May 13, 2012

THE SKED: NBC Fall Schedule and Instant Analysis


There’s an old saying that you can’t plan for crazy.  And that brings us to some of NBC’s official Fall TV schedule:



Let’s take a look, night by night.

MONDAY:  Things begin logically enough, with the return of THE VOICE leading into one of the network’s new dramas.  We had Infamous in the 10PM slot in our proposed schedule, but that’s one of the many shows NBC is holding back for midseason, so they went with REVOLUTION.

TUESDAY:  The network is taking a calculated but big risk here.  THE VOICE RESULTS will give the 2 new sitcoms GO ON (with Matthew Perry) and THE NEW NORMAL (with its buzz storyline of a gay couple living with the surrogate carrying their baby) a strong lead-in, but airing the new Go On directly against the hit New Girl on FOX could backfire.  We had PARENTHOOD held for midseason, but NBC opted to bring it back for Fall.

WEDNESDAY:  As we expected, NBC will plug away with 2 new sitcoms on Wednesday, and one of them is the vet comedy ANIMAL PRACTICE.  What’s odd here is the network’s decision to pair Animal not with one of the many, many single camera sitcoms it picked up, but with GUYS WITH KIDS, its only new multi-camera show.  That’s usually not a great idea, but the network must think these 2 shows really fit together.  The Dick Wolf double-bill of SVU with the new CHICAGO FIRE makes sense, but putting the sagging, aging SVU at 9PM won’t give the new show much of a lead-in.

THURSDAY:  And now we come to crazy-time.  It’s not clear how NBC can present this line-up to advertisers and affiliates with a straight face, because since all 4 returning sitcoms have a clear track record, the network knows almost for sure that the only one of them that even has a chance of seeing a 2 rating is THE OFFICE, and considering how Office did toward the end of this season, that may well be a stretch.  There are reasons to keep the low-rated ROCK CENTER on the schedule, largely related to PR and internal politics–but giving it the Thursday 10PM slot, which means affiliates will receive a 1.0 (if they’re lucky) lead-in to their local news?  Truly bizarre. It’s as though NBC has decided not even to try on Thursdays, which makes no reasonable sense.

FRIDAY:  Instead of using a strong new show to make a 2-hour drama block with GRIMM, the network is airing the sure-to-be low-rated pair of WHITNEY and COMMUNITY (another coupling of single-camera and multi-camera comedy), which isn’t likely to give Grimm more than a 1.0 lead-for in its important sophomore season.

WEEKEND:  Repeats on Saturday, football on Sunday.

A couple of other NBC notes.  The network is clearly planning a big push for midseason, holding SMASH (which will have a short order, no more than 18 episodes) and many of its new series (DO NO HARM, INFAMOUS, HANNIBAL, 1600 PENN, NEXT CALLER, SAVE ME).  But unlike this year, NBC won’t have the Super Bowl as a promotional platform for its midseason slate.  And with the absence of the Super Bowl, the network’s season average is predestined for a significant slip in any case–that’s how big that one single night is.  If NBC’s new schedule doesn’t take off, NBC could be doomed to the lowest network average in history… and this line-up isn’t a promising start.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."