NBC Plans To Use The Winter Olympics To Avoid The Midseason Blues

NBC has announced its schedule for next season: After going from first to worst when the football season ended, NBC wants the Olympics to help launch new shows like About a Boy. Plus, Parenthood moves to Thursdays, Community has no spot, and more news! posted on

All Images Courtesy of NBC

James Spader in The Blacklist.

This story has been updated a million times, most recently with the trailers from NBC’s new fall shows, plus my observations about all of the trailers. (They showed the midseason ones, too, but aren’t making them available.

Here is NBC’s big hope for the coming TV season: The Olympics will dig us out of our winter hole.

For the fall, the most important scheduling moves are that Parenthood is switching to Thursdays at 10, Revolution will now be on Wednesdays at 8, and Parks & Recreation kicks off the Thursday night comedies — it is the sole veteran show in the block. (No, Community fans, your show is not yet scheduled: Look for it to replace something that isn’t working… sometime.)

But NBC isn’t that worried about the fall. It has football, and will be fine: Especially if the fall installment of The Voice continues to do well, and helps the new James Spader drama, The Blacklist, become a hit on Mondays, and if Chicago Fire, now moved to Tuesdays at 10, becomes a bigger hit because of airing after The Voice.

No, it seems that NBC chairman of entertainment Bob Greenblatt and entertainment president Jennifer Salke were most focused on one problem: How does NBC avoid falling off a cliff as soon as the football season ends?

They seem to have concluded that their best bet is using the platform of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The TV adaptation of About a Boy will launch midseason, as will Believe, Crisis, and the previously announced pirate drama, Crossbones (starring John Malkovich!).

On Monday at the NBC upfront at Radio City Music Hall, Greenblatt talked about the network’s “roller coaster season” and “share of disappointments.” He and Salke then presented the trailers for the new shows. The ones with fall premieres are now embedded below.

A few other notable details:

Celebrity Apprentice, which has been the network’s cheap, lame Sunday football replacement, is not on the schedule. The press release stated that the decision whether to pick it up will be “made in the next few weeks.” Interesting.

— Instead of Celebrity Apprentice on Sundays, two expensive-looking, serialized dramas, Believe (from J.J. Abrams-ville) and Crisis, will try to find audiences.

— The highly anticipated Michael J. Fox Show, which was ordered to series months ago, will air on Thursdays at 9:30.

— There were murmurings that NBC might swing for the fences and take on X Factor and American Idol directly, moving the two-night-a-week Voice to Wednesdays and Thursdays (which is the most lucrative night of the week because of movie advertising). That did not happen.

— As Hannibal executive producer Bryan Fuller told me Friday, the horror drama is not on the schedule, and the release noted (as with Celebrity Apprentice) that the announcement will be made later.

— NBC is trying to build a genre night on Fridays from 9 to 11 using the relative strength of Grimm: In the fall, it will lead into the previously announced Dracula series; midseason, it will lead into Crossbones.

— Though the release made no mention of Dateline, it is on the schedule two nights a week, Sundays and Fridays. (This after Rock Center was canceled.)

The full schedule is at the bottom of the story, and the new shows are now arranged in night-of-the-week order.

3. The Blacklist (Mondays at 10 p.m.)

View this embed ›

Who’s in it?: James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix, Ryan Eggold, and Ilfenesh Hadera
Who made it?: Jon Bokenkamp wrote it; fellow executive producers are John Eisendrath, John Davis, and John Fox.
What’s it about?: Spader plays an ex-government agent turned criminal turned… someone who tries to help the FBI catch a terrorist if they’ll allow him to pair with a young, female agent (Boone) to whom he doesn’t seem connected.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Bob Greenblatt said at the upfront that The Blacklist had tested better than any NBC drama in 10 years. It seems to be Spader at his scene-chewing-est, and looks fun to me. During a morning when the audience of advertisers, affiliates, press, and other random upfronts watchers weren’t reacting to much, The Blacklist seemed to cause a stir.

4. Ironside (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)

View this embed ›

Who’s in it?: Blair Underwood, Pablo Schreiber, Spencer Grammer, Neal Bledsoe, Brent Sexton, Kenneth Choi
Who made it?: Michael Caleo (producer-writer), Teri Weinberg, John Davis, John Fox, Ron West, and David Semel
What’s it about?: A remake of the iconic Raymond Burr NBC series, which ran from 1967 to 1975, this time in New York City instead of San Francisco.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I don’t know? I’m a fan of Underwood, and I think it’s cool that NBC is going to have two shows on its fall lineup — Ironside and The Michael J. Fox Show — exploring two different kinds of afflictions. But this trailer feels messy to me. Maybe it’s just the pilot, and will calm down. I love Pablo Schreiber and want him to be on a show that works!

5. Welcome to the Family (Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.)

View this embed ›

Who’s in it?: Mike O’Malley, Mary McCormack, Ella Rae Peck, Joseph Haro, Ricardo Chavira, Justina Machado
Who made it?: Mike Sikowitz, Jamie Tarses
What’s it about?: Sigh. The college-bound daughter in a working class white family tells her parents she’s pregnant, and the father is a Latino kid from East L.A. The log-line says: “Think culture clash… actually, this is more like culture crash.”
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: OK, so these are trailers, and who knows, right? And I’ll watch every one of these and hope to love it. But? Just painful. And because simple racism isn’t a good enough excuse to hate each other anymore (even within a tired premise like this show), Welcome to the Family sets up a scenario so that the two dads already hate each other. Also, at the end? Mary McCormack’s character maybe being pregnant too? Kill me now.

6. Sean Saves the World (Thursdays at 9 p.m.)

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Who’s in it?: Sean Hayes, Linda Lavin, Sami Isler
Who made it?: Hayes, Todd Milliner, sitcom ringer James Burrows, Victor Fresco
What’s it about?: Hayes plays a divorced gay dad (from a man? from a woman? the log-line doesn’t say) whose 14-year-old daughter moves in with him. Lavin plays his mother. Oh, it’s a comedy.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I assume that a trailer puts its sharpest lines and jokes in it, and this one didn’t really make me laugh (Lavin did once, and Hayes falling through the tables was a funny sight gag). But let’s wait and see here. I hate the title, though. Oh, and yes, the character is supposed to have been married to a woman.

7. The Michael J. Fox Show (Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.)

View this embed ›

Who’s in it?: Michael J. Fox, Betsy Brandt, Wendell Pierce, Katie Finneran, Juliette Goglia
Who made it?: Sam Laybourne
What’s it about?: Partly inspired by Fox’s life, the actor plays an anchorman who returns to work and has to balance living with Parkinson’s disease, work, and his family.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: A cut above, this show looks truly funny and smart. Who wouldn’t root for this show? What a relief that it looks worthy of what must be a huge effort on Fox’s part. It’s also visually great-looking. It got the biggest reaction in the muted crowd at Radio City. My fingers are crossed, and I’m excited.

8. Dracula (Fridays at 10 p.m.)

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Who’s in it?: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Victoria Smurfit, Thomas Kretschmann, Jessica De Gouw, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Nonso Anozie, and Katie McGrath
Who made it?: Daniel Knauf (of Carnival), Tony Krantz, Colin Callender, and Gareth Neame
What’s it about?: A British co-production. Dracula comes to London in the late 19th century, hell-bent on revenge, and then falls in love.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I mean! Who knows? It looks like lavish, over-the-top, trashy fun. It also seems like a cable show, and since it’s on a network, won’t have the sex or nudity that the audience might want? Meyers is, I think, and actively bad actor, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying The Tudors. I’ll watch it unless it’s terrible.

9. About a Boy: Midseason (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)

NBC

Who’s in it?: David Walton, Minnie Driver, Benjamin Stockham, Al Madrigal, Anjelah N. Johnson-Reye
Who made it?: Jason Katims of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood (feel free to start crying now, in other words). Jon Favreau directed the pilot.
What’s it about?: One of the most anticipated pilots because of its pedigree: the wonderful Nick Hornby novel and the excellent film adaptation. If you live in a hole, About a Boy is the story of a woman, her son, and a rich man-child who enters their lives: They change each other. “You need more than two, you need backup.” Crying!
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I will watch this show. I think I’ve made that clear. That said, I am really looking forward to seeing the pilot, because the cutdown dealt with the characters only in the most broad strokes — he’s a heel! she’s an uptight vegan! the kid is hapless because of his mom! But I trust Jason Katims, and I just know this show will be good. Or… I will cry other kinds of tears.

10. The Family Guide: Midseason (Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m.)

NBC

Who’s in it?: J.K. Simmons, Ava Deluca-Verley, Eli Baker, with Jason Bateman doing voice work. (Parker Posey was cast in the pilot, but has departed.)
Who made it?: DJ Nash, Jim Garavente, and Jason Bateman. David Schwimmer directed the pilot.
What’s it about?: In this half-hour comedy, Simmons is playing a blind dad; someone who will talk Posey’s place is the wife he’s divorcing; Deluca-Verley and Baker are the kids. The story is told from 11-year-old Henry’s (Baker’s character) point-of-view; Bateman is Henry’s adult voiceover. And a dog seems to figure prominently.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I don’t know the tone of this show. Broad comedy about a blind dad teaching his daughter to drive? Or heart-tugging Wonder Years clone about a kid at a crossroads? And this might just be in the trailer, but the narration was oppressive.

11. Believe: Midseason (Sundays at 9 p.m.)

NBC

Who’s in it?: Kyle MacLachlan, Johnny Sequoyah (little person pictured above), Jake McLaughlin (bigger person pictured above), Delroy Lindo, Jamie Chung, Sienna Guillory, Arian Moayed
Who made it?: Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men and the best Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk
What’s it about?: 10-year-old Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has supernatural gifts (levitation, sight, you know). Good people want to protect her; bad people want to exploit and harm her.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Damnit, I’ve been sucked into so many shows like this! And they break my heart! But but but: IT LOOKED GOOD TO ME, PEOPLE.

12. Crisis (Sundays at 10 p.m.)

Who’s in it?: Dermot Mulroney, Gillian Anderson, Lance Gross, and Rachael Taylor
Who made it?: Rand Ravich (creator of the excellent, short-lived Life) and Far Shariat (also of Life); Phillip Noyce directed the pilot.
What’s it about?: During a field trip, kids from a fancy private school in D.C. are taken. I do not know how this plot will be a years-long series, but I will trust Rand Ravich until proven otherwise.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: No one cheers the return of Gillian Anderson to American series television more than I. Actually, that’s not true: I bet there are X-Files fans who could tear me limb from limb just for saying that. The point is, as I feared from the log-line: I don’t understand how this premise makes a show. It seems to be four hours of story at most. Still hopeful…

13. Crossbones: Midseason (Fridays at 10 p.m.)

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Who’s in it?: John Malkovich
Who made it?: Neil Cross, Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, and Ted Gold
What’s it about?: Malkovich as Blackbeard, created by the guy behind Luther (Cross)? This project was actually announced a year ago. I don’t know what is taking so long, but I will certainly watch it at least once. Update: Still no trailer!

14. Chicago PD: Midseason, Not Yet Scheduled

Who’s in it?: Jason Beghe, Jon Seda
Who made it?: Dick Wolf and the Chicago Fire producers
What’s it about?: Is it too soon for a spinoff of Chicago Fire, one of NBC’s small successes this season? We’ll know soon enough. Beghe’s character heads the police’s Intelligence Unit, which combats “organized crime, drug trafficking, high profile murders and beyond.” Ooh, beyond!
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I feel remiss that I haven’t watched Chicago Fire, but I gather the Beghe character started on there. The trailer was fairly generic, but I think that will be what the doctor ordered here.

15. The Night Shift Midseason, Not Yet Scheduled

Who’s in it?: Eoin Macken, Ken Leung, Brendan Fehr, Freddy Rodriguez, Jill Flint
Who made it?: Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah and Pierre Morel
What’s it about?: Rebel doctor in the ER during the overnight shift.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: When the trailer started, I couldn’t remember whether Night Shift was a drama or comedy (drama). This show looks like a mess.

16. Undateable Midseason, Not Yet Scheduled

Who’s in it?: Chris D’Elia, Brent Morin, Bianca Kajlich
Who made it?: Adam Sztykiel, Bill Lawrence, Jeff Ingold
What’s it about?: A cool guy moves in with a nerd and tries to teach the nerd and his friends about dating.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: All the nerds seem closeted to me. This show is so not my thing that I can’t even judge it fairly.

NBC FALL 2013-14 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)

MONDAY
8-10 p.m. – The Voice
10-11 p.m. – THE BLACKLIST

TUESDAY
8-9 p.m. – The Biggest Loser
9-10 p.m. – The Voice
10-11 p.m. – Chicago Fire

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. – Revolution
9-10 p.m. – Law & Order: SVU
10-11 p.m. – IRONSIDE

THURSDAY
8-8:30 p.m. – Parks and Recreation
8:30-9 p.m. – WELCOME TO THE FAMILY
9-9:30 p.m. – SEAN SAVES THE WORLD
9:30-10 p.m. – THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW
10-11 p.m. – Parenthood

FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. – Dateline NBC
9-10 p.m. – Grimm
10-11 p.m. – DRACULA

SATURDAY
Encore programming

SUNDAY
7:00-8:15 p.m. – Football Night in America
8:15-11:30 p.m. – NBC Sunday Night Football

NBC MIDSEASON 2013-14 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)

MONDAY
8-10 p.m. – The Voice
10-11 p.m. – THE BLACKLIST

TUESDAY
8-9 p.m. – The Voice
9-9:30 p.m. – ABOUT A BOY
9:30-10 p.m. – THE FAMILY GUIDE
10-11 p.m. – Chicago Fire

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. – Revolution
9-10 p.m. – Law & Order: SVU
10-11 p.m. – IRONSIDE

THURSDAY
8-8:30 p.m. – Parks and Recreation
8:30-9 p.m. – WELCOME TO THE FAMILY
9-9:30 p.m. – SEAN SAVES THE WORLD
9:30-10 p.m. – THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW
10-11 p.m. – Parenthood

FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. – Dateline NBC
9-10 p.m. – Grimm
10-11 p.m. – CROSSBONES

SATURDAY
8-10 p.m. – Encore and specials programming
10-11 p.m. – Saturday Night Live (Encore)

SUNDAY
7-8 p.m. – Dateline NBC
8-9 p.m. – AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS
9-10 p.m. – BELIEVE
10-11 p.m. – CRISIS

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