When the NBC returns from the holiday break, it’s schedule is going to look different for the first time in decades. That’s because the network has finally killed off one of its longest running and successful programming blocks: the Thursday “must see” comedies.
With the cancellation of A To Z and Bad Judge earlier this fall, the writing was on the wall. We were even calling it “the end” back when The Biggest Loser was leading those two series into battle and The Blacklist was announced to be taking a Thursday spot in the spring. Turns out it isn’t coming alone. From Deadline:
NBC has set its midseason schedule, which will feature three drama series on Thursday going head-to-head with ABC’s all-drama Shondaland lineup, which has been dominating the night this fall. The block will be anchored by The Blacklist, which, as previously announced, will move into the 9 PM Thursday slot on February 5, following an airing after the Super Bowl. The Blacklist will be used to launch new spy drama Allegiance at 10 PM, with 8-episode limited series The Slap slotted at 8 PM. The last time NBC had an all-drama Thursday lineup was 35 years ago, in the 1979-80 season, when it aired Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Quincy M.E. and Kate Loves a Mystery.
Buck Rogers, Quincy, and Kate Loves a Mystery. Talk about a set of hoots to settle in to watch during a night of television, especially if it is that punk rock episode of Quincy. How could you change the channel?
The move is an attempt for NBC to compete with ABC’s Shonda Rhimes assault that has ruled the night with shows like Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder. Not to mention CBS owning “comedy” with The Big Bang Theory. It has been a rough go on Thursdays for NBC.
That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a great, even if the executives at the network would disagree. In the past few years alone we’ve seen some of the best shows of all time hit the air. 30 Rock, Parks And Rec, and The Office all go their start on Thursdays and join classics like Cheers, Seinfeld, and Friends in that long lasting legacy.
You can’t really be shocked, though. TV has always been such a fickle thing to get right and audience tastes are always shifting. Twenty to thirty years with sustained success is pretty damn great. We might not even have network television in another twenty.