NBC Upfronts

The Predicted 2011-2012 NBC Fall Schedule

[This page will be constantly updated until Sunday; upon new updates on renews and cancellations]

NBC

Current Ranking: 4th among major networks

NBC is in the toughest position, being in last place for the last…decade it seems. Since Friends ended its run back in 2004, NBC hasn’t been able to get back on track. Through Silverman, Zuker, and Gaspin, NBC went through its worst ratings in its history. With Comcast taking its first crack at programming, this will be NBC’s most important upfronts yet.

Total Timeslots Available: 42

The 42 slots are 30-minute slots from Sunday through Saturday, 8pm until 11pm. 11pm provides local programming until 11:35, when the Late Night shows are broadcast.

Current Show Situation:

Monday

8pm: Chuck-It was confirmed earlier this week that Chuck will be renewed for a 5th season, which is very interesting considering that many shows before it was never renewed for more than 4 seasons (My Name is Earl; Deal or No Deal; etc.) They MUST be getting a ton of money from Subway if NBC believes this show should continue on. However, the real question is whether Chuck returns to the same time slot. [Update: NBC confirms this will be the last renewal of Chuck, making the next season its last].

9pm: The Event-It started out okay, but it seems to be losing viewers with every episode, slowing down around 4 million viewers (from the pilot 10 million). This puts The Event in a worst situation than its previous timeslot owner, Heroes, in its first season.  The show is expensive, and it doesn’t seem that the audience will be too thrilled to return for a second season. With that, The Event will will be over, leaving this slot open [Update: The Event has been confirmed cancelled by NBC].

10pm: Chase-Not confirmed to be cancelled; but it should be come Monday. So this time slot will be wide open. The Event, possibly? New dramas? Jay Leno, Part II? If it’s renewed, it either has been retooled completely or NBC really doens’t know what it’s doing.

Mid-season Replacement 1 (9pm): The Cape-Already confirmed to be cancelled.

Mid-season Replacement 2 (10pm): Harry’s Law-Somewhat doing well ratings wise, averaging 9 million viewers, should put Harry’s Law in the clear for season 2 [Update: Harry’s Law confirmed to be renewed]. However, with its preceding Monday shows not as fine as NBC hoped, will Harry’s Law be moved from this timeslot? Despite success here, my guess is that it’ll be moved.

Tuesday

8pm: The Biggest Loser-One of the NBC’s highest rating shows, it starting to get old. NBC has reshaped this series many times to keep people interested. But now, desperation (obvious product placement…see the XBOX Kinect show?) is now showing. How much longer can TBL continue? Nevertheless, I have it returning to this time slot next season.

10pm: Parenthood-Sub-decent ratings wouldn’t help Parenthood’s chances; however, this is NBC. Parenthood will most likely get the nod for another season, but chances are they might not keep this timeslot [Update: Parenthood confirmed to be renewed]. TBL is a great enough show to precede Parenthood, and it has a sub-decent carryover (e.g. 7.4 million to 5.2 million). Parenthood should be a solid for renewal.

Mid-Season Replacements (9/10pm): The Voice-Is this even a question? NBC loves this show almost as much as it loved Heroes in season one. Great strategy putting it on Tuesday, and keep it there.

Wednesday

8pm: Undercovers-Already confirmed for cancelled.

9pm: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit-Is there really any doubt that it won’t come back. I would call foul if they cancelled the show. However, with the cancellation of Law and Order: Los Angeles, please move it back up to 10pm. It historically does better.

10pm: Law & Order: Los Angeles-Rumors say that LOLA has been cancelled, and I don’t see why not. NBC gave it a go, LOLA didn’t do well, got put on hiatus, was fixed up, given another go, and it still hasn’t gone well. Third times the charm? I think NBC will cut its heavy losses with this show, opening up this time slot. [Update: LOLA has been cancelled by NBC].

Mid-Season Replacement 1 (8pm): Minute to Win It-The show has done decently enough for a return for season two. Plus, I see it more of a summer show, especially since it did well preceding America’s Got Talent. But I have no problem putting this in the fall schedule.

Mid-Season Replacement 2 (8pm): The Sing-Off-It’s already been confirmed for a third season, and will probably return during the winter, probably as a filler for a show going on a break or a hiatus. The show only lasts a couple shows, so it will be treated as a replacement again.

Thursday

8pm: Community-Renewed for next season, I’d be surprised if it moves from this slot.

8:30pm: 30 Rock-Renewed for next season, I’d be less surprised if it moved from this slot, but the show’s ratings were better when the show was at 8:30, not 10pm.

9pm: The Office-Renewed for next season, it may have been the greatest mistake NBC made this year. However, I digress (and could be proven wrong). It’s most likely to stay here, but who knows what new show could follow this, because it won’t be…

9:30pm: Outsourced-This show is more going out than it is coming back. Outsourced has been “outwatched” more than its other comedy friends, and hasn’t really found its footing yet because of the time change (indirectly because of Love Bites not being ready for production). Though it may not be entirely its own doing, I don’t see the benefit of this show coming back. NBC will probably have new sitcoms that may do better (By the way, no laugh track/studio audience comedies for NBC this year? Has anyone else noticed that?). [Update: Outsource confirmed to be cancelled]

10:00pm: The Apprentice-With decent numbers for Celebrity Apprentice and NO interest in the original apprentice format, I would be a little surprised if The Apprentice was cancelled permanently. However, this decision may be decided politically. If it is cancelled, look for people to link that back to Trump’s attempt to run for president. Don’t read too much into it, but the media would have a frenzy. Otherwise, I see it coming back, celebrity-style.

Mid-season Replacement 1 (8:30): Perfect Couples-There has been confusion as to whether this show has been cancelled or just replaced for the year. Look at its ratings. There’s no way it’s coming back.

Mid-season Replacement 2 (8:30): The Paul Reiser Show-Already confirmed to be cancelled

Mid-season Replacement 3 (9:30): Parks and Recreations-Already renewed by NBC for next season, and it has grown from its previous season (thanks to Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, perhaps). Now, don’t make it replace again. It deserves to be a starter.

Friday

8:00pm: Dateline NBC-Please…this ain’t getting cancelled.

10:00pm: Outlaw-Cancelled before it could finish its run

Mid-Season Replacement 1 (8:00): School Pride-Cancelled almost immediately after premiere…also the worst day to put a show about school. After school on a FRIDAY, the last thing people want to watch about is school pride. Good thing the song (Friday) wasn’t out when this show premiered. They might have found their theme song.

Mid-Season Replacement 2 (8:00): Who Do You Think You Are?-Renewed for a third season, the show is a feel-good show that gets alright ratings. I mean, it’s Friday…no one watches TV on Friday. You wanna talk about “Vast Wasteland”?

Mid-Season Replacement 3 (8:00): Friday Night Lights-This was the fifth and final season, so we don’t have to worry about this show. Most underrated, under-appreciated series on television. Too bad for NBC.

Saturday

8-11pm: Repeats-Used for encore presentations. They need to utilize this more for the rookie shows, preceding it with something good.

11:35pm: Saturday Night Live-Unless something has happened to Lorne Michaels, NBC ain’t cancelling SNL.

Sunday

8-11pm: NBC Sunday Night Football-Curious what will happen if the NFL locksout. The saddest part of this story isn’t the missed 17 games for football. The saddest part is that the Super Bowl’s on NBC this year. So…much…lost…money. But at least they get the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Mid-Season Replacements: America’s Next Great Restaurant-No verdict on this show, I feel that they won’t renew it…just because it wasn’t great; a following wasn’t there. But, I mean, again, it is NBC. I could be wrong.

Pilot Shows Available:

Drama Comedy
Wonder Women Parham/St.Claire Project
17th Precinct Kari Lizer Project
Grimm Free Agents
Prime Suspect Dan Goor Project
Mann’s World Lovelives
Smash I Hate That I Love You
Playboy Brave New World
Awake Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea
Metro My Life as an Experiment
The Crossing Bent
Whitney
Up All Night

Schedule Predictions:

Monday:

8pm-Chuck

9pm-Awake

10pm-Prime Suspect

Monday will kick-off with Chuck (as it has the last four season), and will be followed by Awake, the rookie drama pilot about a man who lives in two different realities: one where his son survives, another where his wife survives a crash that in reality killed them both (Awake has been dubbed the “Inception” for TV). This will be followed by the 10pm hour of Prime Suspect, a remake of a British TV series of the same name. I felt that Awake fit into the out-of-this-world timeslot that once held similar shows (Heroes, The Event, Persons Unknown). Though they all didn’t do so hot, Heroes originally did-so hopefully they can repeat here. With all the 10pm slots, I had difficulty finding a show that fit that slot after 9pm shows. However, I feel that Awake would be a good transition (perhaps the best transition) into Prime Suspect, about a cop women in a man’s “world”. Prime Subject will fight for Castle viewers (as that plot seems to be going…not nowhere, but not somewhere). However, Prime was better for the slot than Awake would be. I considered Playboy for the 10pm slot, but since I have Parenthood being a mid-season replacement for that timeslot, I would find it weird to have Parenthood take over Playboy. NBC has to be careful about scheduling the “Mad Men meets bunnies”.

Tuesday:

8pm: Whitney

8:30pm: Kari Lizer Project

9pm: The Biggest Loser (TBL)

There are way, way too many comedies to put on Thursday, so NBC will have to compete against NCIS (#1 scripted TV show) and Glee with its left-over freshmen comedies. But, upside: Most likely no comedy shows will be on that block. Out of all the timeslots, I see this one potentially working out for NBC. Also, TBL gets to keep its day, just one hour later. They have had shows at this timeslot too, and the ratings don’t change too dramatically. I’d rather have TBL lead into the new shows; however, I don’t like sitcoms at the 10pm slot. I have The Voice (potentially NBC’s biggest show besides America’s Got Talent…if they don’t screw it up) and The Sing-Off as Mid-season replacements. Upon new announcements of shows, I’ll put up more.

Wednesday:

8pm: Harry’s Law

9pm: Law & Order: SVU

10pm: Metro

This night could be a big night (or a bigger night than usual) for NBC. With comedies (ABC) and singing (FOX), NBC can compete with giving cop shows. We start with sophomore series Harry’s Law, which did well/decent in its freshmen attempt. This will have Law and Order: SVU as a hammock for both the preceding and following shows. After SVU, freshmen pilot Metro should premiere, a show about crime, cops, and politics all revolted around the world of law enforcement. However, once American Idol comes on, its time to switch it up with Mid-Season Replacement Steven Spielberg’s Smash, a Glee-like show for adults at the 8pm slot. Also, Minute to Win It returns at a timeslot for an hiatus, whether its for SVU, Harry’s, or Metro.

Thursday:

8pm: Community

8:30pm: 30 Rock

9pm: The Office

9:30: Up All Night

10pm: Playboy

I really…really didn’t want to put Playboy here, but it’s the only place it would fit. I considered switching this around, putting The Office first, then Community, followed by 30 Rock. However, the  issue is that if The Office tanks, the rest of the night sinks with it. Plus, I don’t trust 30 Rock as a great lead-in for a comedy show. Up All Night is a rookie show I trust to start in the fall, and has Will Arnett and Christina Applegate’s view on parenting (and the comedy that comes with it). This sets up the show called Playboy, which is set in the 1960s in Chicago looking at the lives of Playboy bunnies, its format comparable to Mad Men as some sources state. I put it on NBC’s most respected series spot on its schedule: Thursdays at 10pm (Hill Street Blues, LA Law, ER). If its being compared to Mad Men, put your money where you mouth is: put it on the historically best spot on TV. However, no matter how many great reviews it’ll get and high ratings it may receive, how many advertisers would associate itself with the series? With that, I have mid-season replacements with renewed the Parks and Recreations, along with rookie series Are You There Vodka, My Life as an Experiment, and Free Agents. Of course, changes will be made depending on news before Monday.

[Update: Are You There Vodka, Free Agents, Bent, and BFF were all confirmed to be picked up by NBC. Not good news for any other comedy pilots; especially my Up All Night predict…].

Friday:

8pm: Who Do You Think You Are?

9pm: Grimm

10pm: Dateline NBC

I want Grimm/17th Precinct (Mid-Season Replacement)  to compete directly with Fringe (FOX); but otherwise, not much to do on a dead Friday night.

Saturday:

All repeats. Saturday Night Live will return. Or else.

Sunday: NFL Football will hopefully be back. However, I have The Apprentice ready for its 10pm slot. I also have extra spots for from 8-10pm slots for mid-season replacements, or other repeats in cause the NFL Lockout continues. But let’s pray for NBC that it doesn’t happen.

Conclusion:

These aren’t the best pilots. They are all very average, with a couple promising (Awake, Up All Night), a couple so-so (Metro, Whitney, Smash), and some ready to crash upon impact (Are You There Vodka, 17th Precinct, Grimm). However, The Voice, Office, 30 Rock, Awake, America’s Got Talent, and Smash will bring NBC at least close to 3rd Place ABC. But no clear predictions until NBC makes its announcement on Monday.

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