With “This Is Us” airing on Tuesdays, the family drama will now run for nine to ten consecutive episodes, rather than being broken up by Thursday Night Football, which begins mid-fall on NBC. With the serialized storytelling of “This Is Us,” airing continuous episodes is “vitally important,” per a source close to the network, who also says network executives realized that a Thursday night time-shift could have been “disruptive” to fans who are conditioned to watching the series on Tuesdays.
Also at upfronts, NBC had promoted the return of “Must See TV” with “This Is Us” and the return of “Will & Grace” on Thursdays. Although “This Is Us” will not stick on Thursday nights, “Will & Grace” is staying on that night, and just moving an hour to 9 p.m., rather than 8 p.m., as it was originally scheduled. With the buzzy revival now scheduled in the middle of the night, NBC is giving comedies “The Good Place” and “Great News” a good shot for viewership, leading in and leading out of “Will & Grace,” respectively. “Superstore,” one of NBC’s top-rated comedies, will remain in its original slot from last season.
“This Is Us” moving back to its original night now removes the threat of competition from Shondaland’s TGIT block on ABC. The network will likely get a boost during their Thursday 9 p.m. slot with “Scandal” entering its final season. The announcement of the seventh-and-final season of the Kerry Washington-starrer was a big moment during ABC’s upfront, clearly indicating a major push behind the last set of episodes.
Insiders say executives at 20th Century Fox Television, the studio behind “This Is Us,” were deeply concerned about moving the show to Thursdays, due to the highly-competitive night between “Scandal” and Thursday Night Football on CBS. Later in the fall, after football, “This Is Us” would have been up against CBS’s solidly-rated comedies, “Mom” and “Life In Pieces.”
NBC’s new drama “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” will remain behind “This Is Us,” as originally planned. Tuesday nights are still anchored by “The Voice,” which has been the network’s proven lead-in season-to-season.
As for Thursday nights, “Chicago Fire” ranks as NBC’s second strongest drama, so paired with “Will & Grace,” the network is looking to strengthen the night, in comparison to the 2016-2017 season.
Here is NBC’s new fall lineup:
8 p.m. – The Voice
9 p.m. – This Is Us
10 p.m. – Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
8 p.m. – Superstore
8:30 p.m. – The Good Place
9 p.m. – Will & Grace
9:30 p.m. – Great News
10 p.m. – Chicago Fire