9:30am PT by Michael O'Connell
NBC Fall Schedule: Thursday Comedy Block Disappears, 'Blacklist' Moves, Final Seasons Confirmed
As NBC's first season atop the Big Four in a decade nears an end, the network was the first to announce its upcoming fall schedule on Sunday morning. The broadcaster, which officially debuts its new programming lineup for media buyers during the May 12 upfront presentation, has six new series premiering at the start of the 2014-15 season -- and a few returning ones confirmed for their final runs.
Among the biggest moves: NBC is bailing on Thursday's long-running "Must See" block of four comedies. The unsurprising shift puts The Biggest Loser at the top of the night, with new comedies Bad Judge and A to Z airing at 9 p.m. before The Blacklist moves into that slot in February. As for The Blacklist, the biggest hit of the new season, across all networks, will premiere on Monday's choice post-Voice slot through November when it goes on hiatus and Katherine Heigl drama State of Affairs gets the enviable launchpad. The Blacklist has also been tapped for the coveted post-Super Bowl slot when NBC airs the big game in 2015.
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"Reinvigorating Thursday was a top priority, made possible by moving The Blacklist there in the 9 p.m. timeslot after exposing it to the audience watching the Super Bowl," said NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. "The multipronged strategy behind moving The Blacklist, which has shown enormous linear ratings and record time-shifting, is to not only enliven our Thursday night lineup but also create two desirable timeslots -- lead-outs from The Voice and The Blacklist."
Thursday has been the biggest issue for NBC for some time. Throughout the network's Voice-led renaissance, Thursday has continued to suffer -- ranking fourth and hitting outrageous lows at several points during the last fall. (Special The Sound of Music Live! being one very obvious exception.)
The post-Blacklist spot will go to spy thriller Allegiance when Parenthood signs off at the conclusion of its sixth, final and clearly abbreviated season. The network confirmed expected final seasons for both Parenthood and Parks and Recreation -- though the latter is not yet on the schedule and being held for midseason.
“Comedy is very important to this network, which is why we are launching new series on Tuesdays following The Voice and on Thursdays in the fall as CBS frees up some of the comedy audience when it turns to NFL football," said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. "Furthermore, we have several of our strongest comedies by some of our best auspices being held for midseason, including the final season of Parks and Recreation, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the Ellen DeGeneres-produced One Big Happy, and Mission Control from Will Farrell and Adam McKay. We also have the previously announced Mr. Robinson, starring Craig Robinson." (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was originally planned for fall when it received a 13-episode series order in October.)
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The other two comedies getting fall launches are recent success About a Boy, moving to the 9:30 p.m. Tuesday time slot, and David Caspe’s Marry Me. The latter, starring Casey Wilson and Ken Marino, gets the big vote of confidence in the post-Voice 9 p.m. slot that worked so well for About a Boy this year.
Some key aspects of midseason are also already clear. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's Bible follow-up, which NBC scored the rights to in 2013, will get its miniseries launch on Easter Sunday. In addition to A.D., midseason will also welcome previously announced Emerald City (Wizard of Oz event series), Aquarius (David Duchovny's Charles Manson drama) and Heroes Reborn -- a revival of NBC's once popular drama.
Sunday, of course, still belongs to Sunday Night Football through December, and two other nights that aren't changing much at all are Wednesdays and Fridays. Debra Messing starrer The Mysteries of Laura moves into Revolution's old Wednesday slot, partnered with unmoved Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D. Friday also remains very genre focused. Grimm stays on at 9 p.m., leading into comic book fare Constantine at 10 p.m.
NBC's Complete Fall 2014-15 Schedule
8-10 p.m. -- The Voice
10-11 p.m. -- The Blacklist / State of Affairs (beginning Nov. 17)
8-9 p.m. -- The Voice
9-9:30 p.m. -- Marry Me
9:30-10 p.m. -- About a Boy
10-11 p.m. -- Chicago Fire
8-9 p.m. -- The Mysteries of Laura
9-10 p.m. -- Law & Order: SVU
10-11 p.m. -- Chicago P.D.
8-9 p.m. -- The Biggest Loser
9-9:30 p.m. --Bad Judge (The Blacklist beginning Feb. 5)
9:30-10 p.m. -- A to Z
10-11 p.m. -- Parenthood
8-9 p.m. -- Dateline NBC
9-10 p.m. -- Grimm
10-11 p.m. -- Constantine
8-11 p.m. -- Encore programming
7-8:20 p.m. -- Football Night in America
8:20-11:30 p.m. -- NBC Sunday Night Football