NBC said it would shift its freshman hit “The Blacklist’ from its Monday-night roost to Thursdays as part of its plan for the 2014-15 TV season, a bid to bring new life to an evening the Peacock once dominated but on which it has fallen short in recent years.
The James Spader-led drama is one of the few hits of the 2013-14 season and in moving it to Thursday, NBC hopes to reinvigorate a night once known for such TV-ratings juggernauts as “The Cosby Show,” ‘Seinfeld” and “Cheers.” Thursdays are one of the most important nights of the week for advertisers, particularly retailers and movie studios who want to pitch weekend sales events and Friday-night movie openings.
SEE ALSO: Analysis: NBC Spreads the Wealth (FULL NBC SCHEDULE POSTED BELOW)
NBC’s weakness on the evening has stuck out, even as the network has seen its viewership among people between 18 and 49, the demographic most coveted by advertisers, soar thanks to “Sunday Night Football,” “The Voice” and its 2014 broadcast of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Indeed, NBC expects to wrap the current season leading in the 18-49 rankings, the first time it has done so in a decade. Even without the Olympics broadcasts, NBC said it would still lead the category for the programming year, trumping Fox, the nearest contender in the category.
To broaden its base, NBC said it would take “The Blacklist” off the air in mid-November, then relaunch it on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. in February after giving it a berth after its February 1, 2015, broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX.
““The multi-pronged strategy behind moving ‘The Blacklist,’ which has shown enormous linear ratings and record time-shifting, is to not only enliven our Thursday night lineup but also create two desirable timeslots — lead-outs from ‘The Voice’ (8-10 p.m. Monday) and ‘The Blacklist’ (9-10 p.m. Thursday),” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, in a prepared statement.
NBC said it would unveil five new dramas and seven new comedies as part of its new programming. Among those series not returning are cult-favorite comedy “Community,” sci-fi drama “Revolution,” and freshman series “Growing Up Fisher,” “Crisis” and “Believe.” The network also said critical favorites “Parks and Recreation” and “Parenthood” would each enter their final season in the 2014-2015 programming year.
The strongest of those candidates would appear to be “State of Affairs,” which will get the Monday 10 p.m. slot after “The Voice” after “The Blacklist” is taken off the schedule in the first half of the season; and “Marry Me,” which will air after “The Voice” at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. NBC may also bring more of a spotlight to what it said would be the final season of Thursday-night drama “Parenthood” by moving “The Blacklist” to Thursday nights at 9 p.m..
Monday night’s “State of Affairs” has the makings of a glitzy hit. Katherine Heigl, best known from her days on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and her turn in several successful romantic comedies, plays a CIA analyst who assembles a daily briefing of international crises for the U.S. President, played by Alfre Woodard. The character was also once engaged to the Commander-in-Chief’s son, killed in a terrorist incident. Writer-director Joe Carnahan serves as executive producer with Katherine Heigl, Nancy Heigl, Robert Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton, Rodney Faraon and Julia Franz. “State of Affairs” is a production of Universal Television, Bob Simonds Company and Abishag Productions.
Tuesday night’s “Marry Me” centers on a couple played by Casey Wilson and Ken Marino who only want to get engaged after they can put together the most perfect proposal for a scenario. Writer David Caspe and director Seth Gordon serve as executive producer with Jamie Tarses. “Marry Me” is a production of Sony Pictures Television and FanFare Productions.
Mondays on NBC will otherwise look much the same, with “The Voice” continuing to air between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday’s lineup will consist of returning unscripted series “The Biggest Loser” airing at 8 p.m, followed by “Marry Me” at 9 p.m. , returning comedy “About a Boy” at 9: 30 p.m., and returning crime drama “Chicago Fire” at 10 p.m.
‘Laura’ on Wednesdays
NBC said it would kick off Wednesdays with a new drama, “The Mysteries of Laura.” The series stars Debra Messing as a brilliant NYPD homicide detective who must balance her job with a hectic family life that includes twin boys and a soon-to-be-ex husband. Writer Jeff Rake and director McG serve as executive producer with Greg Berlanti, Aaron Kaplan, Todd Lituchy and Sarah Schechter. “The Mysteries of Laura” is a production of Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti Productions and Kapital Entertainment.
The hour-long program will be followed at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays by returning veteran “Law & Order: SVU” at 9 p.m. and returning drama “Chicago P.D.” at 10 p.m.
NBC will use Thursdays in the early fall to launch two new comedies. “Bad Judge,” which will air at 9 p.m., stars Kate Walsh as a criminal court judge with a reputation for outrageous behavior who has a soft spot for a troubled child. Writer Chad Kultgen serves as executive producer with Adam McKay, Will Ferrell , Anne Heche, Jill Sobel Messick, Kevin Messick and Kate Walsh. “Bad Judge” is a production of Universal Television and Gary Sanchez Productions. At 9:30 p.m., NBC will launch “A to Z,” a comedy about Andrew and Zelda, a couple with completely opposite personalities played by Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti. Writer Ben Queen will serve as executive producer. Rashida Jones and Will McCormack also serve as executive producers. “A to Z” is a production of Warner Bros. Television and Le Train Train.
Both comedies will come off the schedule when “The Blacklist” joins Thursday nights in February. “The Biggest Loser” will run all season long at 8 p.m. and “Parenthood” will run at 10 p.m.
NBC will use Fridays to launch “Constantine,” a 10 p.m. drama based on the DC Comics character, who will be played by Matt Ryan. Writer Daniel Cerone serves as executive producer with David S. Goyer. “Constantine” is produced from Bonanza Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. The show is based upon characters published by DC Entertainment. “Dateline NBC” will run as usual at 8 p.m,. while “Grimm” will continue at 9 p.m.
NBC said Saturdays would be used to rerun episodes of current series.
Sundays in the first half of the season will be devoted to “Football Night in America” and “Sunday Night Football.”
The network said it would hold several series back for use as mid-season replacements. Among those behind kept at the ready are: “ Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,”, “One Big Happy,” “‘Mission Control” and “Mrs. Robinson.”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” features Ellie Kempner as a woman rescued from a cult who decides to take on New York City. Writers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock serve as executive producers with David Miner and Jeff Richmond . “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a production of Universal Television, Little Stranger Inc. and 3 Arts Entertainment.
“One Big Happy” centers on gay Lizzy and straight Luke, two good friends who decide to try and raise a child even as Luke meets the love of his life. Writer Liz Feldman and director Scott Ellis serve as executive producers with Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman. “One Big Happy” is a production of Warner Bros. Television and A Very Good Production.
In “Mission Control,” Krysten Ritter plays an aerospace engineer trying to get a man on the moon in the 1960s while navigating male-dominated office culture. Writer David Hornsby serves as executive producer with Adam McKay, Will Ferrell and Owen Burke. “Mission Control” is a production of Universal Television and Gary Sanchez Productions.
Craig Robinson plays a rock star turned earnest substitute teacher in “Mr. Robinson,” which also features Jean Smart as a no-nonsense principal. Writers Mark Cullen and Robb Cullen serve as executive producers with Howard Klein and Mark Schulman. “Mr. Robinson” is a production of Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Here is NBC’s 2014-15 schedule:
NBC FALL 2014-15 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 p.m. — “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. — “The Blacklist” / “STATE OF AFFAIRS” (beginning Nov. 17)
8-9 p.m. — “The Voice”
9-9:30 p.m. — “MARRY ME”
9:30-10 p.m. — “About a Boy”
10-11 p.m. — “Chicago Fire”
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. — “The Biggest Loser”
9-9:30 p.m. — “BAD JUDGE” (“The Blacklist” beginning Feb. 5)
9:30-10 p.m. — “A TO Z”
10-11 p.m. — “Parenthood”
8-9 p.m. — “Dateline NBC”
9-10 p.m. — “Grimm”
10-11 p.m. — “CONSTANTINE”
8-11 p.m. — Encore programming
7-8:20 p.m. — “Football Night in America”
8:20-11:30 p.m. — “NBC Sunday Night Football”