Net makes some smart moves but Thurs. strategy perplexing
A few things make some sense for NBC’s fall schedule, like the Tuesday flow of “New Normal” into “Parenthood” and keeping “The Biggest Loser” off the fall lineup.Also, for a network struggling in comedy, it’s probably smart to pair new comedies into a promotable hour — something a then-comedy-challenged ABC did with success on Wednesday a few years ago. The pairing of “Community” and “Grimm” could work on Friday because they are cult shows with core young-male followings, and this may be a spot on the sked that can maximize the ratings for each. “Whitney” leading off the night is strange, but most likely NBC didn’t want to go with a new comedy at 8, and by putting “Whitney” here as something of a placeholder, it can then shift it to plug a comedy hole elsewhere at midseason — much like CBS this season when it announced “Rules of Engagement” as a Saturday series but ended up calling on it to help out on Thursdays just a few weeks into the season. “Revolution” on Monday at 10 isn’t a bad choice, because at least it will get both considerable football promotion one night earlier as well as the best lead-in the net has in the final half-hour of “The Voice.” But competition will be brutal opposite male-friendly “Hawaii Five-0” and either “Castle” or a new drama on ABC. Also, this coming season will feature the strongest “Monday Night Football” schedule granted to ESPN since it took over the package, making it even more difficult to lure men away to a new drama. Otherwise, while I have a great deal of respect for NBC’s Thursday legacy, the net clearly looks to be throwing in the towel on the night. With the possible exception of the fading-fast-but-still-decent “The Office,” it’s hard to imagine a combination of returning series that the net could have put into the Thursday blender to spit out a lower-rated average. This schedule looks very defensive and has a placeholder feel. Let’s hope after the Peacock assesses the lineups of the other networks on Thursday, it makes some changes here. Because if not, Univision will likely challenge NBC for fourth on Thursdays this fall. And the net continues to needlessly butt heads with like-minded programming on other networks. Forget the fact that its female-skewing reality series “The Voice” is going up against ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” on Monday; at least in this case, NBC has the goods. But why, for example, is it putting comedies in both the Tuesday 9 o’clock and Wednesday 8 o’clock hours that are already home to at least one other network’s comedies? Tuesday at 9, home to presumed Fox comedies and presumed older-skewing fare on ABC and CBS, was crying out for a young-skewing drama like “Revolution.” And Wednesday at 8, one of the only hours on the midweek scheduled that was pretty much guaranteed to not feature a drama on ABC, CBS or Fox, should be where the net took one of its big drama swings. “Do No Harm,” perhaps? And if NBC is determined to keep “Dateline” on Friday, why must it put it at 10 opposite “20/20,” which has only been an ABC Friday fixture in the hour for 25 years? Bottom-line two-word sked analysis of NBC: Stubborn and frustrating.