The Peacock has done a good job rebuilding its schedule night-by-night the last couple of years, and it feels it has the goods to finally make some noise on its weakest night, Thursday.
(Perhaps one of the reasons why I like NBC’s strategy this fall is that it came in close to my spitball sked of a few days ago.)
As expected, hot first-year show “The Blacklist” is moving away from Monday for season two — to Thursday at 9 p.m. — but not until Feb. 5, when it will get plenty of promotion during the Super Bowl. It also will be the show airing after the big game on Feb. 1.
It looks as though “The Blacklist” will air about eight times in the fall and then take a lengthy break before returning with a string of episodes on Thursdays to close out its season. This is smart because it will allow the James Spader drama to air mostly uninterrupted into May — likely airing multiple times opposite repeats on the competition. Its early-fall Monday timeslot will make it difficult for ABC or CBS to launch anything new in that night’s 10 o’clock hour.
It also will give NBC a strong chance to launch a new drama behind it on Thursday at 10; and the net was probably wise not to tip its hand regarding which show will air behind “The Blacklist,” though “Allegiance” and “Odyssey” are among the good possibilities.
It’s also a good decision because, while NBC doesn’t know ABC’s drama plans from 9 to 11 p.m. — “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” could remain where they are or one may be replaced by a new female-skewing show — “The Blacklist” and the new drama at 10 p.m. figure to be clear alternatives, especially for men, from the Alphabet programs.
On Mondays, “Blacklist” is giving way to Katherine Heigl drama “State of Affairs” starting Nov. 17, where it will have a leg up on the competition thanks to its “The Voice” lead-in.
The music competition series will also get a chance to lead into another new comedy on Tuesdays, as the romantic laffer “Marry Me” will take over at 9, followed by “About a Boy,” which benefited from a “Voice” lead-in this current season.
Wednesday is a night of procedurals, with the lighter “The Mysteries of Laura” (with Debra Messing) a good choice for 8 p.m., following by the retuning “Law & Order: SVU” and “Chicago P.D.”
Thursdays, where NBC has been a non-factor in recent years, will feature two hourlong series with followings (“The Biggest Loser” at 8 and “Parenthood” at 10), sandwiched by new comedies “Bad Judge” (pictured) and “A to Z.” These were my favorite of the NBC comedies (based on logline and cast), and they will get a chance to establish themselves without competition from CBS comedies as the Eye will be airing football.
It’s a little surprising that NBC didn’t make an attempt with comedies in Thursday’s 8 o’clock hour since any shows wouldn’t have had to face CBS juggernaut “The Big Bang Theory” at the start of the season. But without any retrurning comedies that can provide a good lead-in, it probably made the right choice to use “Biggest Loser” as lead-in for the two comedies.
(Either ABC or Fox may see this as an opportunity to launch comedies Thursday at 8 to start the season).
NBC has a lot of comedies with orders of 13 episodes or less, and it will be interesting to see the net’s strategy there at midseason. One possibile landing spot would be drama-heavy Sunday, where Fox’s animated shows are the only real comedy competition.
“Parks and Recreation” isn’t on this fall schedule, but it could be called on to replace one of the three new fall comedies, if they stumble, or be part of a block on another night in the winter.
“Constantine,” based on a popular DC Comics character, is perfectly suited for 10 p.m. on Friday behind “Grimm,” giving younger viewers a reason to watch the broadcast networks in an hour opposite the creaky “Blue Bloods” and ABC newsmag “20/20.”
The net is armed with plenty of midseason backup support, including the return of 2006-2010 series “Heroes” as 13-episode miniseries “Heroes Reborn.” Other projects include “The Bible” sequel “A.D.,” from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, and “Aquarius,” with David Duchovny as cop on the hunt for Charles Manson.
NBC has rejuvenated itself under Bob Greenblatt, and this schedule certainly gives the network a chance to keep the momentum going.