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    NBC's Must-See TV Is Back On Thursday Nights With "Will & Grace"

    And This Is Us scores NBC's prime post–Super Bowl slot.

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    NBC

    Heading into the 2017–2018 television season, NBC has a lot to celebrate: The Peacock not only had the year’s biggest new hit in This Is Us, but the combination of the Pearson family, Sunday Night Football, and The Voice put NBC at No. 1 in the highly coveted 18–49 demographic coming off its most-watched season in 10 years.

    And the network is relying heavily on This Is Us this fall: Dan Fogelman’s time-tripping family drama scored the highly coveted post–Super Bowl spot on Feb. 4, 2018, and may also air a special Christmas episode. “This Is Us is a show we think is peerless among network television at the moment,” Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment said in early May.

    Though NBC originally made it the centerpiece of what they're hoping will be the return of its "must-see TV" Thursdays, the network announced on May 30 that they would move the show back to Tuesday nights. Now, much like it was for the bulk of its initial existence, "must see TV" will be two hours of comedies when it returns on Thursday nights this fall, with Superstore and The Good Place leading into the hotly-anticipated return of Will & Grace at 9 p.m. The recently renewed Great News gets a cush time slot at 9:30, and the enduring Chicago Fire follows at 10 p.m.

    NBC

    In other plum time slot news, freshman series The Brave (about a covert special ops team) will follow The Voice at 10 p.m. on Monday nights. And Tuesdays will kick off with The Voice as usual at 8 p.m., followed by This Is Us and Dick Wolf’s Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders — an anthology series in the vein of FX’s American Crime Story starring Edie Falco as Leslie Abramson (who defended the brothers in court). It's maintaining its post-This Is Us timeslot, moving with the sophomore series from Thursdays to Tuesdays.

    Two of the network’s biggest time slot shifts this fall occur in the 8 p.m hour as The Blacklist kicks off Wednesdays, leading into the successful duo that is Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D., and Blindspot moves to Fridays at 8 p.m.

    Midseason will see the premieres of returning dramas Chicago Med, Shades of Blue, and the miraculously renewed Timeless — which was canceled on May 10 only to be brought back from the dead three days later. “We heard from fans, the outcry, and we thought, Let’s figure out how to bring it back,” Greenblatt said of the viewers who took to social media to bemoan its axing. “We all love the show creatively and we were hoping for it to have a bigger audience in the fall … We went back to the drawing board in every way. Nothing would make us happier than to see the audience grow.”

    Here’s what NBC has coming to TV in the 2017–2018 season:

    The Brave (Mondays at 10 p.m.)

    Jeff Riedel / NBC

    Who’s in it? Anne Heche, Mike Vogel, Sofia Pernas, Tate Ellington, Natacha Karam, Demetrius Grosse, Noah Mills, Hadi Tabbal

    Who created it? Dean Georgaris, Brad Anderson, Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan

    What’s it about? The team behind Homeland takes a look at the “complex world of America’s elite undercover military heroes.”

    When does it premiere? Monday, Sept. 25

    First impression? I still want answers about the fact that this show was originally called For God & Country, but that aside, The Brave, as it is now called, looks very much like a Homeland for broadcast TV: A pretty blonde surgeon is taken hostage by a radical Islamic terrorist group, and a very attractive group of people is assigned to save her. Considering the amount of anti-Muslim sentiment in the world right now, I found this one a bit hard to watch, particularly when Anne Heche (whom I'm excited to see back on TV) says, "No attack on an American will be tolerated." To put it bluntly: This just isn't what I personally want to be watching right now. —Jaimie Etkin

    Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)

    Mike Nelson

    Who's in it? Edie Falco

    Who created it? Dick Wolf

    What's it about? The über-producer behind NBC's hugely successful Law & Order and Chicago franchises takes a crack at a true crime anthology series (think American Crime Story) with a scripted look at the murder trial of Lyle and Erik Menendez.

    When does it premiere? Tuesday, Sept. 26

    First impression? Another instance where NBC only screened a conceptual reel for a series — although, in this case, that's because only one actor has been cast, so nothing has been actually shot yet. On the one hand, I am so totally here for Edie Falco as curly-haired defense lawyer Leslie Abramson that I'm completely sold without having seen a second of footage. On the other, I’m a little bit wary as the trailer (cut by marketing so take it with a grain of salt) seems to paint the brothers as sympathetic victims who were justified in killing their parents. — J.W.

    Will & Grace (Thursdays at 9 p.m.)

    NBC

    Who’s in it? Duh! Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally, Sean Hayes

    Who created it? Max Mutchnick, David Kohan, James Burrows

    What’s it about? The adventures of Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen — last seen in spring 2006 — will continue for a 12-episode limited series. The idea for the revival came after the gang filmed a viral get-out-the-vote video last fall.

    When does it premiere? Thursday, Sept. 28

    First impression? This is going to be quick because NBC didn't actually debut any footage from the show; what they screened was more of a conceptual sizzle reel that blended fact, fiction, and — naturally — a musical number. The jokes kind of fell flat, but I'm not going to hold that against Will & Grace because selling ad sales people on a show and creating an entertaining television series are two entirely different animals. —Jarett Wieselman

    Rise (Midseason)

    NBC

    Who’s in it? Josh Radnor, Auli'i Cravalho, Rosie Perez, Marley Shelton, Amy Forsyth, Shannon Purser

    Who created it? Jason Katims, Michelle Lee, Jeffrey Seller, Flody Suarez

    What’s it about? It’s like Glee meets Friday Night Lights, as a teacher (Radnor) takes over his school’s less-than-stellar theater department and, in doing so, inspires the students, the other teachers, and the entire town.

    First impression? Any TV show with musical numbers that takes place in a high school is bound to draw comparisons to Glee. But the similarities between that Fox comedy and this NBC drama run deep — starting in the trailer's opening minutes, when a dedicated teacher sets his sights on landing the school's star quarterback for his theater program. Obviously, I'm instantly on board for any show that springs from the mind of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood genius Jason Katims, but there was something heavy-handed about Rise's dramatics. That said, most of my worries were washed away the instant Moana herself, Auli'i Cravalho, began to sing "Mama Who Bore Me" from Spring Awakening. But we all know how far a show can go based on one good song. —J.W.

    Good Girls (Midseason)

    Justin Lubin / NBC

    Who's in it? Retta, Mae Whitman, Reno Wilson, Manny Montana, Lidya Jewett, Izzy Stannard, Matthew Lillard

    Who created it? Jenna Bans, Dean Parisot, Jeannine Renshaw

    What's it about? Three cash-strapped suburban moms break out of their molds and rob a supermarket — but things don't go as planned.

    Reverie (Midseason)

    Nbc / Sergei Bachlakov / NBC

    Who's in it? Sarah Shahi, Dennis Haysbert, Jessica Lu, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Kathryn Morris

    Who created it? Mickey Fisher, Jaume Collet-Serra, Brooklyn Weaver, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Tom Szentgyorgyi

    What's it about? A former hostage negotiator is tasked with saving people who are lost in a high-tech virtual reality program.

    AP Bio (Midseason)

    NBC

    Who’s in it? Glenn Howerton, Patton Oswalt, Lyric Lewis, Mary Sohn, Aparna Brielle, Jacob McCarthy, Nick Peine, Vanessa Bayer (for the pilot only)

    Who created it? Mike O’Brien, Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers, Andrew Singer, Michael Shoemaker

    What’s it about? A philosophy scholar (Howerton) gets a job as an AP Bio teacher in a high school after he doesn't get the academic position he wanted — but he decides that with these smart kids, he'll just teach them what he wants (aka, not biology).

    First impression? Even though I never wanted to see the words AP Bio again post–high school, I thought this comedy had potential. The trailer hints at a more male and more serious (Howerton's character, Jack, has just lost his mom) Bad Teacher, but I did chuckle when Jack asks his students to catfish his nemesis and one of them reads a bleep-filled message she's prepared for the assignment. Plus, Patton Oswalt. I'm looking forward to the full pilot. —J.E.

    Champions (Midseason)

    Nbc / Jordin Althaus / NBC

    Who's in it? Anders Holm, Andy Favreau, J.J. Totah, Mouzam Makkar, Nina Wadia. Mindy Kaling guest stars.

    Who created it? Charlie Grandy, Mindy Kaling, Michael Alan Spiller, Howard Klein

    What's it about? Imagine Three Men and a Baby but with two men, a teenager, and they're brothers.

    First impression? As I brace myself — like many LGBT people — for the '90s brand of gay jokes that filled Will & Grace to return in 2017, I wasn't exactly excited to see a mini Jack McFarland at the center of Champions. The trailer sees Michael (Totah) — the son of Vince (Holms) and Priya (Kaling) — make Les Mis references and call the man he later learns to be his uncle hot. (Totah was so great in Back in the Game a couple seasons ago.) It's hard to say based on a cutdown, of course, but this one makes Champions look dated. —J.E.

    Here's NBC's fall 2017 schedule:

    Monday

    The Voice, 8 p.m. (Returns Sept. 25)

    *The Brave, 10 p.m. (Premieres Sept. 25)

    Tuesday

    The Voice, 8 p.m.

    This Is Us, 9 p.m. (Returns Sept. 26)

    *Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, 10 p.m. (Premieres Sept. 26)

    Wednesday

    The Blacklist, 8 p.m. (Returns Sept. 27)

    Law & Order: SVU, 9 p.m. (Returns Sept. 27)

    Chicago P.D., 10 p.m. (Returns Sept. 27)

    Thursday

    Superstore, 8 p.m. (Returns Sept. 28)

    The Good Place, 8:30 p.m. (Returns Sept. 20)

    *Will & Grace, 9 p.m. (Returns Sept. 28)

    Great News, 9:30 p.m. (Returns Sept. 28)

    Chicago Fire, 10 p.m. (Returns Sept. 28)

    Friday

    Blindspot, 8 p.m. (Returns Oct. 27)

    Dateline, 9 p.m. (Returns Sept. 29)

    Saturday

    Dateline Saturday Night Mystery, 8 p.m.

     

    Sunday

    Football Night in America, 7 p.m.

    NBC Sunday Night Football, 8:20 p.m.

     

    Note: An asterisk (*) indicates a new show for the 2017–2018 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 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.

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