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NBC heads into the final weeks of the 2017-18 season with the most to brag about. Its ratings are tops in every metric that matters, thanks a great deal to the stunning winter pairing of the Super Bowl and the Pyeongchang Olympics.
That’s not to say the network isn’t pleased with its current original programming. This Is Us, broadcast’s top-rated show until ABC’s Roseanne reboot surprised everyone in entertainment and advertising, actually managed to grow 12 percent in its stunning sophomore year. The Voice is aging but still dominant among hour-filling reality competitions. And the stability of Dick Wolf’s numerous Chicago-set procedurals lifts up the network’s week in a way few of its rivals’ similar offerings can manage.
Problem areas include the fact that The Voice no longer seems able to launch new dramas (see: The Brave), even though it remains an enviable lead-in. The woes of comedy are slightly more concerning. This time in 2017, NBC was planning to revive its “Must-See TV” Thursday slogan on the back of Will & Grace, but the aborted attempt to move This Is Us from Tuesdays nixed that. And while Will & Grace certainly lifted the Thursday block, also home to stable darlings Superstore and The Good Place, the revival’s Nielsen returns dropped steadily over the season — and newcomers AP Bio and Champions all fell flat (and hard). Expect even more pressure on Thursdays this coming season now that the handful of NFL games NBC previously split with CBS will air on Fox.
But all faults aside, NBC is the only network that can justifiably claim “We’re No. 1” during upfronts week, when almost everyone tries to fudge numbers to do the same. Its average 2.2 rating among adults 18-49 in primetime outpaces its nearest competition by a whopping 38 percent. Among total viewers, an average nightly audience of 9.2 million is tuning in — atop CBS for the first time in nearly two decades. CBS may still steal a victory when final tallies are scored in June, but NBC’s dominance will stand true when the network and its cable siblings take the stage at Radio City Music Hall on May 14. And, right now, that’s all that matters.
THR will update this post with all the latest series orders, renewals and cancellations as NBC’s 2018-19 schedule takes focus ahead of its upfront presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers. Keep track of all the renewals, cancellations and new show orders with THR’s scorecards for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW and with all the latest pilot pickups and passes with our handy guide. For complete coverage, bookmark THR.com/upfronts.
The Blacklist | Star James Spader still has two years remaining on his contract, with the thriller co-starring Megan Boone now officially returning for its sixth season (of 22 episodes). Sources say producers Sony Pictures Television Studios gave up another chunk of ownership on the drama from Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath and John Davis to earn the renewal. The series is now a 50-50 co-production between Sony and Universal TV.
Blindspot | The Martin Gero-created puzzle drama starring Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton moved to Fridays in its third season and continues to post impressive DVR gains, with its 0.6 in the demo improving to 1.7 with seven days of DVR. The Warner Bros. Television drama from Greg Berlanti will return for a fourth season.
Law & Order: SVU | The renewal for the Dick Wolf procedural starring Mariska Hargitay officially ties the drama with Gunsmoke for TV’s longest-running primetime live-action series. Breaking that record has been a priority for the Universal TV-based Dick Wolf since the flagship Law & Order was abruptly canceled in 2010 after its 20th season.
Chicago Fire | The Wolf-produced drama, the flagship in the Chicago franchise starring Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney and Monica Raymund continues to fare well for the network in its sixth season. It will return for season seven.
Chicago Med | The hospital-set drama is on par ratings-wise with Wolf’s other Chicago dramas. The series, starring Nick Gehlfuss, Yaya DaCosta and Torrey DeVitto, will be back for a fourth season, where it will join fellow medical drama New Amsterdam on the schedule.
Chicago PD | The Jason Beghe, Jon Seda and Jesse Lee Soffer procedural scores the best haul in the demo of all three of Wolf’s Chicago shows. In its fifth season, the drama weathered the storm of leading lady Sophia Bush’s exit as it awaits word on a sixth season. The series last year also sold in national syndication, helping increase the value of the Universal TV series.
The Good Place | The Kristen Bell and Ted Danson afterlife comedy from Mike Schur and Universal Television is returning for a third season of 13 episodes.
Midnight, Texas | Based on Charlaine Harris’ book series, the supernatural drama starring Francois Arnaud aired at the end of summer 2017 and helped bridge the network’s schedule to the fall. The Universal Television drama will be back for a second season (with new showrunners). It’s unclear if season two will again air in the summer or be held for the fall.
Superstore | The America Ferrera-Ben Feldman workplace comedy from Justin Spitzer will return after the Universal Television single-camera comedy scored an early season four renewal.
This Is Us | The time-jumping family drama will head into its third season in the fall. From 20th Century Fox Television and showrunner Dan Fogelman, the drama ensemble drama featuring Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown is in the second year of its two-season renewal.
Will and Grace | The revival featuring all four original stars was renewed for its second season (and ninth overall) before it even returned. NBC also ensured that the series will be around in 2020 as well, handing out a third season pickup earlier this year (and its 11th season overall).
Good Girls | Starring Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman and Retta, the timely drama is about three suburban mothers who wind up entangled with the mob as they risk everything to take their power back. The series launched to warm reviews and has been a stable performer following The Voice after its midseason bow. Jenna Bans serves as the showrunner on the Universal TV drama, which will return for its second season.
A.P. Bio | From Universal TV’s Lorne Michaels and Seth Meyers, the single-camera comedy stars Glenn Howerton as a philosophy scholar who loses his dream job and goes to work teaching A.P. biology at a high school. Patton Oswalt co-stars in the comedy, which is returning for a second season.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine | A day after Fox surprisingly canceled the Andy Samberg comedy, NBC swooped in to renew the Universal Television single-camera entry from Mike Schur and Dan Goor for 13-episode sixth season. Helping matters is that the comedy is produced by the network’s vertically aligned studio, with Schur (The Good Place, Abby’s) now having three comedies on NBC’s 2018-19 schedule.
The InBetween | The drama (formerly known as The Between, In Between Lives) revolves around a woman (played by Harriet Dyer) who can communicate with the dead and help them with their unsolved problems. When her longtime friend and his new partner need help solving a murder, she agrees to use her abilities as she attempts to use her skills to help solve cases while keeping her own demons at bay. Arrow‘s Paul Blackthorne co-stars in the NBCU International and Universal TV drama from Moira Kirkland and exec producer David Heyman.
Manifest | Described as Lost but told in reverse, the drama from Robert Zemeckis is described as a high-concept, emotionally rich, journey into a world grounded in hope, heart and destiny. When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible. Josh Dallas, Melissa Roxburgh and J.R. Ramirez star in the drama from writer Jeff Rake and Warner Bros. Television.
Abby’s | From The Good Place producers Mike Schur and David Miner, the comedy stars Parks and Recreation alum Natalie Morales as Abby, a woman running an unlicensed, makeshift bar in her backyard with a set of quirky rules. Neill Flynn (The Middle) co-stars in the multicamera comedy (which is filmed outside in front of a live audience) from Universal Television and writer Josh Malmuth (Superstore).
I Feel Bad | From writer Aseem Batra, the single-camera comedy exec produced by Amy Poehler is inspired by Orli Auslander’s book I Feel Bad: All Day. Every Day. About Everything. Sarayu Blue (No Tomorrow) stars as a mother, wife, friend, boss and daughter in the modern comedy about being perfectly OK with being imperfect. Batra and Poehler exec produce the single-camera comedy from Universal Television. Paul Adelstein co-stars.
The Village | Envisioned as a companion to This Is Us, the Universal Television drama is set at an apartment building in Brooklyn and revolves around its residents, who have bonded to become a family of friends and neighbors. Michaela McManus, Lorraine Toussaint and Daren Kagasoff star in the drama from Mike Daniels that has been a frontrunner for a pickup for much of pilot season.
The Enemy Within | Dexter grad Jennifer Carpenter stars in the fast-paced, spy-hunting thriller about a former CIA operative — now known as the most notorious traitor in American history and serving life in prison — and the FBI agent (Morris Chestnut) who enlists her to track down an elusive criminal. Ken Woodruff penned the script for the Universal Television drama.
New Amsterdam | The medical drama is inspired by Bellevue and Dr. Eric Manheimer’s memoir Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital. Ryan Eggold and Janet Montgomery star in the Universal Television drama from David Schulner (Emerald City).
The Gilded Age | Following a years-long development process, the period drama from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame explores the class system in 1880s New York. The 10-episode drama was picked up straight to series and will premiere in 2019.
ON THE BUBBLE/AWAITING WORD
Marlon | The multicamera comedy, loosely inspired by Marlon Wayans’ life as a loving father committed to co-parenting with his polar-opposite ex-wife, was picked up in May 2016 and bows June 14. (Meaning it’s too soon to know if the Universal TV comedy will return.)
Trial and Error | The anthological comedy about a small Southern town’s oddball legal team who takes on a different case each season returns for season two July 19 with Kristin Chenoweth replacing John Lithgow. The single-camera comedy is from Warner Bros. TV and exec producer Jeff Astrof and Matt Miller.
Champions | Created by Mindy Kaling and her Mindy Project showrunner Charlie Grandy, the single-camera comedy from Universal TV starred Anders Holm as a gym owner whose simple life is put on hold when his teenage son is dropped off on his doorstep. The comedy was canceled after one low-rated season.
Timeless | After a miraculous second-season renewal — after the Sony TV drama was canceled — the time-traveling drama starring Abigail Spencer may not be able to change its future. For his part, showrunner Eric Kripke pleaded with fans to help get the Shawn Ryan-produced drama a third season. The fan campaign did not work and the series was canceled a second time.
Rise | From Parenthood and Friday Night Lights showrunner Jason Katims, Josh Radnor stars as a high school drama teacher who attempts to galvanize the town with his passion for musicals. Rosie Perez, Auli’I Cravalho and Damon Gillespie star in the Universal Television drama that counts Hamilton‘s Jeffrey Seller as an exec producer.
Great News | The Tina Fey-produced workplace comedy starring Briga Heelan and Andrea Martin became part of the critical conversation in season two. That helps make up for 0.9 in the demo (with seven days of delayed viewing) that the Universal Television single-camera comedy from Tracey Wigfield scored in its sophomore outing. Still, that wasn’t enough to get it a third season.
The Brave | One of multiple military dramas to air this season, the Anne Heche drama was a frontrunner last pilot season and landed the prime post-Voice slot to open the fall season. The series, co-starring Mike Vogel and from Keshet International and Universal TV, wrapped its run after its initial 13-episode order was completed. It will not see a second season.
The Night Shift | The Sony Pictures Television Studios-produced medical drama was a surprise performer for NBC after becoming a surprise hit in summer 2014. Inspired by its rookie run, the network held the series for a winter bow, where it failed to cut through amid increased competition. The final two seasons aired in the summer — after NBC had shifted its focus to unscripted fare in the typically little-watched season.
Shades of Blue | The procedural, starring Jennifer Lopez as a cop who balances her detective job with being a parent, will wrap this year after three seasons. The series has been a midseason performer for NBC, with the network this season opting to hold it for a summer run. Lopez, who also exec produces the series, has a packed schedule and will next star in NBC’s twice-delayed live musical Bye Bye Birdie and judge the network’s unscripted series World of Dance.
Taken | The reboot of the Liam Neeson film starring Clive Standen and Jennifer Beals got the hook midway through its second run. The prequel series — which featured a new showrunner for season two — returned in January to less than 3 million total viewers and a 0.5 in the adults 18-49 demographic. The remaining episodes will be taken to Saturdays after the May sweep.
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