12:14pm PT by Mikey O'Connell
NBC Sets Post-Super Bowl Schedule, Brings 'Night Shift' and 'Undateable' Back Early
NBC has firmed up plans for the midseason with the addition of five new series and two sleepers from last summer getting earlier return dates. The network starts rolling out its new lineup after its Feb. 1 Super Bowl telecast, which will help usher The Blacklist into its new Thursday 9 p.m. time slot on Feb. 5.
That night will also help launch drama Allegiance in the 10 p.m. time slot, with Parenthood shuffling off with its series finale prior to that date. Another new project, mini The Slap will bow on Thursdays, at 8 p.m., the following week (Feb. 12). Based on an Australian series, it stars Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman, Thandie Newton and Zachary Quinto.
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's big Bible follow-up, A.D., gets an appropriate Easter launchpad on April 5 at 9 p.m. And, from the files of unlikely pairings, Anna Friel starrer Odyssey will share the night. The espionage drama kicks off the same day at 10 p.m.
“The Super Bowl gives us a great opportunity on a promotional level to reset the table for midseason," said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt. "The Blacklist, which will premiere with a new episode on Super Bowl Sunday and then move to Thursday nights later that week, is a big priority. That will give us the chance to create a first-class night of drama with the addition of both Allegiance at 10 p.m. and our 8 p.m. event series The Slap, which has an incredible cast and is a terrific way to start the night. We also think very highly of two extraordinary dramas set to launch on Easter Sunday, both of which are events in their own right: A.D. and Odyssey.”
What little room there is for comedy on NBC's schedule is sticking to Tuesdays. The 9 p.m. hour, currently shared by Marry Me and About a Boy, will go to Undateable and One Big Happy on Mar. 17. (Per an NBC release, unaired episodes of Marry Me and About a Boy will return later in the season.)
It should be noted that all of these moves mark the official end of NBC's "Must See" Thursday comedy block, which had been abbreviated to just the 9 p.m. hour this past fall with the unsuccessful launches of Bad Judge and A to Z — both of which have since been canceled.
“On the comedy front, we have two strong multi-cam series with blue-chip producers that we are going to put behind The Voice on Tuesdays in March — Bill Lawrence's Undateable, which was a nice success for us, and Ellen DeGeneres’ One Big Happy," added NBC president Jennifer Salke.
That leaves summer hit Night Shift, which is also migrating from its previous roost. It will take over State of Affairs' 10 p.m. Monday slot on Feb. 23. The Katherine Heigl drama wraps its 13-episode freshman season the week prior.