TV Upfronts: NBC Gives New Dramas Post-'Voice' Slot, Shifts Comedy to Friday

Neil Patrick Harris variety show 'Best Time Ever' bows Tuesdays, while 'The Blacklist' stays put to launch new series on Thursday.
Gregory Peters/NBC
"The Player"

With so many new series on the schedule this fall perhaps what's most interesting is the returning show that's staying put, The Blacklist, and the network's increased focus on a year-round schedule and live programming. 

NBC chief Bob Greenblatt announced the 2015-16 schedule on Sunday morning ahead of the May 11 presentation with advertisers and the network will again use the James Spader drama to potentially launch two new series — Heroes: Reborn at 8 p.m. and The Player (from the producers of The Blacklist) at 10 p.m. Should ABC's Shonda Rhimes' block stay intact, that will put it into direct competition. It also means that fellow freshman dramas Blindspot and Heartbreaker will get the network's post-Voice hours on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. 

See more Broadcast TV's New Shows 2015-16

The choice to launch a new drama after The Voice's one-hour Tuesday outing also means that comedies are again migrating on NBC's schedule. For the fall, only two will air, and it will be on Fridays. Undateable and newcomer People Are Talking will air back-to-back at the top of the night before Grimm and Dateline

Noteworthy absences from the fall are spinoff Chicago Med and Hot, Superstore and Bothered (previously Telenovela) with Eva Longoria. Parent series Chicago Fire won't return until November, with NBC instead using Tuesday's 10 p.m. slot for Neil Patrick Harris' variety show, Best Night Ever

“We’re attacking the new season with the same programming strategy that successfully turned NBC around — a slate of provocative and innovative series and events that cut through the clutter and will continue to build on our momentum,” said Robert Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment chairman. “We have several powerful new dramas and attention-getting new comedies, including the return of Undateable, which will be broadcast live every week next season. Live programming is one more way to make a show undeniable.”

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The network also noted that the fate of current series A.D.: The Bible Continues and American Odyssey will come at a later date, after their respective seasons have ended, though the latter seems a long shot given its especially poor ratings.

“We can’t wait for the fall season and the chance to roll out our lineup of distinctive, innovative new dramas and comedies, scheduled with the kind of lead-in support that will give each of our new shows the optimum chance to find their audiences and deliver on their outstanding potential,” added NBC Entrainment president Jennifer Salke, “The fall lineup gives you only half the story. We truly program on a 52-week basis and are putting virtually the same amount of programming muscle behind our mid-season lineup, with some of the most high-profile concepts and biggest names on television joining the schedule starting at midseason and extending throughout the remainder of the broadcast year.”

Another key element of NBC's fall block, a live musical presentation of The Wiz, is still coming together. With no cast announced for the staging, the third of its kind after The Sound of Music in 2013 and Peter Pan in 2014, the premiere date will likely come later.

See more Watch Trailers for NBC's New Series (Video)

Here's the complete schedule, new shows in all caps: 

8-10 p.m. — The Voice
10-11 p.m. — BLINDSPOT

8-9 p.m. — The Voice
9-10. p.m. — HEARTBREAKER
10-11 p.m. — BEST TIME EVER WITH NEIL PATRICK HARRIS (through November)
10-11 p.m. — Chicago Fire (premieres in November)

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. — HEROES REBORN
9-10 p.m. — The Blacklist
10-11 p.m. — THE PLAYER

8-8:30 p.m. — Undateable (live)
8:30-9 p.m. — PEOPLE ARE TALKING
9-10 p.m. — Grimm
10-11 p.m. — Dateline

8-10 p.m. — Dateline Saturday Night Mystery
10-11 p.m. — Saturday Night Live (Classic encores)

7-8:20 p.m. — Football Night in America
8:20-11 p.m. — Sunday Night Football

Keep up with all the renewals, cancellations and new series orders with THR's handy Scorecard