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    NBC May Be Starting To Move On From "Chicago"

    Well, almost, and it's putting a whole lot of stock in Superstore.

    by , ,

    First the good news: NBC actually has quite a bit! The network successfully expanded Dick Wolf's Chicago empire this season with the addition of a third show in November — Chicago Med joined stalwarts Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. — and a fourth, Chicago Justice, was also picked up for the 2016-2017 season. NBC also has the No. 1 new show of the year in Blindspot; critical darlings in — gasp, comedies — The Carmichael Show and Superstore; and the ever-reliable Law & Order: SVU, The Voice, and Hollywood Game Night. Additionally, their productions of The Wiz Live and Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors were well-received and in the conversation about Emmy nominations.

    And because of all that good news, the network made few changes to its fall lineup, which includes only three of its 14 new series — Timeless, This Is Us, and The Good Place (more on those below, including their trailers). "We've got a very stable schedule," Robert Greenblatt, NBC's chairman of entertainment, said in a conference with press Sunday morning. "For the first time in a long time, we're not running around, throwing shows against the wall, and hoping for the best. We really feel like we've got some great anchors and returning shows."



    The only changes of note, in fact, are Blindspot now kicking off Wednesday nights, and, of course, NBC's ever-changing Thursday night lineup, which the network hasn't been able to get right since Friends went off the air 12 years ago. "Thursdays we've been obviously working on for the last couple years to get back some of what NBC used to have on that night," Greenblatt admitted. The network is taking advantage of the fact that CBS has football on Thursday nights for a good chunk of the fall, leaving room for those looking to laugh to head elsewhere. So NBC is putting a lot of stock in Superstore to lead off Thursday nights. It will be followed by Mike Schur's new show The Good Place, Chicago Med steps in at 9 p.m., and The Blacklist moves to10 p.m. Basically, everything else remains the same.

    The bad news for NBC is that most of its new shows launched this past cycle were DOA — and that's not a Heartbreaker pun. Well, it's not only a Heartbreaker pun. The Player crapped out, no one wanted to see Heroes Reborn, Telenovela never found its footing and ended up getting axed, Truth Be Told was a mess, and did you even know that Crowded and Game of Silence ever aired on television? You did not.

    So why aren't more of the shows NBC picked up for 2016-2017 on the fall schedule to replace them? Greenblatt made clear that that doesn't mean very much these days. "Fall is obviously still important, but I think, increasingly so, mid-season and summer are as important as the fall," he said. "We have as robust a schedule in the mid-season and summer now as we do in fall, and in fact, some of the biggest new shows have come in the mid-season. So there's less of an emphasis on fall, and additionally, for us, we just didn't need to overturn the schedule ... because we have extraordinary and remarkable stability."

    If you don't see many of NBC's new shows listed on the schedule at the bottom of this post, it's because they won't air until mid-season. "I guess I'm happy we didn't have to do a lot in the fall," Greenblatt noted later in the call. "I couldn't be happier, actually."


    NBC will also be airing the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and the network has some preliminary plans to take advantage of that event programming. "The promotional platform of the Olympics is enormous, and we'll be using it in every way, shape, and form we can think of to promote the fall schedule," Greenblatt said. "The Olympics really is the jet propulsion engine that starts the whole fall launch."

    First, the network will be using the Olympics to get eyes on "our little show Superstore, which we're so excited about," Greenblatt said. "We had the idea to do an original episode of that show and air it at some point inside the Olympics ... at a time that we haven't nailed down yet, but we think we can give that show an enormous amount of attention and just really say to the world, 'This is a show that we love and believe in.'"

    And when the Olympics are over, NBC will launch one of its three new unscripted series, Better Late Than Never, which follows Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw, and George Foreman as they travel around Asia. NBC's other new alternative programming includes LeBron James' game show The Wall, which will be hosted by Chris Hardwick, and First Dates, which is executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres and narrated by Drew Barrymore. The latter series is based on the very popular U.K. format and will allow viewers to watch real first dates happening over the course of an evening at one Chicago restaurant. (Here's a look at the original.)


    As for the rest of NBC's new shows for the 2016-2017 season, there are two spinoffs of the network's existing series — The Blacklist and the Chicago franchise — as well as two series based on books, one on a comic book, and another on a movie. And if you take a look at the other broadcast networks' new slates (CBS, Fox, ABC, and The CW), there are a whole lot of shows based on existing properties.

    When asked why that is, despite the failures of some reboots this past season, NBC's entertainment president said: "In a cluttered world where there's hundreds of choices of things for people to do with their time, if the right remake or spinoff comes along and it's executed the way ours have been this season that we've just picked up, there's no reason not to pick up those shows. It feels like you have awareness that already exists on the shows; it makes the launching and marketing of those shows easier. We've seen such great results in the spinoffs coming out of all the Chicago shows, so we feel really confident about that."

    Speaking of reboots, fans of Cruel Intentions can hold on to hope — or fear — that the pilot could make it to television. "It goes under the heading of embarrassment of riches," Greenblatt said. "There's no other show quite like it in our list of genres, but we like it and we're still discussing it and trying to figure it out."

    Only the fall trailers have been released (none of the mid-season ones have) but NBC played most of them on Monday at its upfront at Radio City Music Hall. Our first impressions are below.

    Timeless (Mondays at 10 p.m.)

    Nbc / Joe Lederer / NBC

    Who's in it? Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Goran Visnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey, Claudia Doumit

    Who created it? Eric Kripke, Shawn Ryan, John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman, Neil Marshall

    What's it about? After a nefarious criminal steals a time machine, a three-person team — a scientist, a soldier, and a history professor — is assembled to stop him from changing the past and destroying the future.

    First impression? Admittedly, this time-travel thriller is not at all my thing, but even for those who do like action-packed sci-fi, Timeless looks like the most cliched version of it. "I'd think someone who loved history would want to save it," one government official tells Spencer's history professor character. Then there's Barrett's character, who feels like NBC's way of addressing the current conversation surrounding diversity onscreen. "I am black — there's literally no place in American history that would be awesome for me," he says. And, while in one of those not-so-awesome places: "I hope you live long enough to see Michael Jordan dunk, Michael Jackson dance, Mike Tyson punch...really just any black guy named Michael." No thank you! —Jaimie Etkin

    Premieres Mon., Oct. 3 at 10 p.m.

    View this video on YouTube

    This Is Us (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)

    Ron Batzdorf / NBC

    Who's in it? Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan, Ron Cephas Jones

    Who created it? Dan Fogelman, Jess Rosenthal, Charlie Gogolak, John Requa, Glenn Ficarra

    What's it about? This series from the team behind Crazy, Stupid, Love brings the characters'-lives-intersect-in-surprising-ways format from their 2011 movie and many others (e.g., Love Actually and every recent Garry Marshall movie) to the small screen. This Is Us stars Gilmore Girls favorite Ventimiglia; the breakout star from The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Brown, who played Chris Darden; Metz of American Horror Story: Freak Show; Revenge alum Hartley; and Moore, who has had some serious trouble landing a pilot that makes it to air, let along finding a freshman series that lasts a full season.

    First impression? I am hesitant to get invested in this drama, given that it stars Moore, who has been the kiss of death for TV pilots for the past few years (RIP Red Band Society). But after watching the below trailer, this is easily the show I'm most excited about among all the ones the networks are offering in the 2016-2017 season. Interconnected storylines? Check. Sterling K. Brown, who blew me away on People v. O.J.? Yes, please. Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up" playing in the background? I am officially crying. Metz's storyline looks cringeworthy at best, like her character is a fat woman and nothing more, but I'll hope she's more dimensional than that. I'm hoping This Is Us will be able to partially fill the Parenthood-sized hole in my heart that's still gaping. I am truly excited to bawl on Tuesdays. —Jaimie Etkin

    Premieres Tues., Sept. 20 at 10 p.m. This Is Us will move to its regular timeslot on Tues., Oct. 11 at 9 p.m.

    View this video on YouTube

    The Good Place (Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.)

    Nbc / Justin Lubin / NBC

    Who's in it? Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, Jameela Jamil, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, D'Arcy Carden

    Who created it? Mike Schur, David Miner

    What's it about? The man who created Parks & Recreation is now bringing us this unlikely comedy duo. After being hit by a truck advertising Engorgelate, an erectile-dysfunction pill, Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell) winds up in heaven (aka "the good place"), but she knows she doesn't belong there. She realizes she needs to right some wrongs from her past, and the keeper of the good place, Michael (Danson), tries to help her do just that. NBC ordered 13 episodes of the comedy in August 2015, and, fun fact, the pilot will be directed by Drew Goddard, who wrote the Oscar-nominated film The Martian.

    First impression? Veronica Mars fans: Kristen Bell is going to be back on TV weekly! Yes, it's thrilling, but I'm not sure about this one. Bell seems charming as ever as Eleanor, but it's hard not to think about Drop Dead Diva while watching the trailer for The Good Place. Still, it's also hard not to laugh as Bell responds to a canvasser who asks if she has "a second to talk about the environment" with "Do you have a second to eat my farts?"' Just me? I'm sorry. —Jaimie Etkin

    Premieres on Mon., Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. The Good Place will move to its regular timeslot on Thurs., Sept. 22 at 8:30 p.m.

    View this video on YouTube

    The Blacklist: Redemption (Mid-season)

    Virginia Sherwood / NBC

    Who's in it? Famke Janssen, Ryan Eggold, Edi Gathegi, Tawny Cypress

    Who created it? Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath, John Fox, John Davis

    What's it about? This spinoff of The Blacklist sees Tom Keen (Eggold) atoning for a life of sins with the help of Susan "Scottie" Hargrave (Janssen), the head of a secret task force that tackles deadly conflicts official U.S. agencies won't go near. Tom also discovers that "Scottie" is his mother, so there's that. (NBC did not show a trailer for The Blacklist: Redemption.)

    Chicago Justice (Mid-season)

    Matt Dinerstein / NBC

    Who’s in it? Philip Winchester, Carl Weathers, Nazneen Contractor, Joelle Carter, Ryan-James Hatanaka

    Who created it? Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski, Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas, Michael Brandt, Arthur ‎Forney

    What’s it about? NBC may be moving away from Dick Wolf's Chicago franchise, but it can't let go just yet. The network picked up its fourth Chicago series — following Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med — which brings audiences to the state's attorney office. (NBC did not show a trailer for Chicago Justice.)

    Emerald City (Mid-season)

    Rico Torres / NBC

    Who's in it? Adria Arjona, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Vincent D’Onofrio, Joely Richardson, Florence Kasumba

    Who created it? David Schulner, Shaun Cassidy

    What's it about? It feels like 100 years ago that NBC first announced this edgy retelling of L. Frank Baum's iconic book, and at long last it will land on television this fall. Arjona plays Dorothy Gale, D'Onofrio plays the Wizard, Richardson plays Glinda, and Jackson-Cohen plays...Lucas? K.

    First impression? This thing looks gorgeous. Like, seriously, majorly, talk-about-it-with-your-friends-and-copy-all-the-looks-on-Saturday-night gorgeous. I also enjoyed the ways the very-familiar material of The Wizard of Oz was updated; for example, Dorothy is in her car when the twister transports her to Oz and she kills the Wicked Witch by running her over. Aesthetically, the show is clearly going for a Game of Thrones vibe and almost entirely succeeds. Now, let's see if the story is as compelling. —Jarett Wieselman

    Great News (Mid-season)

    Eric Liebowitz / NBC

    Who's in it? Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Kimrie Lewis-Davis, John Michael Higgins, Horatio Sanz

    Who created it? Tracey Wigfield, Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, David Miner

    What's it about? The latest from the former 30 Rock creative team is a comedy about a young news producer (Heelan) whose helicopter mom (Martin) decides to intern at the TV station where she works. Which, of course, turns out to be both the worst and best thing that could happen for her career.

    First impression? Considering that Great News hails from the minds behind 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and The Mindy Project, my comedy expectations were high. But after watching the trailer they need to be lowered. A lot. The first look was shockingly short on the kind of innovative jokes that made those three shows so beloved. But, I'm still optimistic because pilot episodes are tough and 30 Rock, Kimmy Schmidt, and Mindy Project all evolved into much more confident shows after their first episodes, so here's hoping that Great News can do the same because this cast deserves it. —Jarett Wieselman

    Marlon (Mid-season)

    Tyler Golden / NBC

    Who's in it? Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Notlim Taylor, Amir O'Neil, Bresha Webb, Diallo Riddle

    Who created it? Christopher Moynihan, Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez, Michael Rotenberg, Andy Ackerman

    What's it about? While his older brother Damon Wayans Sr. heads to Fox for the Lethal Weapon reboot series, Marlon Wayans is bringing his quasi-real-life story to NBC. His show centers on a not-quite-together dad who's also an internet celebrity and who's trying to raise his two children with his very organized ex-wife. Hilarity supposedly ensues. (NBC did not show a trailer for Marlon.)

    Midnight, Texas (Mid-season)


    Who’s in it? François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Ramos, Peter Mensah, Yul Vazquez, Sean Bridgers

    Who created it? Monica Owusu-Breen, David Janollari, Niels Arden Oplev

    What’s it about? This fantasy drama is an adaptation of the hit book series from True Blood author Charlaine Harris. It centers on the rural Texas town of the title, which is filled with vampires, witches, psychics, and hit men, who band together when outsiders threaten them. (NBC did not show a trailer for Midnight, Texas.)

    Powerless (Mid-season)

    Chris Large / NBC

    Who's in it? Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi

    Who created it? Ben Queen, Michael Patrick Jann

    What's it about? Remember how mad Batman got at Superman for destroying Metropolis while battling Zod at the end of 2013's Man of Steel? Well, imagine how annoyed the insurance adjusters are when they have to start calculating the costs of such citywide destruction! That high-flying idea is the concept behind this comedy, which focuses on the humans in a superhuman world. It's the first comedy from the DC Comics universe.

    First impression? This is either a concept that will work perfectly or fail spectacularly, and after watching the charming, funny, and promising trailer, I'm leaning towards the former. Hudgens is playing to all her strengths while surrounded by a seriously top-notch comedy cast. And while this shouldn't come as a surprise, DC Comics has pulled out all the stops in terms of special effects. It really looks super. —Jarett Wieselman

    Taken (Mid-season)

    Cristos Kalohoridis / NBC

    Who's in it? Clive Standen, Jennifer Beals, Gaius Charles, Monique Gabriela Curnen, James Landry Hebert, Michael Irby, Brooklyn Sudano, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Simu Liu

    Who created it? Alex Cary, Alex Graves, Luc Besson, Matthew Gross, Edouard de Vesinne, Thomas Anargyros

    What’s it about? Another day, another reboot. This one, based on the film series of the same name starring Liam Neeson, is a modern-day prequel. Standen (Vikings) plays a young version of Neeson’s retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, who’s just starting to develop the “skills that make [him] a nightmare for people” like the ones he suspected of kidnapping his daughter in the first movie.

    First impression? You can probably imagine exactly how the pilot for this show — and maybe even all of the subsequent episodes — will unfold. Standen does a good Neeson impression, though. Given that the first Taken was a terrific surprise and the two movies that followed were worse than meh, this thriller has an uphill climb. But perhaps a supporting cast that includes Beals and Charles can liven it up. —Kate Aurthur

    Trial & Error (Mid-season)

    Tyler Golden / NBC

    Who's in it? John Lithgow, Nicholas D’Agosto, Jayma Mays, Sherri Shepherd, Steven Boyer, Krysta Rodriguez

    Who created it? Jeff Astrof, Matt Miller

    What’s it about? A larger-than-life professor (Lithgow) makes headlines in his small town when he is accused of murdering his wife. In swoops a young big-city lawyer (D’Agosto) who wants to make a name for himself by winning this attention-grabbing case. Wackiness ensues.

    First impression? Though NBC name-checks Making a Murderer in its official description of this show ("Making a Murderer can be funny!," claims the network), the facts of this case seem to be taken from another true crime documentary: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's The Staircase: the professor's first wife also died under mysterious circumstances, and maybe he's gay! I laughed a few times during this trailer, but is this subject actually funny? And how will this conceit turn into a series? I have questions. —Kate Aurthur

    Here is the NBC fall 2016 schedule:


    The Voice 8-10 p.m.

    *Timeless 10-11 p.m.


    The Voice 8-9 p.m.

    *This Is Us 9-10 p.m.

    Chicago Fire 10-11 p.m.


    Blindspot 8-9 p.m.

    Law & Order: SVU 9-10 p.m.

    Chicago P.D. 10-11 p.m.


    Superstore 8-8:30 p.m.

    *The Good Place 8:30-9 p.m.

    Chicago Med 9-10 p.m.

    The Blacklist 10-11 p.m.


    Caught on Camera With Nick Cannon 8-9 p.m.

    Grimm 9-10 p.m.

    Dateline 10-11 p.m.


    Saturday Dateline Mysteries 8-10 p.m.

    Saturday Night Live (classic encores) 10-11 p.m.


    Football Night in America 7-8:20 p.m.

    Sunday Night Football 8:20-11 p.m.

    Note: An asterisk (*) indicates a new show for the 2016-2017 season.

    Note: In mid-May every year, the five television broadcast networks — NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and The CW — present their new shows and upcoming schedules to advertisers at events called "the upfronts." That's why you see an onslaught of new programming in May, as well as the cancellation of current shows. This post will be continually updated.


    The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro. An earlier version of this post misstated the city.

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