NBC unveiled its fall schedule on Sunday with one noticeable omission: “The Carmichael Show.”
The third season renewal has come down to negotiations over the number of episodes with 20th Century Fox TV, the studio that produces the critically acclaimed multicam.
“I was hoping we would have it by now. We’re just going back and forth with the studio about the number of episodes and just haven’t come to terms,” said NBC Entertainment Chair Bob Greenblatt during a conference call with reporters. “Hopefully we’ll resolve it soon.”
The first season was six episodes; the second season featured 13 episodes.
“I think it’s safe to say that the studio always wants more than the network,” said Greenblatt. “When you get into a second season of a show, there are contractual obligations that are based on antiquated ways of doing business.” He declined to comment on specifics of the negotiations.
The series, created by and starring comedian Jerrod Carmichael, has won praise from critics for boldly tackling topics like religion, gun control and Black Lives Matter, as well as the Bill Cosby scandal.
But the series has struggled in the ratings. In its second season, “The Carmichael Show” averaged a 1.2 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.1 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-3” estimates. While decent numbers for a tough Sunday-at-9 hour, the network likely was hoping for more, given that it aired behind new alternative hit “Little Big Shots.”
“We’re looking at a robust schedule, and we’re just trying to agree on a number of episodes that works for everybody,” said Greenblatt.
Given the buzz surrounding the series, it’s assumed the studio will shop it to other studios should the network ultimately pass. That would leave “Superstore” as the only freshman comedy that the Peacock is bringing back for the 2016-17 season.
Greenblatt acknowledged the issues of trying to balance in-house vs. outside studio productions, but said that didn’t play a role in any decisions. “The world is a different place than it once was,” he said. “We certainly take into consideration ownership issues, but at the end of the day we’re looking at the best show schedule in the best place. If it advantages our own studio, that’s great, but we don’t want to do that to the detriment of our own schedule.”