Fall Preview: NBC

Last year was a startlingly successful year for the peacock – the network somehow inexplicably ended up number one in demo and pulled off the coup of all holiday coups getting 20 million viewers to see it’s holiday musical special of The Sound of Music. While the schedule itself didn’t change much, we do see some shakeups in even NBC’s lineup, a little interesting for network that’s trying to build off last years success.

Sundays for NBC in the fall are way simpler than any other network: it’s football, football, and more football. NBC’s Sunday Night Football starts with a Thursday debut on September 4th with the Seahawks and Packers facing off leading into their time slot debut on the 7th with the Colts and Broncos.

Mondays also remain completely unchanged for NBC from last year with both The Voice and The Blacklist returning back to back on Mondays starting September 22nd. The voice sees yet another judging rotation, with Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams joining the show’s central Adam Levine and Blake Shelton bromance. NBC further protects The Blacklist, by running State of Affairs (11/17) between the seasons of The Voice. This combination was one of the key planks of the peacock’s schedule last year and they wisely want to to keep the same foundation this year after seeing Revolution and Go On both die horrible deaths after being separated from The Voice.

Tuesdays kick off with the second day of The Voice, which along with Fox’s Utopia function as the only multi day shows on the air this fall. The 9pm hour is filled with comedy, with the debuting Marry Me, and returning About A Boy (both premiere on 10/14). Rounding out the night is the returning Chicago Fire (9/23), which has held down that Tuesday at 10 slot over the last three years.

Wednesdays remain crime night at NBC, (probably due to the relative lack of crime dramas on the other networks that night), and we see the returning Dick Wolf double header of Law and Order: SVU, and Chicago PD. Opening up the night, however, is the debuting The Mysteries of Laura starring Debra Messing as a detective who also has to deal with twin boys and a divorce. All of the Wednesday series begin on 9/24.

We do start to see some structural changes on thursdays for the peacock as the thirty year vaunted Must See TV comedy block is officially dead, with Parks and Recreation finishing out and Community kicked to the Yahoo! Screen curb. NBC’s plan for Thursdays this fall actually looks suspiciously like it’s Tuesdays. Moving into the 8 o’clock hour? The Biggest Loser (debuting 9/11). NBC’s favorite drama, Parenthood, then returns to schedule on Septmeber 25th, occupying out the 10pm hour. We do still get a 9pm comedy hour that is built with 2 new shows: Bad Judge,starring Kate Walsh and whose premise I shouldn’t need to spell out, and A to Z, a romantic comedy starring Cristin Miloti (best known as the eventual mother of How I Met Your Mother).

Fridays bring the return of NBC’s horror block. With Dracula kicked to the curb, and the always amazing Hannibal taking a snooze til mid-season, we get the returning Grimm at 9, followed up by Constantine at 10, making for a stellar year for DC’s licensing (this, the Batman universe for Gotham, and The Flash were all picked up this year). Both return just in time for Halloween on 10/24, reflecting a similar strategy to what NBC did last year. Dateline rounds out the night at 8. Saturdays are typically a non factor for the peacock outside of SNL, so expect the usual mix of reruns and top flight Notre Dame football games in the primetime hours.

Tomorrow we finish up our Fall Preview 2014 with a look at the CW and some returns to the cable landscape!