Upon first glance at the new NBC fall schedule, we have a startling admission that we did not think we’d be making about the network anytime soon: We like it. It pairs up smart shows together, takes a few risks, and seems at least moderately interested in launching some new highlights.
Let’s go through this night-by-night, that way we can provide you with the best sense possible as to what is happening when. Remember, this is the first of what could be many schedules announced: Things change, shows get canceled, and NBC may panic and replace half of their lineup with Jay Leno or “The Voice” recap shows.
Mondays – “The Voice” of course keeps its two-hour block, but “Revolution” is replaced by “The Blacklist.” This show received the best screen-test results from NBC in a decade, so expect a huge promo campaign here for the James Spader series about a nefarious evil-doer mysteriously offering up information about past criminals that he worked with. It’s much more complex than that, but we’ll have more information on this and other new series soon.
Tuesdays – “The Biggest Loser” unfortunately returns to the fall again, and we say this only because airing it once a year seemed smarter for the ratings. “The Voice” airs an hour later than usual at 9:00, and “Chicago Fire” shifts over here. (The spin-off will likely launch at mid-season, when “The Voice” is on hiatus.)
Wednesdays – “Revolution” takes a daring move to Wednesdays at 8:00, but one we like given that “The Middle,” “Survivor,” and “The X Factor” are all very different shows than it. (“Arrow” may actually be its most direct competition, which is weird to say about a CW show.) “Law & Order: SVU” stays firmly camped at 9, and the new drama “Ironside” (yes, a remake that we have little hope in) takes the former “Chicago Fire” spot.
Thursdays – It’s a surprising comedy block! We worry slightly about “Parks and Recreation” getting the spot against “The Big Bang Theory,” mostly since we don’t know how the three successive new comedies (“Welcome to the Family,” “Sean Saves the World,” and “The Michael J. Fox Show”) are going to fare. We’re mostly surprised that Sean Hayes and Fox are now swapped since the “Spin City” alum is the bigger draw, and we had practically penciled him in for the spot that was once held by “The Office.”
In following all this up, we have the return of “Parenthood,” probably the only NBC show that could do well in this deadly time-slot.
Fridays – “Dateline” remains at 8:00, and we dig the one-two punch of “Grimm” and the new “Dracula.” They’re similar shows, and the latter in particular will have no similar competition out there at all. Applause, NBC, for setting up a theme night!
Sunday – It’s “Sunday Night Football.” If you don’t like the NFL, you have to at least thank them for making NBC so much ad money.
There are other series left off here (“Community,” “About a Boy,” “Believe”), and we expect to hear more on those soon. We anticipate mid-season for all.
If you do want to know some more information about a new show, we feel your pain. That’s why, starting tomorrow, we will be profiling a new series daily coming from every network. Be sure to bookmark this link, since that’s where we’ll also have our quick-takes on some of the other schedules straight from the upfronts.