NBC Moves Its Three Chicago Dramas to Wednesday, While SVU Shifts to Thursday

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, rescued from Fox, will be held for midseason

Chicago Fire will anchor NBC's new Wednesday night all-Chicago block. Elizabeth Morris/NBC
Headshot of Jason Lynch

After several years of sprinkling its Chicago dramas throughout its schedule, NBC will have the Dick Wolf-produced shows join forces on Wednesdays this fall, creating an all-Chicago lineup.

In other highlights of NBC’s 2018-19 schedule, which the network announced this morning, Wolf’s other long-running drama, Law & Order: SVU, will shift to Thursday nights, airing after NBC’s comedy block.

And Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which NBC picked up late Friday night, just one day after Fox canceled it, will be held for midseason.

NBC’s fall lineup will include three new series, and the network will use its three biggest shows to launch them: The Voice, This Is Us and Will & Grace.

After wining the season in the 18-49 demographic for the second straight year, on the strength of its Super Bowl and Winter Olympics one-two punch in February, “we’re not resting on our laurels,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told reporters of the new schedule. “We’re being very aggressive about the whole year.”

Mondays will feature the return of The Voice, with Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson joining Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as coaches in the show’s fall cycle. That will lead into new drama Manifest, about the passengers of a flight who discover that the world has moved forward five years during their few hours in the air. Robert Zemeckis directed the pilot.

The Voice and This Is Us will stay put on Tuesdays, leading in to new medical drama New Amsterdam. Inspired by Bellevue, America’s oldest public hospital, the series stars Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist) as the hospital’s newest doctor who tries to shake things up. “It was one of those pilots that knocked us over,” said Greenblatt.

NBC is setting up its all-Chicago night on Wednesdays, with Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. “We flirted with doing this in the past, and didn’t for various reasons,” said Greenblatt. “We looked at the landscape and thought, let’s try this together.”

The first three comedies on Thursday remain the same as last fall: Superstore, The Good Place and Will & Grace. They will be followed at 9:30 by new series I Feel Bad, executive produced by Amy Poehler, about a woman (Sarayu Blue) juggling work and home life.

The night will end with Law & Order: SVU, which will move to a new day and later time slot. After moving the Chicago series to Wednesday nights, “we loved the idea of Law & Order back at 10 o’clock,” which could give a boost the local news ratings of NBC affiliates, Greenblatt said.

For the first time in three years, NBC won’t be airing any Thursday Night Football games this fall. The network was outbid by Fox, which landed the package for the next five years.

“We’re being very aggressive about the whole year.”
Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment

Friday night will kick off with Blindspot, followed by the second season of supernatural drama Mystery, Texas (which debuted last summer) and Dateline NBC.

Its weekend schedule remains unchanged, with repeats on Saturday and Sunday Night Football on Sunday night.

Midseason plans

Despite the focus on the new fall shows, the network’s winter, spring and summer seasons “are as important to us as anything,” said Greenblatt. “I’m really thrilled by what we’ve put together” for midseason, particularly the lineup of unscripted shows that will air early next year.

Mondays in January will include a winter edition of America’s Got Talent. Titled America’s Got Talent: The Champions, it will feature the most talent and memorable acts from all the global versions of Got Talent, with executive producer Simon Cowell on the judging panel. “Our biggest reality show deployed for us in the winter is a great move,” said Greenblatt, who said that the third season of World of Dance, featuring Jennifer Lopez, will air on Sundays beginning in January.

Tuesday will see the return of Ellen’s Games of Games, and Wednesdays will feature a new competition series executive produced by Dwayne Johnson, The Titan Games. “It’s another big shot in the arm for us,” said Greenblatt.

New dramas that NBC will hold for midseason include The Enemy Within, which stars Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) as an imprisoned CIA-op-turned-traitor who teams up with an FBI agent (Morris Chestnut) to try and take down another criminal. The Village is about the residents of a Brooklyn apartment building whose lives are intertwined. And The InBetween focuses on a woman (Harriet Dyer) who can see and talk with the dead, and works with two detectives to solve crimes.

On the comedy side, NBC will air Abby’s, which stars Natalie Morales as a woman who operates a bar out of her San Diego backyard.

Also coming midseason will be Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which “we jumped on really quickly” after Fox canceled it, said Greenblatt. “We think it fits into our brand of comedy in many ways better than it ever fit into the Fox brand of comedy.”

Greenblatt said he’s not just looking at the Brooklyn pickup as a chance to give the series, which is produced in-house by Universal Television and ran for five seasons on Fox, a proper send-off. “We’d love to see it continue” beyond this season if ratings are strong, he said. “We want to see what our audience will do with it.”

He noted that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of the few comedies in recent years with a robust international and syndication audience, which also gives the company incentive to keep it going.

The Blacklist, which is entering Season 6 and was just renewed on Saturday, will also be held for midseason, returning in January at 9 p.m. on Fridays.

Greenblatt said the network still hasn’t decided whether it will bring back drama Timeless and comedy Champions for next year.

The network announced next season’s schedule a day before Monday’s NBCUniversal combined upfront.


(New programs in ALL CAPS)

8-10 p.m. — The Voice
10-11 p.m. — MANIFEST

8-9 p.m. — The Voice
9-10 p.m. — This Is Us
10-11 p.m. — NEW AMSTERDAM

8-9 p.m. — Chicago Med (new time slot)
9-10 p.m. — Chicago Fire (new time slot)
10-11 p.m. — Chicago P.D.

8-8:30 p.m. — Superstore
8:30-9 p.m. — The Good Place
9-9:30 p.m. — Will & Grace
9:30-10 p.m. — I FEEL BAD
10-11 p.m. — Law & Order: SVU (new time slot)

8-9 p.m. — Blindspot
9-10 p.m. — Midnight, Texas (new time slot)
10-11 p.m. — Dateline

8-10 p.m. — Dateline Saturday Night Mystery
10-11 p.m. — Saturday Night Live (classic encores)

7-8:20 p.m. — Football Night in America
8:20-11 p.m. — Sunday Night Football


ABBY’S, A.P. Bio, The Blacklist, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, Ellen’s Game of Games, THE ENEMY WITHIN, Good Girls, THE INBETWEEN, THE VILLAGE, The Wall

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.