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NBC hopes you find its schedule funny

The network's fall schedule includes four nights of comedy, sci-fi drama 'Revolution' from J.J. Abrams, drama 'Chicago Fire' from Dick Wolf and Season 3 of 'The Voice.'

May 14, 2012|By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times
  • Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment.
Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. (Chris Haston, NBC )

NBC evidently believes laughter is the best medicine: The struggling network will have a strong dose of comedy on four nights in its fall lineup plus the Season 3 return of"The Voice."

Keeping its Thursday sitcom block essentially intact with existing series, NBC will push the low-rated comedies"Community"and"Whitney"to Fridays and open up Tuesdays and Wednesdays for new sitcoms such as "Go On," "Animal Practice" and "Guys With Kids."

Nearly one-quarter of NBC's fall prime-time schedule will consist of sitcoms; last fall, the figure was just 14%.

Also on the schedule: the Monday one-hour series "Revolution," the new sci-fi drama from producer J.J. Abrams, and, for Wednesday, "Chicago Fire," from "Law & Order" mastermind Dick Wolf.

"I'm determined to build momentum from night to night, something that's eluded us in recent years," Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said in a conference call with reporters Sunday.

Greenblatt disputed the notion that NBC — which has had little to brag about this season besides NFL games and "The Voice" — was betting too much on new comedy.

"Audiences have been very receptive to comedy and light fantasy drama the past couple of seasons," he said in a separate phone interview.

However, NBC has no comedies currently on the schedule that could be considered strong enough to help launch sitcoms. Its highest-rated sitcom among young adults,"The Office,"is rapidly fading and is nowhere near the Top 20.

As expected, NBC confirmed that the singing contest "The Voice" will open in fall for the first time, on Mondays and Tuesdays, setting up a likely confrontation with Simon Cowell's"The X Factor" on Fox.

After a gigantic Season 2 opening following the Super Bowl this year, "The Voice" sagged in the ratings, and it is unclear how the show will perform in a more traditional — and much more competitive — fall launch.

In choosing the comedies, NBC executives seemed to be shooting for shows with broad appeal to educated, upwardly mobile young adults — the same group the network targeted during its glory days of the 1990s, with smash hits such as"Friends"and "Seinfeld."

"Guys With Kids" is about thirtysomething men struggling with fatherhood. "The New Normal," co-created by Ryan Murphy of "Glee" fame, is about a gay couple and the female surrogate who helped them have a child. "Animal Practice" is about the love life of a young veterinarian. And "Go On" finds former "Friends" star Matthew Perry as a sportscaster.

"We've got a lineup of new shows that will really get people to sit up and take notice," Greenblatt said.

The new dramas "Do No Harm," "Infamous" and "Hannibal" will be held for midseason.

The network will also bring back the Broadway-themed "Smash,"its most-watched drama, for a spring re-launch with a new executive producer. Other existing series being held for midseason include Donald Trump's "The Celebrity Apprentice" and the weight-loss contest "The Biggest Loser."

Despite low ratings, the newsmagazine "Rock Center With Brian Williams" will return in the fall, now in the plum time slot of 10 p.m. Thursday — a spot once occupied by the hit drama "ER."

Among the shows not making the cut is"Harry's Law,"which executives said drew a "very old" audience that advertisers did not like. Another victim is"Awake,"a critically acclaimed drama that never managed to find an audience.

Greenblatt will officially present the schedule to advertisers Monday in New York.

NBC

Here's the entire schedule (* denotes new series). All times are p.m.:

MONDAY

8 — "The Voice"

10 — "Revolution" *

TUESDAY

8 — "The Voice"

9 — "Go On" *

9:30 — "The New Normal" *

10 — "Parenthood"

WEDNESDAY

8 — "Animal Practice" *

8:30 — "Guys With Kids" *

9 — "Law & Order: SVU"

10 — "Chicago Fire" *

THURSDAY

8 —"30 Rock"

8:30 —"Up All Night"

9 — "The Office"

9:30 —"Parks and Recreation"

10 — "Rock Center With Brian Williams"

FRIDAY

8 — "Whitney"

8:30 — "Community"

9 —"Grimm"

10 —"Dateline NBC"

SATURDAY

Repeats

SUNDAY

Fall

7 —"Football Night in America"

8:15 —"NBC Sunday Night Football"

Winter

7 — "Dateline NBC"

8 —"Fashion Star"

9 — "The Celebrity Apprentice"

10 — "Do No Harm" *

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