So, What Will NBC’s Primetime Lineup Look Like in the Fall?


I’d love to be a TV programmer when I grow up. I think it’s a lot of fun. An entire network primetime schedule at your fingertips!

We’re just a few weeks away from the always fun and exciting Upfronts where the fates of shows and a network’s future are revealed. TVbytheNumbers has been asking what would you do with the network’s schedule and today it was NBC. I replied with my thoughts but I was inspired to go further than what I posted.

This is fun I tell you! Anyway, here are a few scenarios I’d look at if I were NBC.

First off, NBC is looking to pick-up a few new comedies. Despite ABC’s success at opening a new night of comedy on Wednesday this season, I think right now it may be risky for NBC to do the same, whether it be Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

I think it may be much more likely NBC moves one or two of its current Thursday comedies to another night to pair with a new series. The thing is, none of NBC’s comedies can really serve as a good lead-in for anything so moving one of them to help launch a new night or pair with a new comedy is kind of crazy. But I did it below anyway.

I also don’t think NBC will do anything drastic or groundbreaking, unfortunately. It would be great if they did revamp their entire schedule, but it won’t happen.

I’d love for NBC to follow through with doing the 13-episode seasons (like they were supposed to this season), at least for some of its shows. Have at least one season-long series each night and then have the other series share timeslots between Fall and Spring.

Bubble shows Mercy and Trauma (unfortunately) won’t be back next season and if Chuck does get saved again, it’ll probably be held until midseason. I love Chuck but the numbers don’t justify a season-long slot. And neither does Heroes. It doesn’t deserve 13 more hours to waste, I say give it a two-hour movie finale and be done with it forever. Or let’s just forget about it now, yeah?

Key: NEW SERIES New timeslot

So first line-up keeps the Thursday comedies where they are.

MONDAY
8:00 NEW DRAMA or NEW COMEDIES
9:00 ROCKFORD FILES
10:00 Law & Order: New York or LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES

Rockford Files seems destined for Mondays I think. They’ll probably launch another new drama or two new comedies at 8pm and if it fails, plug in Chuck. Law & Order could stay on Mondays or if NBC insists on airing LOLA and LONY concurrently, have LOLA on Mondays and LONY on Friday at 10pm.

TUESDAY
8:00 The Biggest Loser
10:00 KINDREDS

More on The Biggest Loser‘s importance to NBC’s line-up later, but it hard to argue against sticking to what’s been the only success on the network. I feel Parenthood will benefit from a 9pm timeslot, so the Kathy Bates-led Kindreds from David E. Kelley I think may fit better with The Biggest Loser than the other drama pilots NBC has in line.

WEDNESDAY
8:00 NEW COMEDIES or LOVE BITES
9:00 Parenthood
10:00 Law & Order: SVU

I think Parenthood would do better at 9pm. It’ll be without a lead-in, but an earlier slot may help attract more families to it. NBC will be picking up new comedies and I don’t think NBC will launch a new drama on Wednesdays at 8pm. They can put the romance anthology Love Bites though at 8pm (if it can be an 8pm show), and it would actually fit well with Parenthood.

THURSDAY
8:00 Community
8:30 Parks & Recreation
9:00 The Office
9:30 30 Rock
10:00 NEW DRAMA (THE CAPE or UNDERCOVERS)

Great comedies, but far from ratings winners. But Thursdays at 10pm is the next cushiest slot on the network (relatively speaking) after 10pm Tuesday, and NBC may do well to launch the superhero drama The Cape or the J.J. Abrams spy drama Undercovers on this night.

FRIDAY
8:00 Unscripted/Who Do You Think You Are/The Apprentice Original Flavor Hour 1
9:00 Unscripted/The Marriage Ref/The Apprentice Original Flavor Hour 2
10:00 Dateline NBC

NBC will stay unscripted on Fridays and they have done well with it this season. They’ve won the last few Fridays. A Who Do You Think You Are/Marriage Ref combo would be harmless. But NBC may decide to bring back its Apprentice reboot in the Fall rather than midseason and they could easily put 2-hours of it on Friday. Dateline has been NBC’s best Friday performer and could fill more than just 10pm if needed. LONY is also possible at 10pm.

SATURDAY
πŸ™ So sad.

SUNDAY
Football in the Fall

This next line-up is contingent on using the “established” (and I use that world loosely) Thursday comedies on other nights to pair with a new comedy, allowing for two new comedies to air on Thursdays.

Community and Parks & Recreation seem to be the leading candidates to change nights, The Office certainly stays on Thursdays and it’s 50/50 whether they’d move 30 Rock. Thursdays at 10pm is the next cushiest slot on the network (relatively speaking), so they’ll launch either The Cape or Undercovers here instead of Tuesdays.

MONDAY
8:00 Parks & Recreation
8:30 NEW COMEDY
9:00 ROCKFORD FILES
10:00 Law & Order: New York or LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES

Again, none of the Thursday comedies are good lead-ins for anything, but it can happen.

WEDNESDAY
8:00 Community
8:30 NEW COMEDY
9:00 Parenthood
10:00 Law & Order: SVU

Romantic comedies will fit well with Parenthood. Between Parks & Rec and Community, the latter has is more romantic so there you go.

THURSDAY
8:00 NEW COMEDY
8:30 30 Rock
9:00 The Office
9:30 NEW COMEDY (OUTSOURCED)
10:00 NEW DRAMA (THE CAPE or UNDERCOVERS)

Moving two of the Thursday comedies (and I do think two at most) opens up two timeslots to launch two new comedies that hopefully can be more mainstream than the four NBC already has. Outsourced, a romantic comedy set in an Indian call center is a lead candidate for a nice Thursday slot and it may be very compatible with the aging The Office

Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are same as above.

Now, The Biggest Loser is arguably the strongest series and two-hour blocks on NBC today. It holds up incredibly well, if not spectacularly against television’s top rated shows American Idol, the NCISes, and Dancing with the Stars, even winning its timeslot in demos in the Fall without Idol.

So it would be smart not to mess with one of NBC’s few successes. But there is also an argument in movingThe Biggest Loser to Wednesdays where NBC has struggled the last couple of years. But then where does that leave Tuesday? NBC may have a harder time launching new stuff on Tuesday than they would on Wednesday, but a new comedy block on Tuesday would be great counter-programming on a night of dramas and reality shows.

The big move here though that NBC could take and may actually work out well is splitting The Biggest Loser, with an hour each on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Biggest Loser seems to be strong enough to do well on any night so splitting the 2-hour episodes (which I think has been floated around before) may help a lot.

It would give NBC two lead-ins on two nights where it desperately needs it, and with this schedule, it helps other shows as well.

MONDAY
8:00 NEW DRAMA or NEW COMEDIES
9:00 ROCKFORD FILES
10:00 Law & Order: New York or LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES

TUESDAY
8:00 The Biggest Loser Hour 1
9:00 Parenthood
10:00 NEW DRAMA/KINDREDS or LOVE BITES

On Tuesdays, it’ll allow Parenthood to stick with The Biggest Loser, but also get its earlier 9pm slot. And it also serves as a nice lead-in to a new drama, especially Kindreds at 10pm or even Love Bites, both female skewing premises.

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Biggest Loser Hour 2
9:00 NEW DRAMA/UNDERCOVERS
10:00 Law & Order: SVU

Being sandwiched between The Biggest Loser and SVU would definitely be a very comfortable and plum timeslot for a new series, possibly great for Undercovers which would then open Thursdays at 10pm free for The Cape.

THURSDAY
8:00 Community
8:30 Parks & Recreation
9:00 The Office
9:30 30 Rock
10:00 NEW DRAMA/THE CAPE

The Cape, a more male-skewing premise would work better on Thursdays at 10pm after the comedies than Undercovers possibly could, as it will go up against the female-skewing Private Practice and a weaker The Mentalist or CSI if CBS decides to switch.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday same as above.

2 thoughts on “So, What Will NBC’s Primetime Lineup Look Like in the Fall?

  1. Break up thursday and have parenthood without a lead in at 8-9 then office and 30 rock – seems like must see tv to me!

    • That’s an idea!
      But NBC may want to keep 2-hours of comedy on Thursday, though they did have a Comedy-Apprentice-ER line-up before so it may be possible. If NBC were to move Parenthood to Thursday, they may put it at 10pm more likely.

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