Kicking off the frenzied Network TV Upfronts week, NBC announced its 2014-15 schedule on Sunday (May 11) morning, or at least NBC announced the fall 2014 portion of its schedule, because NBC has left an awful lot of stuff on the shelf for midseason and most of those moves remain shrouded in mystery and potential.
NBC is coming off a season that saw the network rise to No.1 in the 18-49 demographic on the back of NFL football, the Olympics, “The Voice” and “The Blacklist.” With the Olympics not available and with Sunday Night Football its own unique animal, it's not surprising that NBC's schedule is built very heavily around leveraging those latter two assets.
“We had a stellar year in scripted programming development that resulted in the unprecedented number of new original series joining the line-up during the coming year, which spans from September 2014-September 2015,” blurbs Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “I”m inordinately proud of NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke and Paul Telegdy, President of Alternative and Late Night Programming, for delivering such a high volume of new quality programming to augment a line-up that has begun to show strong signs of solidification.”
Let's look at things night-by-night.
For the first chunk of the fall, NBC will keep Mondays in their current shape, airing “The Voice,” with new judge Gwen Stefani, for the first two hours leading into “The Blacklist.”
Then things start moving. Beginning on November 17, the Katherine Heigl thriller “State of Affairs” will take over the 10 p.m. slot. It would appear that “The Blacklist” is going to take a hiatus, but the hit drama will be back in a big way airing in the post-Super Bowl slot on February 1, before moving to a new home on Thursdays at 9 p.m. on February 5. “The Blacklist” will then be used to seed the Russian spy thriller “Allegiance” in the 10 p.m. hour on Thursdays, but that's a different night and I'm getting ahead of myself.
“The Voice” will remain at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and after having some success this spring using it to launch a comedy block, NBC will stick with that plan. The Casey Wilson/Ken Marino sitcom “Marry Me” will get the 9 p.m. slot and the second season of “About a Boy” will slip to 9:30 p.m. Steady drama success “Chicago Fire” will remain at 10 p.m.
Although “Revolution” couldn't survive the current season in the Wednesday 8 p.m. slot, NBC is trying again with drama there, debuting the Debra Messing series “The Mysteries of Laura” — She's a detective *and* a mom! — in that hour. NBC remains stubbornly committed to “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” in the 9 p.m. hour, followed by “Chicago PD.”
NBC appears to be semi-permanently abandoning two-hour comedy Thursdays. In the fall, facing NFL action on CBS, NBC will now be launching “The Biggest Loser” in the 8 p.m. hour. The Kate Walsh comedy “Bad Judge” and “A to Z,” featuring Cristin Milioti and Ben Feldman, will take the 9 p.m. hour. And at 10 p.m. NBC is airing what will be the final season of “Parenthood.” As mentioned above, “The Blacklist” and “Allegiance” are set for Thursdays in the spring, when NBC will presumably be using the 8 p.m. hour as a comedy block.
Fridays will be “Dateline NBC” leading into steady 9 p.m. performer “Grimm” and, in the network's latest attempt to build a supernatural/occult block, the DC Comics adaptation “Constantine” will take over at 10 p.m.
Saturdays will continue to be encores and Sundays will continue to be football, at least for the fall.
As befits a network committed to year-round scheduling, NBC has an absurd quantity of programming on the shelf for winter/spring/whenever.
At this second, the only piece of midseason scheduling that's locked down other than “Blacklist”/”Allegiance” is the premiere of Mark Burnett's “Bible” sequel “A.D.” for Easter Sunday.
On the drama side, it leaves new offering “Odyssey,” as well as returning drama “Hannibal.”
The comedy slate is where things are really busy, because NBC has “Mission Control,” “Mr. Robinson,” “One Big Happy,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and what is being called the last season of “Parks and Recreation” waiting for homes.
On the alternative side, NBC will have “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Hollywood Game Night” ready for berths.
And, in addition to “A.D.,” NBC has pending event series including “Heroes Reborn,” “Emerald City” and the David Duchovny period thriller “Aquarius.”
“There is unprecedented enthusiasm that our turnaround will continue in a big way,” blurbs NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke. “As we aggressively schedule on a year-round basis, our goal remains to provide an exciting and vital line-up of unprecedented original programming.”
NBC FALL 2014-15 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 p.m. – “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. – “The Blacklist” / “STATE OF AFFAIRS” (beginning Nov. 17)
8-9 p.m. – “The Voice”
9-9:30 p.m. – “MARRY ME”
9:30-10 p.m. – “About a Boy”
10-11 p.m. – “Chicago Fire”
8-9 p.m. – “THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA”
9-10 p.m. – “Law & Order: SVU”
10-11 p.m. – “Chicago P.D.”
8-9 p.m. – “The Biggest Loser”
9-9:30 p.m. – “BAD JUDGE” (“The Blacklist” beginning Feb. 5)
9:30-10 p.m. – “A TO Z”
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood” [“Allegiance” beginning spring]
8-9 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
9-10 p.m. – “Grimm”
10-11 p.m. – “CONSTANTINE”
8-11 p.m. – Encore programming
7-8:20 p.m. – “Football Night in America”
8:20-11:30 p.m. – “NBC Sunday Night Football”