Welcome to Upfronts week! Can you feel the excitement?! That’s a rhetorical question, in case you just said “no” to your screen.
Actually this is a rather big week for TV fans, as we find out what shows we’ll be watching in the coming Fall season. NBC was up first this morning, and the peacock has assembled a rather helpful chart (PDF) to aid you in keeping track of what critically-adored but low-rated series will be airing in the Fall.
Here are, in my opinion, the most top-5 most interesting things about NBC’s Fall schedule:
5. ‘The Voice’ results show shifts to 9 PM
You’d think NBC wouldn’t mess with its lone success story, but there will be a change with ‘The Voice’ come Fall. No, it’s not the rumored switch to the middle of the week to go toe-to-toe with struggling ‘American Idol’. Instead, the singing competition is staying on Mondays and Tuesdays, but the Tuesday results show will air at 9 PM instead of 8 PM. ‘The Biggest Loser’ will precede it at 8 PM, presumably with the intention of capturing some ‘Voice’ viewers for that middling reality show.
I’m not sure what to make of the Jonathan Rhys Meyers-led period thriller based on the trailer. It looks plenty good, but seems to be missing the visual flair of, say, ‘Hannibal’. That said, Friday at 10 PM is a pretty low-risk time slot, where even modest ratings would be considered a success. And also, the ‘Hannibal’ promos didn’t do the show justice, either.
3. ‘The Blacklist’ = ‘The Following’ minus the abject hatred of humanity?
Based on the trailer, sign me up for ‘The Blacklist’, which to me looks just like ‘The Following’ except it won’t make you feel terrible about yourself for watching it. Plus, James Spader’s performance is HILARIOUSLY hammy. Sold!
2. Michael J. Fox is back!
And his pilot, at least based on the trailer, looks endearingly funny! NBC has put all its eggs into ‘The Michael J. Fox Show’ basket, making an enormous financial commitment to the half hour comedy. If the trailer is any indication, the network has to be feeling pretty good about that investment. Also: THE BUNK!
1. Thursday Night
NBC’s Thursday night comedy block is one of the hallowed traditions of television, and even as ratings dwindled in recent years, it’s still been home to what are widely regarded as the best comedies on TV (‘Parks and Rec’, ‘Community’, ‘The Office’ at least prior to the last couple seasons. We won’t discuss ‘Up All Night’). But with three of those four not returning (although ‘Community’ will be back, just not at the start of the season), NBC Thursdays will have a whole new look. Familiar ‘Parks’ kicks off the evening, followed by the new Mike O’Malley family comedy ‘Welcome to the Family’. ‘Sean Saves the World,’ starring Sean Hayes as a divorced gay dad with a teenage daughter, will air at 9 PM, and the aforementioned “The Michael J. Fox Show” will anchor the night at 9:30 PM. Hour-long dramedy ‘Parenthood” will round things out at its familiar 10 PM slot.
How this mostly-new comedy night performs will go a long ways towards determining NBC’s success this Fall.