NBC to Offer Six New Series for Fall

Changes on four nights of the week

NBC will introduce six new series this fall, three sitcoms and three dramas, with changes on four nights of the week (with Tuesday, Saturday and football-populated Sunday remaining intact).  The comedies are Up All Night Night, Free Agents, and Whitney; and the dramas The Playboy Club, Prime Suspect, and Grimm.

Holiday singing competition The Sing-Off has been upgraded to the fall and positioned in the Monday 8-10 p.m. block, leading into The Playboy Club.  NBC will expand to a second night of comedies with half-hours Up All Night and Free Agents in the Wednesday 8-9 p.m. hour, leading into relocated returnee Harry’s Law, headlined by Kathy Bates, and veteran Law & Order: SVU.  Thursday’s three-hour sitcom block has been pared down to two hours, with new drama Prime Suspect at 10 p.m. out of Community, relocated Parks and Recreation, The Office and new sitcom Whitney.  And Friday will feature relocated Chuck in the 8 p.m. hour (with its final 13 episodes), leading into new drama Grimm and a one-hour edition of Dateline.

Highly anticipated musical drama Smash, headlined by Debra Messing, will debut in the Monday 10 p.m. hour in January leading out of the return of The Voice.  Also in midseason will be new drama The Firm, based on the John Grisham novel, Sundays at 10 p.m. out of Dateline and Celebrity Apprentice (from 8-10 p.m.), new drama Awake, new sitcom Are You There Vodka?  It’s Me Chelsea, and the return of critically acclaimed 30 Rock.

“We have a few priorities, including making sure The Voice is back in as strong as a format as possible, and expanding to another night of comedies,” said Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.  “If we can do both of those things that would be a real win.”

Also in contention for midseason is a newsmagazine hosted by Brian WilliamsCelebrity Apprentice, meanwhile, will live on with another person handling the boardroom should Donald Trump decide to run for President.  And there is a contingency plan in place for Sunday Night Football, should it be thwarted by a pending strike.

“We are very close to what is going on and are feeling optimistic football will be there,” said Greenblatt.  “If there is a delay we will produce high event special reality programming to fill the evening.”

While you cannot blame NBC, of course, for attempting to combine the new with established series, the inherent problems from the get-go is only 45 percent of the schedule original scripted programming, lack of anchor support on Thursday and Friday, the absence of protected time periods for half of its new product, a 0 for 7 return rate for its fall 2010 entries, and an overly cautious schedule.  Unfortunately, no one ever said rebuilding the line-up would be easy for NBC.

Not returning on the network next season will be sitcoms Outsourced and Perfect Couples, dramas The Event, Friday Night Nights, and Law & Order: Los Angeles; and game show Minute to Win It.

Here is NBC’s fall 2011 line-up (with new shows bolded in caps).

Monday

8:00 p.m. The Sing-Off (two hours)

10:00 p.m. THE PLAYBOY CLUB

Tuesday

8:00 p.m. The Biggest Loser (two hours)

10:00 p.m. Parenthood

Wednesday

8:00 p.m. UP ALL NIGHT

8:30 p.m. FREE AGENTS

9:00 p.m. Harry’s Law (new day and time)

10:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU

Thursday

8:00 p.m. Community