May 11, 2012



The broadcast networks will officially announce their schedules next week at the Upfronts in New York, but before that happens, Mitch Metcalf and I, along with veteran network executive Ted Frank, have put together our own versions–reflecting the needs and possibilities of each network, as we’d previously detailed.

We’ve posted our recommended schedules for FOX, ABC and CBS.  NBC will be the first to make its announcements on Monday morning, so that’s where we’re beginning.  Above is our recommendation of what the Peacock should do, and here’s why:

MONDAY:  It’s possible that NBC will decide that in network television, there can really be too much of a good thing, and that it’s better to preserve THE VOICE as a Spring event rather than airing 2 cycles per season, thus taking the risk of wearing out the only non-football hit it’s had in a long time.  But our bet is that given the desperate state of the rest of the network’s schedule, and the fact that, at least in the short term, having Voice on Mondays and Tuesdays gives NBC wins on 2 nights of the Fall week (Sunday and Monday) and a strongly competitive spot on a 3rd. the network will grit its teeth and take the gamble.  However, it no longer makes sense to squander the network’s best lead-in on Smash, a show that’s been under a 2 for the past several weeks and shows no sign of climbing–Smash has gotten all it could from having The Voice in front of it, and now it’s time for the show to sink or swim on its own (see below).  The Voice lead-in should go to a new 1-hour, and the Revenge-ish soap INFAMOUS sounds like it could fit. .

TUESDAYTHE BIGGEST LOSER, no longer the hit it used to be, could afford to slim down.  It should revert to a 1-hour format to lead off the night, flowing into THE VOICE RESULTS.  The network’s big-time new 1-hour, the JJ Abrams/Eric Kripke post-apocalyptic adventure REVOLUTION, gets the benefit of that lead-in (with the serialized Parenthood returning to the air midseason, possibly with less than a 22-episode order, allowing it to run consecutively without repeats or preemptions).

WEDNESDAY:  This was a graveyard for NBC all season, and needs a drastic revamp.  Launching 2 new single-camera sitcoms against ABC’s fairly strong pair of The Middle and Suburgatory is a risk, but NBC needs to take risks.  Rumor has it that the Matthew Perry vehicle GO ON and possibly the Justin Kirk comedy ANIMAL PRACTICE may launch in August post-Olympics, and if they can get a head of steam before the season starts, they may have enough momentum to compete for the Wednesday 8PM comedy audience.  Dick Wolf’s newest ensemble procedural CHICAGO FIRE should pair up with Wolf’s returning SVU in the 9-10PM hours, where the only similar competition is likely to be from CBS.

THURSDAY:  We love COMMUNITY and PARKS & RECREATION too (well, some of “us” do), and wholeheartedly support the renewal of the first and word that the latter won’t be far behind.  But NBC can’t live with a Thursday night where only a single show manages a 2 rating (and even THE OFFICE barely gets there these days).  The network had some success 4 years ago with a SNL ELECTION UPDATE half-hour, so we’d start the season with an hour of smart-ish political comedy, the new 1600 PENN (family hijinks at the White House) leading into SNL.  After November, 30 ROCK would be the natural successor to the SNL slot.  The Office, diminished as it may be, is as close to a comedy anchor as NBC has, so it retains the 9PM slot for now, followed by THE NEW NORMAL, Ryan Murphy’s comedy about a modern blended family, surrogate and all.  SMASH should finally move into the slot people thought it would get last season, the once-celebrated, now not-so-much Thursday 10PM position.  (That description happens to apply to the show, too.)

FRIDAYDO NO HARM, a modern Jekyll & Hyde story, sounds like a good fit with GRIMM, followed by the eternal DATELINE.

SATURDAY:  Reruns, burn-offs, blah blah Saturday.


MIDSEASON BENCH:  Apart from the returning PARENTHOOD, COMMUNITY and PARKS & RECREATION, the offbeat Anne Heche comedy SAVE ME, and the direct-to-series HANNIBAL, an international production about the backstory of noted foodie Hannibal Lecter.  Also, possibly the Dwight Schrute spin-off of The Office, if that comes to pass.



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."