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The 2013-14 Upfront

NBC Picks Up 5 New Series for 2013-14

Peacock orders 3 single-camera comedies and a pair of dramas

Benjamin Stockham and David Walton in NBC’s About a Boy.

NBC has begun piling on the series orders for the 2013-14 campaign, picking up three new comedies and a pair of dramas.

Heading to NBC after the summer break are J.J. Abrams’ supernatural drama Believe (Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo) and the Dermot Mulroney-Gillian Anderson Beltway thriller Crisis. (The latter commitment may come as a bit of a disappointment for fans of Fox’s New Girl, as it suggests Mulroney won’t be reprising his role as Russell, aka the Fancyman.)

A heady stew of levitation, telekinesis and other spooky psychic phenomena, Believe is produced by Warner Bros. Television and Abrams’ Bad Robot. Crisis is from 20th Century Fox Television.

All three of NBC’s newly ordered comedies are of the single-camera variety. Formerly titled Then Came Elvis, D.J. Nash’s Family Guide stars J.K. Simmons (The Closer) as a blind alpha male whose soon-to-be-ex-wife presents him with a guide dog named after the King of Rock n’ Roll. Family Guide is executive produced by Nash (Up All Night, Guys With Kids), Jason Bateman and Jim Garavente. David Schwimmer directed the pilot.

Will & Grace alum Sean Hayes does a turn as a divorced gay man who goes overboard in his efforts to be the best possible dad to his 14-year-old daughter. Sean Saves the World is executive produced by Hayes, Victor Fresco (Go On, Mad About You) and Todd Milliner (Grimm). James Burrows (Friends, The Big Bang Theory) directed the pilot for the homegrown (Universal Television) comedy.

Also making the cut is About a Boy, an adaptation of the 1998 Nick Hornby novel/2002 Hugh Grant film of the same name. (The show originally was developed as a comedy series at Fox in advance of the 2003-04 season, with Patrick Dempsey signed on to star in the Will Freeman role.) Directed by Jon Favreau and produced by many of the people who backed the original theatrical version, About a Boy stars David Walton (Bent, New Girl) and Minnie Driver (The Riches, Good Will Hunting).

The new crop joins the previously announced Michael J. Fox comedy and renewed dramas Chicago Fire, Revolution, Grimm, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Parenthood on the fall schedule.

The confirmed orders come on the heels of word that NBC pulled the plug on seven pilots, including the Carlton Cuse comic book adaptation The Sixth Gun, the pulpy assassin thriller Bloodline and the sudsy Jerry Bruckheimer ensemble drama The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. The network on Wednesday also canceled the freshman drama Deception. UPDATE: In-house favorite Parks and Recreation (3.30 million/1.6) was renewed late this afternoon.

While NBC has yet to determine the fate of the first-year drama Hannibal and the comedies 1600 Penn, Guys With Kids, The New Normal and Go On, it’s likely that only the latter will survive to see a second season. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings, Go On is NBC’s top-rated comedy, averaging 5.67 million viewers and a 2.1 rating in the 18-49 demo. UPDATE: As expected, 1600 Penn and Guys With Kids have been canceled.

The other newbies didn’t fare nearly as well as Go On, which enjoyed a plum spot leading out of The Voice. The New Normal in its first season averaged 4.10 million viewers and a 1.6 in the dollar demo, while Guys With Kids eked out 3.89 million viewers and a 1.4 rating. The White House comedy 1600 Penn was NBC’s least effective new comedy, delivering just 2.86 million viewers and a 1.1 in the demo. 

Hannibal is also a likely candidate for cancelation, drawing 3.45 million viewers and a 1.4 rating through its first five episodes. Smash is surely a goner, as is Up All Night. UPDATE: On hiatus since mid-December, Up All Night was finally put out of its misery on Thursday evening.

Bubble series include second-year comedy Whitney and the Thursday night perennial Community, both of which averaged a 1.2 in the guaranteed demo. UPDATE: Whitney has been canceled after two seasons, making Community a strong contender for a return engagement.

Heading into the home stretch, NBC remains in third place in the ratings race, averaging a 2.4 among adults 18-49, down 4 percent from the year-ago period. CBS leads the pack with a 2.9 (down 3 percent), while Fox’s 2.5 average is down 22 percent. ABC brings up the rear with a 2.2 rating, down 8 percent.

NBC will present its entire 2013-14 prime-time schedule on May 13 at Radio City Music Hall.

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