UPDATE: With the news that NBC has picked up three more dramas — “Awake,” “Playboy” and “Grimm” — we’ve made a couple revisions to the schedule below.
NBC has a lot of holes to plug on its schedule for next season. Yet we’re only forecasting five new series in the lineup for next fall.
That could turn out to be not such a bad thing for the network. A radical reworking of the schedule and, say, eight or nine new shows would seriously dilute the marketing resources the network has. And once you count the guaranteed returns of “The Biggest Loser” and four Thursday comedies, plus the near-certain renewal for “Law & Order: SVU,” the reported final run for “Chuck” and a fairly likely “Parenthood” pickup, there’s less available real estate than you think.
We still think a second season of “The Voice” is more likely for midseason, which is why it’s not included below. As we see the fall schedule, the network would have at least one new show every night from Monday to Thursday, and a couple veteran shows would move to different timeslots. But frankly, there’s more guesswork involved here than in our predictions for ABC, CBS and FOX.
We’ll find out for sure from NBC head Bob Greenblatt on Sunday (May 15), but here’s how we see it (all times Eastern/Pacific, new shows in italics).
9:00 “Awake” (formerly “REM”)
If “Chuck” is in fact getting a 13-episode final season, there’s little need to move it out of its long-time home. “Awake,” from “Lone Star” creator Kyle Killen, has a really intriguing premise — it’s about a cop who finds himself living two parallel lives — and could be something “Chuck” fans stick around to watch (although NBC would certainly like a lot more people to join in as well). “Parenthood” slides to Monday night to accommodate the changes on Tuesday.
8:00 “Up All Night”
9:00 “The Biggest Loser”
This seems like the safest place to try a couple of female-centric new comedies — yes, they would air opposite “NCIS” and “Glee,” but that’s probably a better alternative than “The X Factor,” “Survivor” and ABC’s comedies on Wednesday. We have “Up All Night” (starring Christina Applegate) and “Whitney” (with comedian Whitney Cummings) at 8 because the 10 p.m. comedy experiments on NBC and ABC haven’t worked all that well this year.
8:00 “Minute to Win It”
9:00 “Law & Order: SVU”
10:00 “Prime Suspect”
We don’t see NBC trying to launch new shows at 8 (see above), but a 10 o’clock hour that could potentially have new shows from all three networks seems like a good home for “Prime Suspect.” We just hope the adaptation can do justice to the brilliant source material.
8:30 “30 Rock”
9:00 “The Office”
9:30 “Parks and Recreation”
As we said above, the full-night-of-comedy experiment didn’t yield especially good results this season, so we envision “30 Rock” going back to the 8:30 spot it occupied last fall. “Smash,” about the backstage drama involved in mounting a Broadway musical, tries to reclaim the prestige-drama magic NBC had in this slot for so many years.
9:00 “Harry’s Law”
10:00 “Law & Order: LA”
If NBC does decide to try something new on Wednesday, “Grimm,” a cop show with a supernatural bent, could be it — but we kind of see it going here. We’re taking a flier on “Law & Order: LA,” whose prospects for renewal rest more on the fact that it has “Law & Order” in the title than ratings. Otherwise we could easily see “Dateline” leading into “Harry’s Law” at 10.
No change – drama repeats.
7:00 “Football Night in America”
8:00 “Sunday Night Football”
God help NBC if the NFL lockout delays the season by more than a week or two.
Other contenders: “Playboy”
has its fans has earned a pickup at NBC, but the period drama might be better served by a midseason premiere when the network can be a little more focused with its marketing. Ditto for the ambitious, “Traffic”-esque “Metro.” “Wonder Woman” looks fairly unlikely at this point — though we also wouldn’t be overly surprised to see it on the schedule. It’s usually a good thing to have comedies in reserve too, and “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” and “Bent” sound like the best bets.
How big a makeover do you see NBC getting for next season?