC to drum up excitement. Still, The Voice is the closest thing NBC has to a hit series, so it’s hard to fault them for wanting in on the schedule. Given the poor retention rate Smash has shown this spring, I would be surprised to see it remain behind The Voice on Mondays. Jason Katims’ County is a character driven procedural and not likely to alienate male viewers in the way Smash did, which makes it the ideal companion.
8pm: The Biggest Loser
9pm: The Voice (Results)
It seems like every time I do one of these posts, I predict NBC will hold The Biggest Loser and then they don’t. This time I’ve decided to err on the side of caution and simply predict that the network will shrink the show to an hour, as they’ve done this spring. The Voice will have at least 6 weeks of results shows, but it wouldn’t shock me if that number grows. Behind The Voice, NBC may choose to use Smash. Personally, I don’t see how the show is sustainable for a full 22 episodes, but that is new showrunner Josh Safran’s problem not mine.
8pm: The New Normal
8:30pm: Save Me
10pm: Law & Order: SVU
Wednesday night has been brutal for NBC this year. Whitney, Are You Chelsea?, Bent, BFF, Rock Center, and to a less extent Harry’s Law have all struggled to gain traction on the night. Betty White’s Off Their Rockers has shown some life, but it skews old and is likely to be used as a stop-gap. That leaves only Law & Order: SVU, of the night’s many inhabitants. I can’t see NBC moving it from the 10pm slot, given all the work that 8pm-10pm will require. For a while, I thought NBC would try to open a female skewing multicamera comedy block on Wednesdays, but upper management has allegedly been underwhelmed by how their multicam offerings turned out. Because of this, I can’t help but think they’ll use the 9pm anchor spot to launch Revolution, a flashy new action drama from JJ Abrams and Eric Kripke. Two years ago, NBC used a similar tactic to launch The Event on Mondays. All things considered, The Event debuted to spectacular numbers but quickly squandered them. If Revolution is good, it shouldn’t have to worry about that. NBC may choose to go with unscripted stuff leading into Revolution. Hell, they might even leave Off Their Rockers there. But, if NBC wants to be bold, they may instead try to use their favorite new comedyThe New Normal to jump-start the night. Unlike many of NBC’s other comedy offerings, which are work-centric, The New Normal is a family comedy. It would pair nicely with Up All Night but that appears to be dead, so perhaps NBC goes with another new comedy such as Save Me instead.
8:30pm: Parks & Recreation
9pm: The Office
9:30pm: Go On
10pm: Chicago Fire
I almost certainly have the order of these comedies wrong. I know that. What I don’t know is how NBC will mix in their new workplace comedies with their old workplace comedies. I suspect 30 Rock will get a final 13 episodes, so it would make sense for NBC to hold that for midseason. A compelling case could also be made that either Community or Parks and Recreation should be held back, but would NBC really want to subject a new comedy to the theoretical might of 2 Broke Girls or The Big Bang Theory? I don’t think so. I do feel confident that Go On gets a the once coveted post-Office birth. Chicago Fire could then slide into the 10pm slot that NBC uses to launch prestige procedural dramas.
8pm: Harry’s Law
10pm: Dateline NBC
Dateline seems fairly entrenched in the 10pm slot; and, with Grimm having already been renewed, I don’t see that going anywhere. 8pm will be freed up, but I doubt NBC will try to launch something new there. Perhaps, they move the demo-challenged Harry’s Law there? It’s what I would do.
Who Do You Think You Are?
The Celebrity Apprentice
Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Do No Harm
Guys with Kids
As I mentioned above, I believe 30 Rock will return for a final 13 episodes. Several of the network’s cheaper to produce reality properties are also likely to return. This includes The Celebrity Apprentice, Who Do You Think You Are? and Off Their Rockers. I also find it hard to believe that NBC would cancel one of their only critical darlings, Parenthood. If Smash goes in the fall, then Parenthood probably sits on the bench until midseason. If Smash is held, Parenthood goes back to Tuesdays at 10pm in the fall.
1600 Penn is going to series. The question now is whether it shows up on the fall schedule. Obviously, NBC can only launch so many new series in August/September. My gut says 1600 Penn is not among those who get a fall birth. It may be joined at midseason by the Greg Daniels project Friday Night Dinner, as conflicting reports have that greenlit and dead. Guys with Kids looks good for a pickup, which probably means at least one other multicam is going to series. Buzz seems to favor Daddy’s Girls, but I wouldn’t count out the Rosanne vehicle Downwardly Mobile. NBC may also have The Farm come midseason, depending on how the backdoor pilot is received.
Hannibal has already been given a 13 episode order for midseason and Do No Harm is looking like a sure thing. Mockingbird Lane will be along at some point, assuming the pilot meets executives’ expectations. NBC may not need any other midseason dramas beyond that. If they do pickup another drama, odds seems to be in Notorious‘ favor.