NBC announced its 2015-16 primetime TV schedule on Sunday (May 10), a schedule that arrived with several key open questions, including:
What will get the benefit of “The Voice” lead-in?
What can be done to save “The Blacklist” in specific and Thursday in general?
Where, if anywhere, will NBC be able to make room for comedy programming?
We now have answers to all three questions.
There are, in order, “Blindspot,” “Heroes Reborn” and Friday.
NBC's fall, which will be buttressed, as always, by Sunday Night Football, includes the premieres of three new dramas (four if you consider “Heroes Reborn” to be new) and one new comedy, with only Sunday and Wednesday nights intact.
“We”re attacking the new season with the same programming strategy that successfully turned NBC around – a slate of provocative and innovative series and events that cut through the clutter and will continue to build on our momentum,” blurbs Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “We have several powerful new dramas and attention-getting new comedies, including the return of ‘Undateable,” which will be broadcast live every week next season. Live programming is one more way to make a show undeniable.”
Lest we forget, NBC is chugging toward its second consecutive season-long ratings crown in the key 18-49 demographic.
Let's go night-by-night:
Monday will continue to be set up by “The Voice,” which will lead into the Greg Berlanti-produced “Blindspot,” which stars Jaimie Alexander as a amnesiac deposited naked in Times Square with an FBI agent's name tattooed on her body and the key to a vast international conspiracy. With Sullivan Stapleton, “Blindspot” is one of two NBC fall shows to feature a lead from “Strike Back.”
Tuesdays will, as usual, start with “The Voice,” but rather than going with a comedy block at 9 p.m. NBC is going with the Vocational Irony Narrative “Heartbreaker,” about a heart surgeon (Melissa George) with a racy personal life. At 10 p.m., NBC will air the variety show “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” until “Chicago Fire” launches in November.
Wednesdays, as mentioned above, remain intact with “The Mysteries of Laura” leading into “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Chicago PD.” At least that's simple.
Thursdays, once a point of NBC strength, have become a ratings weak point in recent seasons, but the network is hoping that anticipation for “Heroes Reborn” will kickstart a new kind of Must-See. Featuring some familiar faces from “Heroes,” as well as new lead Zachary Levi, “Heroes Reborn” will lead into “The Blacklist,” followed by “The Player,” featuring the second of the “Strike Back” leads, Philip Winchester. “The Player” also stars Wesley Snipes and is a Las Vegas-set thriller.
Fridays will begin with NBC's lone comedy block, featuring the all-live third season of “Undateable,” followed by “People Are Talking,” a sitcom about two couples featuring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tone Bell and Bresha Webb. [You may notice that Meaghan Rath is no longer in the cast. That's because she was in first position for a FOX comedy that received a series order.] “Grimm” will air on Fridays at 9 p.m. and rather than trying and failing to find a compatible drama to air with “Grimm” — Sorry, “Constantine,” “Dracula” and “Hannibal” fans — NBC will just air “Dateline” at 10 p.m.
Saturdays will still be the “Dateline Saturday Night Mystery” and a vintage “Saturday Night Live” repeat, while Sundays will be football in the fall and then other things at midseason.
And NBC has lots of stuff still coming for midseason including the triumphant return of “Coach” (with NBC still insisting he's helping to start a new Ivy League football team, which makes no sense) and fellow comedies “Crowded,” “Superstore” and Eva Longoria's “Hot & Bothered,” which we certainly hope changed its name from “Telenovela” for reasons other than test marketing.
On the drama side, midseason includes “Chicago Med,” “Game of Silence” and the long-gestating “Shades of Blue,” starring Jennifer Lopez. The hour-long end-of-the-world dramedy “You, Me and the End of the World” will also be ready for midseason with stars including Rob Lowe, Jenna Fischer, Megan Mullally and Mathew Baynton.
“We can”t wait for the fall season and the chance to roll out our lineup of distinctive, innovative new dramas and comedies, scheduled with the kind of lead-in support that will give each of our new shows the optimum chance to find their audiences and deliver on their outstanding potential,” states Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment. “The fall lineup gives you only half the story. We truly program on a 52-week basis and are putting virtually the same amount of programming muscle behind our mid-season lineup, with some of the most high-profile concepts and biggest names on television joining the schedule starting at midseason and extending throughout the remainder of the broadcast year.”
Expect more details when NBC presents its schedule to advertisers during its upfront on Monday.
Here's the fall schedule in easy chart form:
NBC FALL 2015-16 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 P.M. – “The Voice”
10-11 P.M. – “BLINDSPOT”
8-9 P.M. – “The Voice”
9-10. PM. – “HEARTBREAKER”
10-11 P.M. – “BEST TIME EVER WITH NEIL PATRICK HARRIS” (through November)
10-11 P.M. – “Chicago Fire” (premieres in November)
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. – “HEROES REBORN”
9-10 P.M. – “The Blacklist”
10-11 P.M. – “THE PLAYER”
8-8:30 P.M. – “Undateable”
8:30-9 P.M. – “PEOPLE ARE TALKING”
9-10 P.M. – “Grimm”
10-11 P.M. – “Dateline”
8-10 P.M. – “Dateline Saturday Night Mystery”
10-11 P.M. – “Saturday Night Live” (Classic encores)
7-8:20 P.M. – “Football Night in America”
8:20-11 P.M. – “Sunday Night Football”
What stands out here for you?