SIX NEW SERIES, CHANGES ON FIVE NIGHTS
The emphasis on NBC is on comedy, with four nights of the week – Tuesday through Friday – featuring half-hour sitcoms. The network will introduce six new series this fall (four comedies, two dramas), with changes impacting the Monday to Friday line-up. Encore programming will remain on troubled Saturday, with Sunday Night Football, of course, intact. Once football season ends, the Sunday line-up will feature Dateline, relocated Fashion Star, a one-hour edition of The Celebrity Apprentice and new drama Do No Harm. The Voice, as expected, will be featured on two nights this fall, with the two-hour telecast on Monday leading into new drama Revolution; and a relocated 8 p.m. edition on Tuesday leading into new sitcoms Go On and The New Normal from 9-10 p.m. and returning family drama Parenthood at 10 p.m. (all times are Eastern).
Wednesday will open with another pair of new sitcoms, Animal Practice and Guys With Kids, into a 9 p.m. edition of Law & Order: SVU and new Dick Wolf drama Chicago Fire at 10 p.m. Thursday is a revamped version of its low-rated Thursday sitcom block beginning with 30 Rock at 8 p.m., followed by Up All Night, The Office and Parks and Recreation into surprise newsmagazine returnee Rock Center With Brian Williams at 10 p.m., which seems to have been upgraded following a disastrous first season.
Friday, meanwhile, will open with returning (and relocated) sitcoms Whitney and Community from 8-9 p.m. into season two of drama Grimm and veteran Dateline. The last time NBC began a season with comedies in the Friday 8 p.m. hour was in 1983 with classic clinkers Mr. Smith and Jennifer Slept Here. With 10 comedies on its fall line-up, NBC is populating its fall schedule with the most number of sitcoms since 2000. The biggest difference between now and then is the lack of any hit comedies to support the new entries.
In midseason, NBC has six more new scripted series on tap: comedies Next Caller, Save Me and 1600 Penn; and dramas Hannibal, Infamous and aforementioned Do No Harm. Also returning in midseason is season two of critically acclaimed Smash and long-running reality/competition The Biggest Loser.
Not returning on NBC are comedies Are You There, Chelsea?, BFF and Bent; dramas Awake, The Firm and Harry’s Law, which faced the axe because of its older skew; and non-scripted hours Escape Routes, Fear Factor, It’s Worth What?, The Marriage Ref, Minute to Win It, Who’s Still Standing? and Who Do You Think You Are?
In a nutshell: No one ever said rebuilding a network is easy. But no one also said it would take this long either. While you have to admire NBC for being aggressive, the emphasis on comedy could backfire minus any proven support; the returning dramas are all lacking in the ratings department; moving Rock Center With Brian Williams into the Thursday 10 p.m. hour is a wasted opportunity; and a fall edition of The Voice is, no doubt, a risk. Thankfully, Sunday Night Football is still present.
Here is NBC’s fall 2011 line-up (with new shows in caps) followed by the new series descriptions.
8:00 p.m. The Voice (two hours)
10:00 p.m. REVOLUTION
8:00 p.m. The Voice Results Show (new time)
9:00 p.m. GO ON
9:30 p.m. THE NEW NORMAL
10:00 p.m. Parenthood
8:00 p.m. ANIMAL PRACTICE
8:30 p.m. GUYS WITH KIDS
9:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (new time)
10:00 p.m. CHICAGO FIRE
8:00 p.m. 30 Rock (new time)
8:30 p.m. Up All Night (new time)
9:00 p.m. The Office
9:30 p.m. Parks and Recreation
10:00 p.m. Rock Center With Brian Williams (new day and time)
8:00 p.m. Whitney (new day)
8:30 p.m. Community (new day and time)
9:00 p.m. Grimm
10:00 p.m. Dateline
8:00 p.m. Encore programming
7:00 p.m. Football Night in America
8:15 p.m. NBC Sunday Night Football
7:00 p.m. Dateline
8:00 p.m. Fashion Star (new day and time)
9:00 p.m. The Celebrity Apprentice (one hour)
10:00 p.m. DO NO HARM
New Program Descriptions
Described as a comedic version of House, the story centers on a veterinarian (Justin Kirk) who loves animals but usually hates their owners. Tyler Labine (Reaper) and Bobby Lee (MADtv) co-star.
Former Friends star Matthew Perry plays a charming but sarcastic sportswriter (is there any other kind?) who finds comfort from the members of his mandatory group therapy sessions after suffering a loss. Other cast members include Laura Benanti, Julie White Allison Miller, Khary Payton and Suzy Nakamura.
Guys With Kids
A trio of guys (Zach Cregger, Jesse Branford and Anthony Anderson) living in the same building who must deal with parenthood despite not being the most mature in nature. Jimmy Fallon is one of the executive producers.
The New Normal
The blended family of a gay couple (Andrew Rannells and Justin Barba) and the surrogate (Georgia King) who is trying to help them start a family is the focus of this sitcom from Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Allison Adler.
Next Caller (midseason)
Set in the offices of a satellite radio station, the focus is on a mismatched duo — a brash alpha male DJ (Dane Cook) and his new, plucky, feminist co-host (Collette Wolfe).
Save Me (midseason)
Anne Heche (Men in Trees) portrays a woman in a rut that undergoes an “awakening” after a blow to the head transforms her into what she refers to as a “prophet of God.” The cast includes Michael Landes and Carly Breckenridge.
1600 Penn (midseason)
A dysfunctional First Family led by Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman is the focus of this Modern Family-like sitcom set in the White House. The Book of Mormon star Josh Gad writes, produces, and co-stars as one of the three children.
The complex and heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department is the focus of this action-packed drama from Law & Order creator Dick Wolf and Universal Television. The ensemble cast includes Eamonn Walker, Taylor Kinney. Monica Raymund, David Eigenberg, Charlie Barnet, Merle Dandridge, Lauren German and Teri Reeves.
Do No Harm (midseason)
Described as a modern day Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a brilliant neurosurgeon (is there any other kind?) who wrestles with his dangerous alter ego, and that threatens to wreak havoc on his personal and professional life. The cast includes Steven Pasquale, Ruta Gedmintas, Alana De La Garza, Mousa Kraish, Michael Esper and former Cosby Show Mom Phylicia Rashad as the Chief of Surgery.
The classic characters from Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon and the film franchise Silence of the Lambs – FBI agent Will Graham and his mentor (and ultimate serial killer) Hannibal Lecter — are re-introduced at the beginning of their budding relationship. From Gaumont International Television.
A police detective (Meagan Good) returns undercover to the wealthy family she grew up in, as the maid’s daughter, to solve the murder of the notorious heiress who was once her closest friend. The cast includes Victor Garber (Alias), Katherine La Nasa, Tate Donovan, Neil Jackson and Ella Rae Peck.
A group of characters struggle to survive and reunite with their loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously disappeared. From J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk.