NBC Banks on Schedule Stability, Comedies Back on Thursday, ‘Timeless’ Lands Post-‘Voice’ Slot

NBC Banks on Schedule Stability for
Photo by: Joe Lederer/NBC

NBC is betting on stability with its fall lineup, adding just three new series — two dramas and a comedy — at the start of the 2016-17 season.

NBC execs emphasized that they have the luxury of making relatively few fall schedule shifts this time around thanks to the stability of its “Chicago” troika of procedural dramas, the success of “Blindspot” and the addition of five NFL games on Thursday in November and December. For midseason, NBC has five dramas, four comedies and three unscripted series (see listings below) on the bench.

“For the first time in a while we’re not throwing shows up against the wall and hoping for the best,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said in a conference call Sunday. “We’ve some great anchors and hits that have solidified over the past year or two, and a plethora of great development.”

“Timeless,” a time-travel actioner from showrunners Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke, has landed the plum Monday 10 p.m. slot following “The Voice.” That slot helped “Blindspot” become this season’s top-rated new drama. In its second outing, “Blindspot” will move to 8 p.m. Wednesday to make room for “Timeless.” 

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Greenblatt described “Timeless” as a “high-octane, fun, broad show” that should be a good fit with the “Voice” crowd.

Dramedy “This is Us,” starring Mandy Moore, will follow “The Voice” in the Tuesday 9 p.m. slot. And NBC is returning to comedies in the first hour of Thursday once again, slotting Kristen Bell-Ted Danson starrer “The Good Place,” behind the return of this season’s promising freshman “Superstore.”

Last season, NBC opened Thursday with a stack of dramas anchored by “The Blacklist” at 9 p.m. and “Heroes Reborn” leading off the night. But the performance was lackluster overall, taking a toll on “Blacklist” viewership. Meanwhile, it found some traction with workplace comedy “Superstore,” starring America Ferrera and Ben Feldman, on Monday this season, although its time slot companion “Telenovela” did not make the cut for a second season.

Greenblatt described “Superstore” as “a quintessential NBC comedy” and expressed confidence that it can lead off the competitive Thursday frame. NBC aims to give “Superstore” a boost by running a new episode of the show at some point during the Aug. 5-21 span of its coverage of the summer Olympics in Rio. Greenblatt said the specifics were still being worked out.

“We can give that show an enormous amount of attention and just really say to the world that this is a show we love and believe in,” Greenblatt said. “Superstore’s” performance on digital platforms was a big part of the decision to give the show such a high-profile assignment in season two.

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Of NBC’s comedy orders this year, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said “funny” was the watchword.

“We acknowledge that we course-corrected in comedy in the past few years,” she said. “The voices of these creators will really ring through in defining a brand for us” that Salke said was exemplified by “funny, smart, sophisticated but warm — mostly leading with funny this year.”

In the fall, NBC’s return to comedy at 8 p.m. Thursday — about 18 months after it went all-drama on the night — will get a breather at the start of the season when “The Big Bang Theory” is out of the way while CBS airs its five “Thursday Night Football” games.

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“Chicago Med” is moving from Tuesday to Thursday at 9 p.m. while “Blacklist” shifts to 10 p.m. “Med” seemed like a good bet for the tough assignment of facing ABC’s “Scandal” because even after just one season “it feels like a really solid performer that could take its audience from Tuesday to Thursday,” Greenblatt said.

“Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D” are staying put in their respective Tuesday 9 p.m. and Wednesday 10 p.m. time slots. “Chicago Justice,” the latest addition to the “Chicago” universe, will air on Sundays once football season is over.

NBC is giving up on comedies on Fridays after slotting “Undateable” and the short-lived “People Are Talking” in the lead off hour last season. In the fall the slot will be filled by the unscripted “Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon.” Greenblatt also suggested new series “Midnight, Texas” and “Emerald City” could go in the “Grimm” slot. “We think (those shows) are in that same supernatural fantastical sweet spot.”

NBC’s reality slate includes the much-anticipated “The New Celebrity Apprentice” with Arnold Schwarzenegger leading the boardroom. That show is likely to return on Mondays in the January frame during the downtime between “Voice” seasons that was home to the Donald Trump-hosted edition of “Celebrity Apprentice.”

“We like the time period that has been heated up for reality fans by ‘The Voice,’ ” said Paul Telegdy, president of alternative and late-night entertainment. “We’ve got a fun marketing plan that coincides with the end of football season as well. It’s great real estate.”

“Taken,” a prequel to the Liam Neeson action film franchise, is also scheduled for a post-“Voice” Monday 10 p.m. launch later in the season.

NBC is investing more in regular-season unscripted series with plans for “The Wall,” a fast-paced physical contest game show hosted by the ubiquitous Chris Hardwick; “First Dates,” which drops a camera on couples on a first date in a Chicago restaurant; and “Better Late Than Never,” featuring Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman on a jaunt through Asia.

NBC hopes “Better Late Than Never” will ride the tailwinds of its coverage of the summer Olympics in Rio, with plans for a late August launch.

Here is NBC’s fall schedule:

MONDAY

8-10 P.M. — “The Voice”

10-11 P.M. — “TIMELESS”

TUESDAY

8-9 P.M. — “The Voice”

9-10 P.M. — “THIS IS US”

10-11 P.M. — “Chicago Fire”

WEDNESDAY

8-9 P.M. — “Blindspot”

9-10 P.M. — “Law & Order: SVU”

10-11 P.M. — “Chicago P.D.”

THURSDAY

8-8:30 P.M. — “Superstore”

8:30-9 P.M. — “THE GOOD PLACE”

9-10 P.M. — “Chicago Med”

10-11 P.M. — “The Blacklist”

FRIDAY

8-9 P.M. — “Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon”

9-10 P.M. — “Grimm”

10-11 P.M. — “Dateline NBC”

SATURDAY

8-10 P.M. — “Saturday Dateline Mysteries”

10-11 P.M. — “Saturday Night Live (encores)”

SUNDAY

7-8:20 P.M. — “Football Night in America”

8:20-11 P.M. — “NBC’s Sunday Night Football”

NBC FALL AND MIDSEASON SERIES ORDERS

NEW DRAMAS

 “THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION”

In this thrilling new spinoff of NBC’s breakout hit series, undercover operative Tom Keen joins forces with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave (Famke Janssen), the brilliant and cunning chief of Grey Matters, a covert mercenary organization that solves problems governments don’t dare touch. While on the hunt for Liz’s attacker, Tom secretly discovered that Scottie is actually his biological mother. Now, as they team up to employ their unique skills and resources in a dangerous world of deadly criminals, Tom begins his own covert mission to find out more about his shadowy past.

The cast includes Famke Janssen, Ryan, Edi Gathegi and Tawny Cypress.

Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath serve as writers and executive producers. John Fox and John Davis also executive produce. Michael Dinner directs. Produced by John Eisendrath Productions, Flatwater Scribe, Davis Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television.

“CHICAGO JUSTICE”

 Powerhouse creator Dick Wolf delivers a captivating new installment to the hit Chicago franchise. Just like their brethren in the Chicago P.D., the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators navigate heated city politics and controversy head-on while fearlessly pursuing justice. As they take on the city’s high stakes and often media-frenzied cases, they must balance public opinion, power struggles within the system and their unwavering passion for the law. It all starts with a gut-wrenching case when one of Chicago’s finest is shot in the line of duty.

The cast includes Philip Winchester, Carl Weathers, Nazneen Contractor, Joelle Carter and Ryan-James Hatanaka.

Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski, Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas, Michael Brandt and Arthur ‎Forney executive produce “Chicago Justice.”“Chicago Justice” is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Entertainment.

“EMERALD CITY”

In the blink of a tornado’s eye, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale and a K9 police dog are swept into a world far removed from our own — a mystical land of competing realms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy. Starring Vincent D’Onofrio (“Daredevil,” “Jurassic World”) as the guileful Wizard and directed by the visionary Tarsem Singh across three European countries, this is Oz completely reimagined — a place where familiar characters show up in fresh, unexpected ways, and where an unsuspecting young woman holds the fate of kingdoms in her hands. As Dorothy navigates this dangerous world and uncovers her true destiny, we’ll see there’s no place like… Oz.

The cast includes Vincent D’Onofrio, Adria Arjona, Ana Ularu, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jordan Loughran, Gerran Howell, Mido Hamada, Joely Richardson, Isabel Lucas, Stefanie Martini, Suan-Li Ong, Florence Kasumba and Roxy Sternberg.

David Schulner and Shaun Cassidy are writers and executive producers. Josh Friedman, Matthew Arnold and director Tarsem Singh also executive produce. “Emerald City” is produced by Universal Television.

“MIDNIGHT, TEXAS”

Welcome to a place where being normal is really quite strange. From Niels Arden Oplev, the visionary director of “Mr. Robot,” and based on the hit book series from author Charlaine Harris (“True Blood”), comes a journey into a remote Texas town where no one is who they seem. From vampires and witches to psychics and hit men, Midnight is a mysterious safe haven for those who are different. As the town members fight off outside pressures from rowdy biker gangs, ever-suspicious cops and their own dangerous pasts, they band together and form a strong and unlikely family.

The cast includes François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Ramos, Peter Mensah, Yul Vazquez and Sean Bridgers.

Monica Owusu-Breen serves as writer and executive producer. David Janollari and director Niels Arden Oplev also executive produce. “Midnight, Texas” is produced by Universal Television and David Janollari Entertainment.

“TAKEN”

From executive producer Luc Besson (“Taken,” “The Fifth Element”) comes a modern-day, edge-of-your-seat thriller that follows the origin story of younger, hungrier former Green Beret Bryan Mills (Clive Standen, “Vikings”) as he deals with a personal tragedy that shakes his world. As he fights to overcome the incident and exact revenge, Mills is pulled into a career as a deadly CIA operative, a job that awakens his very particular, and very dangerous, set of skills. In 30 years, this character became the Bryan Mills that we’ve come to love from the “Taken” films.

The cast includes Clive Standen, Jennifer Beals, Brooklyn Sudano, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Gaius Charles, Michael Irby, James Landry Hébert and Jose Pablo Cantillo.

Alexander Cary serves as writer and executive producer. Luc Besson, Matthew Gross, Edouard de Vésinne, Thomas Anargyrosand director Alex Graves also executive produce. “Taken” is produced by EuropaCorp TV and Universal Television.

“THIS IS US”

Sometimes life will surprise you. Starring Mandy Moore (“A Walk to Remember”), Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes,” “Gilmore Girls”) and Sterling K. Brown (“The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story),” this refreshingly honest and provocative series follows a unique ensemble whose paths cross and their life stories intertwine in curious ways. We find several of them share the same birthday, and so much more than anyone would expect. From the writer and directors of “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” comes a smart, modern dramedy that will challenge your everyday presumptions about the people you think you know.

The cast includes Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan and Ron Cephas Jones.

Dan Fogelman serves as writer and executive producer. Jess Rosenthal, Charlie Gogolak and directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra also executive produce. “This Is Us” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.

“TIMELESS”

From Eric Kripke (“Revolution,” “Supernatural”), Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) and the producers of “The Blacklist” comes this thrilling action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: a scientist, soldier and history professor who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of this dangerous fugitive. Can this handpicked team uncover the mystery behind it all and end his destruction before it’s too late?

The cast includes Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Goran Visnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit.

Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan serve as writers and executive producers. John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman and director Neil Marshall also executive produce. “Timeless” is produced by Davis Entertainment, Kripke Enterprises and MiddKid Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.

 

NEW COMEDIES

“THE GOOD PLACE”

From Michael Schur, executive producer of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office,” comes a smart, unique new comedy that follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, “House of Lies,” “Veronica Mars”), an ordinary woman who, through an extraordinary string of events, enters the afterlife where she comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. With the help of her wise newfound afterlife mentor (Ted Danson, “Bored to Death,” “Cheers”), she’s determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome (or at least the pretty good) person within. Directed by Drew Goddard, the Oscar-nominated writer of “The Martian.”

The cast includes Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto and D’Arcy Carden.

Michael Schur serves as writer and executive producer. David Miner also executive produces. Drew Goddard directs.  “The Good Place” is produced by Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.

“GREAT NEWS”

Getting along with some colleagues can be rough, but working with your mom? That’s a whole other story. When Katie, an up-and-coming news producer, finds out her overbearing mom (Andrea Martin, “SCTV,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) has rejoined the workforce as an intern at the station where Katie works, it might just be the worst news ever. But, with her biggest cheerleader at her side, Katie might finally get the recognition she deserves. The laughs hit close to home in this new office comedy from executive producers Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and the producers of “30 Rock.”

The cast includes Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Kimrie Lewis-Davis, John Michael Higgins and Horatio Sanz.

Tracey Wigfield serves as writer and executive producer. Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and David Miner also executive produce. Beth McCarthy-Miller directs. “Great News” is produced by Universal Television, Little Stranger and 3 Arts Entertainment.

“MARLON”

Loosely inspired by the real life of star Marlon Wayans (“In Living Color,” “Scary Movie”), this update to the classic family comedy centers on a loving (but immature) father committed to co-parenting his two kids with his very-together ex-wife. While his misguided fatherly advice, unstoppable larger-than-life personality and unpredictable Internet superstardom might get in the way sometimes, for Marlon family really always does come first — even if he’s the biggest kid of all.

The cast includes Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Notlim Taylor, Amir O’Neil, Bresha Webb and Diallo Riddle

Christopher Moynihan serves as writer and executive producer. Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez, Michael Rotenberg and director Andy Ackerman (pilot) also executive produce. “Marlon” is produced by Universal Television, Wayans Brothers Entertainment, Bicycle Path Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment.

“POWERLESS”

In the first comedy series set in the universe of DC Comics, Vanessa Hudgens (“Grease Live,” “High School Musical”) plays Emily, a spunky young insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes. It’s when she stands up to one of these larger-than-life figures (after an epic battle messes with her commute) that she accidentally becomes a cult “hero” in her own right … even if it’s just to her group of lovably quirky co-workers. Now, while she navigates her normal, everyday life against an explosive backdrop, Emily might just discover that being a hero doesn’t always require superpowers.

The cast includes Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi and Christina Kirk.

Ben Queen serves as writer and executive producer. Director Michael Patrick Jann (pilot) also executive produces. “Powerless” is produced by Warner Bros. Television and based on the characters from DC Comics.

“TRIAL & ERROR”

In this outrageous fish-out-of-water comedy, bright-eyed New York lawyer Josh Segal heads to a tiny Southern town for his first big case. His mission? To defend an eccentric, “rollercizing” poetry professor (John Lithgow, “3rd Rock From the Sun”) accused of the bizarre murder of his beloved wife. Settling into his makeshift office behind a taxidermy shop and meeting his quirky team of local misfits, Josh suspects that winning his first big case will not be easy, especially when his client is always making himself look guilty. “Making a Murderer” can be funny!

The cast includes John Lithgow, Nicholas D’Agosto, Jayma Mays, Sherri Shepherd, Steven Boyer and Krysta Rodriguez.

Jeff Astrof and Matt Miller serve as writers and executive producers. Jeffrey Blitz directs. “Trial & Error” is produced by Barge Productions and Good Session Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

 

NEW ALTERNATIVE SERIES

 “BETTER LATE THAN NEVER”

Based on a popular Korean format, this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy/reality show follows cultural icons Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman on their greatest adventure yet. Deciding it’s better late than never, these four national treasures embark on the journey of a lifetime, traveling across Asia on their own with no schedule and no itinerary. The only help will come from Jeff Dye, a young tech-savvy comedian with an agenda of his own and who isn’t above leading the men off track. Each stop is packed with hilarious cultural experiences, heartwarming spectacles and unexpected twists as our legends take on this unforgettable adventure.

Craig Zadan & Neil Meron, Henry Winkler, Jason Ehrlich, Stephanie Chambers, Alex Katz and Tim Crescenti executive produce. Troy Miller directs. “Better Late Than Never” is produced by Universal Television and Small World IFT.

“FIRST DATES”

Everyone can relate to the experience of a first date: the promise of potential love when it goes well and the hilariously awkward moments if it crashes and burns. From executive producer Ellen DeGeneres, narrated by Drew Barrymore and based on the hit U.K. format, this new series offers a voyeuristic look at a variety of real first dates happening throughout one night at the same restaurant in Chicago. The daters are of all ages, backgrounds and from across the U.S. The audience will be along for the ride in a refreshingly authentic viewing experience that plays like a real-life romantic comedy. At the end of each episode, we will find out if the participants want to see each other again for a second date or if they head back to love’s drawing board.

Ellen DeGeneres, Pam Healey, John Hesling, Anthony Dominici, Jeff Kleeman and Tim Carter executive produce. “First Dates” is produced by Shed Media and A Very Good Production.

“THE WALL”

Packed with drama and action, this is a game that the entire family can root for together. Executive producer LeBron James presents a challenge infused with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, where regular people can achieve their dreams with one bounce of the ball. Hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick and set in a large glossy arena centering on the colossal 40-foot wall, the gameplay involves quick thinking, shrewd strategy and a little luck. Played by contestant pairs, this is an unpredictable journey with giant swings of fortune and millions of dollars passing through the contestants’ hands throughout the hour.

LeBron James, Andrew Glassman, Maverick Carter and Chris Hardwick executive produce. “The Wall” is produced by Glassman Media in association with SpringHill Productions. Glassman Media developed the series with CORE Media.

(Pictured: “Timeless”)

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  1. Jason says:

    MId-season. The new place to be.

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