back to top
TVAndMovies

NBC Is Counting On Live Programming And New Dramas As Comedies Move To Fridays

It is looking bleak out there. Plus, check out the trailers for three new dramas, and one new comedy.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Things are dire for NBC.

Though the struggling network will finish this season No. 1 in the 18-to-49 demographic, that is a misleading statistic fueled by NBC's airing of the Super Bowl. Its sole true hit continues to be The Voice; the two Chicago shows also do ok, which is why a third one will arrive midseason. Beyond that, NBC has canceled all of its new 2014-2015 shows except The Mysteries of Laura, which earned a mere 0.9 in its last airing.

Basically, it's time to start from scratch.

NBC is counting on The Voice, which is still down from last season, to usher in new dramas — Greg Berlanti's Blindspot on Mondays and the medical series Heartbreaker on Tuesdays. Wednesday nights, meanwhile, look exactly the same as they did in the 2014-2015 season, and Thursdays are still all about the drama with The Blacklist sitting between the return of Heroes with Heroes Reborn airing at 8 p.m. and The Player, a new drama starring Wesley Snipes, closing out the night at 10 p.m.

And though NBC once bolstered one of the most robust comedy blocks on network television, those days couldn't be further in the rearview mirror. Now, comedy is being sequestered to Friday nights with Undateable, the network's only returning comedy, moving to 8 p.m. from its Tuesday night slot in the 2014-2015 season. Following it will be the only new NBC comedy making it into the fall schedule, People Are Talking, starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

Also worth noting, Undateable will return next season with all live episodes, another indicator of NBC's experimentation with live programming since the success of Sound of Music Live!, which hasn't been replicated despite efforts. "Live programming is one more way to make a show undeniable," Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC entertainment, said in a statement. The Wiz Live! will also air next season and Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris, airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. as NBC's only new non-scripted fall series, will also be live.

Most of NBC's new scripted series (eight out of 13) will premiere mid-season. Those include series with big names that have previously proven successful on network TV Eva Longoria, formerly of Desperate Housewives, now on Hot & Bothered; America Ferrera, formerly of Ugly Betty, now on Superstore; Rob Lowe, Megan Mullally, and Jenna Fischer, formerly of Parks & Rec, Will & Grace, and The Office, respectively, now on You, Me and the End of the World; and if that doesn't work, they have Neil Patrick Harris' name in a show title.

And there, there's Coach, a planned 13-episode revival of a show that aired its final episode 18 years ago.

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

Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)

NBC

Who's in it: Neil Patrick Harris and guests

Who created it: Neil Patrick Harris, Orly Adelson, Siobhan Greene, David A. Hurwitz, Anthony McPartlin, Declan Donnelly

What's it about: NPH will host a live one-hour variety show each week, filled with "stunts, skits, pranks, audience interaction, musical numbers, giveaways, and unlimited surprises," according to the press release. Because he can't stop, won't stop.

Premieres Sept. 15

View this video on YouTube

NBC
Advertisement

Blindspot (Mondays at 10 p.m.)

NBC

Who's in it? Sullivan Stapleton, Jaimie Alexander, Audrey Esparza, Rob Brown, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Ukweli Roach, Ashley Johnson

Who created it? Martin Gero, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Mark Pellington

What's it about? A young, naked tattooed woman (Jaimie Alexander) turns up in Times Square (!!!) and has no idea who she is (!!!!). Plus, she's in Times Square (!!!!). Among the tattoos is an FBI agent's name, and when she gets in with him, they realize each tattoo is a clue.

First impression? "Greg Berlanti has had success on The CW with Arrow and The Flash, and he had a quasi-success for NBC with The Mysteries of Laura, which he executive produces. Now, they're hoping he can do the same with Blindspot, but if the trailer is any indication, they should have their fingers firmly crossed. For those of us who were first introduced to Jaimie Alexander on ABC Family's Kyle XY (Bueller?), this is basically the same concept: Someone who appears to be a human is found naked in the middle of Times Square (instead of the woods) with tattoos all over her body (instead of no belly button on her body) and though she has no memories, she has some serious martial arts skills and can speak Chinese." —Jaimie Etkin (in Jaimie solidarity)

Premieres Sept. 21

Heroes Reborn (Thursdays at 8 p.m.)

NBC

Who's in it: Jack Coleman, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Masi Oka, Zachary Levi, Ryan Guzman, Robbie Kay, Danika Yarosh, Judith Shekoni, Kiki Sukezane, Henry Zebrowski, Gatlin Green

Who created it: Tim Kring, Peter Elkoff, James Middleton

What's it about: A reboot of the 2006-2010 series Heroes that follows regular people discovering they have extraordinary powers.

Premieres Sept. 24

View this video on YouTube

NBC
Advertisement

The Player (Thursdays at 10 p.m.)

NBC

Who's in it? Wesley Snipes, Philip Winchester, Charity Wakefield, Damon Gupton

Who created it? John Rogers, John Davis, John Fox, Bharat Nalluri

What's it about? This Las Vegas-set thriller centers on a security expert (and former military operative) who enters a circle of the rich who bet on whether he's able to prevent massive crimes from happening. All he wants is revenge for his wife's death.

First impression? "This one could be enticing (Wesley Snipes!), but it'll depend on how creative the writers can get with a man who is hired to literally kill someone week after week." —Emily Orley

Premieres Sept. 24

People Are Talking (Fridays at 8:30 p.m.)

NBC

Who’s in it? Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Meaghan Rath, Tone Bell, Bresha Webb

Who created it? DJ Nash, Will Packer, Pam Fryman

What’s it about? A comedy about two couples who live next door to one another and can’t help but over-analyze every detail of their daily lives (for example, according to the press release: “the fact that the trusted new babysitter might just be a porn star").

First impression? "The babysitter catches the couples at the center of this show watching her porno in the driveway, and it's all downhill from there. Despite the presence of the oh-so-charismatic Zack Morris, this is just another quirky cohabitation comedy that feels like it could quickly go the same way of One Big Happy and Marry Me." —Emily Orley

Premieres Oct. 16

Advertisement

Chicago Med (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)

Who's in it? Oliver Platt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Laurie Holden, Nick Gehlfuss, Yaya Dacosta

Who created it? Dick Wolf, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Danielle Gelber, Peter Jankowski, Joe Chappelle

What's it about? It's a spinoff of the medium-successful NBC/Dick Wolf franchise that includes Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.

Premieres Nov. 10

View this video on YouTube

NBC

Heartbreaker (Midseason TBD)

NBC

Who's in it? Melissa George, Dave Annable, Don Hany, Shelley Conn, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Kennedy, Maya Erskine, J. Louis Mills, Joshua Leonard

Who created it? Jill Gordon, Amy Brenneman, Brad Silberling, Robbie Duncan McNeill

What's it about? George plays Dr. Kathy Magliato, a real person and heart transplant surgeon. I enjoyed this bit of the logline: "She revels in a racy personal life that's a full-time job in itself." Sounds House-y.

First impression? "Just what television needs. Another doctor show! This one's about a kickass cardiothoracic surgeon who is a lone lady in a man's world. Presumably, she's great in the operating room and doesn't have it together when it comes to bedroom matters. Scrub life didn't work out for Melissa George on Grey's Anatomy nor did it for Dave Annable on last season's Fox failure Red Band Society. But maybe this could fill a hole for those of us who miss TV's best female cardiothoracic surgeon, Cristina Yang? #optimism." —Jaimie Etkin

Advertisement

Little Big Shots (working title) (Midseason TBD)

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Who's in it? "Some of the smallest talent," according to NBC's press release

Who created it? Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Harvey, Jeff Kleeman, Gerald Washington

What's it about? Harvey will host eight hour-long episodes of this new variety show featuring extraordinary young musicians, singers, dancers, and other artists from all over the country.

Game of Silence (Midseason TBD)

NBC

Who's in it? David Lyons, Michael Raymond-James, Larenz Tate, Bre Blair, Conor O'Farrell, Deidrie Henry, Demetrius Grosse, Claire Van Der Boom

Who created it? David Hudgins, Carol Mendelsohn, Julie Weitz, Niels Arden Oplev

What's it about? A successful Atlanta lawyer (Lyons) is surprised to encounter his former childhood friends, 25 years after they parted ways. And with them comes the a long buried dark secret they share, forcing the long lost friends to reunite in an effort to right their wrongs. So… Dude Revenge?

You the Jury (Midseason TBD)

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Who's in it: Will change weekly

Who created it: Dick Wolf, Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, and Tom Thayer

What's it about: A reality series that shows court cases in real time and lets viewers decide the verdict.

Crowded (Midseason TBD)

Justin Lubin / NBC

Who's in it? Patrick Warburton, Carrie Preston, Stacy Keach, Carlease Burke, Mia Serafino, Miranda Cosgrove

Who created it? Suzanne Martin, Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner

What's it about? A couple (Warburton and Preston) finally have their house all to themselves after raising their children, but then two of their adult daughters move back in and crowd that empty nest.

Advertisement

Shades of Blue (Midseason TBD)

Sergi Alexander / Getty Images

Who’s in it? Jennifer Lopez, Ray Liotta, Drea de Matteo, Vincent Laresca

Who created it? Adi Hasak, Jack Orman, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Barry Levinson, Jennifer Lopez, Benny Medina, Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass

What’s it about? This Lopez vehicle, in which she plays a cop who goes to work for the FBI, was first announced as a straight-to-series pickup by NBC in Feb. 2014.

Hot & Bothered (Midseason TBD)

Ben Gabbe / Getty Images

Who’s in it? Eva Longoria

Who created it? Christine Pietrosh & Jessica Goldstein, Eva Longoria, Ben Spector, Steve Pink

What’s it about? Longoria plays a telenovela star — with a crazy life — in this single-camera comedy. Robert Greenblatt, the entertainment chairman of NBC, announced this pickup in January.

Superstore (Midseason TBD)

Trae Patton / NBC

Who's in it? America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, Mark McKinney, Lauren Ash, Colton Dunn, Nichole Bloom, Nico Santos

Who created it? Justin Spitzer, David Bernad, Ruben Fleischer

What's it about? A workplace comedy from the co-executive producer of The Office — but instead of a paper company, this focuses on the employees at a Target-like store.

You, Me and the End of the World (Midseason TBD)

Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Who's in it: Rob Lowe, Megan Mullally, Jenna Fischer, Mathew Baynton, Joel Fry, Paterson Joseph, Gaia Scodellaro, Pauline Quirke, Fabian McCallum, Kyle Soller.

Who created it: Juliette Howell, Lynn Horsford, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Cameron Roach, Lizzie Gray, Andrew Conrad

What's it about: A comedy about a group of strangers in a near-apocalyptic world (a comet is on track to crash into Earth) who become connected as they try to find shelter in an underground bunker and then try to reinvigorate the human population after the disaster. (If you're wondering how Lowe can be on both You, Me and the End of the World and on Fox's new comedy The Grinder, the NBC show is a limited series and a UK co-production.)

Advertisement

Here is the NBC Fall 2015 schedule:

Monday

The Voice 8-10 p.m.

*The Blindspot 10-11 p.m.

Tuesday

The Voice 8-9 p.m.

*Heartbreaker 9-10 p.m.

*Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris 10-11 p.m. (through November)

Chicago Fire 10-11 p.m. (premieres in November)

Wednesday

The Mysteries of Laura 8-9 p.m.

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

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

Thursday

*Heroes Reborn 8-9 p.m.

The Blacklist 9-10 p.m.

*The Player 10-11 p.m.

Friday

Undateable 8-8:30 p.m.

*People Are Talking 8:30-9 p.m.

Grimm 9-10 p.m.

Dateline 10-11 p.m.

Saturday

Dateline Saturday Night Mystery 8-10 p.m.

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

Sunday

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

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

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.

Update

On Aug. 31, it was announced that NBC would not be moving forward with its Coach reboot.

Advertisement

Kate Aurthur is the chief Los Angeles correspondent for BuzzFeed News. Aurthur covers the television and film industries.

Contact Kate Aurthur at kate.aurthur@buzzfeed.com.

Jarett Wieselman is a senior entertainment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. Wieselman writes about and reports on the television industry.

Contact Jarett Wieselman at jarett.wieselman@buzzfeed.com.

Jaimie Etkin is the entertainment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jaimie Etkin at jaimie.etkin@buzzfeed.com.

Emily Orley is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Orley reports on the television industry.

Contact Emily Orley at emily.orley@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.