NBC doubles up on The Voice, saves Community and 30 Rock, buys loads of comedy in new fall schedule
Last week, when I asked a media analyst to describe how the TV season has turned out for NBC, he responded with two words: "The Titanic."
So it was small surprise that the Peacock Network celebrated Mother's Day today by unveiling a plan for the 2012-13 TV season which included ordering 16 new series for the year, with seven series slated to debut this fall.
Out the door are Kathy Bates' Harry's Law, the little-seen comedies BFF and Bent, Awake and Are You there Chelsea?
But what may be more surprising is what survived: Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office and 30 Rock, all comedies with small audiences or slipping quality, were picked up for next season, despite rumors they might get reduced orders or one last season. (UPDATE: After telling reporters Sunday no decision had been made, NBC announced 30 Rock's next 13-episode season would be its last).
Still, advertisers love comedies with young male viewership, which these Thursday shows have.
"The comedies on Thursdays...(the viewership is) young," said Bob Greenblatt, NBC entertainment chairman, in a teleconference with journalists Sunday. I think The Office is one of the youngest shows on any network you'll see."
But Greenblatt couldn't say whether Community showrunner Dan Harmon, who ended the season with a public, ugly dustup with co-star Chevy Chase, would return to running the show or would act as a consultant. "I expect Dan's voice to be part of the show somewhere," said Greenblatt, denying the fight with Chase was the sole reason for the change (which in Hollywood-speak, probably means it was a significant part of it). "It's larger issues that have to do with a lot of things."
The network announced it would air two cycles of its biggest non-football hit, the singing competition The Voice, amid rumors a new batch of judges might be recruited for the second cycle in the spring. The judge's revolving chairs will also be used during the show's "battle rounds," perhaps to help combat a falloff in viewership the latest cycle experienced after the show's midpoint.
In a move which seems like giving up, Rock Center with Brian Williams, which got horrific ratings in its first season will return in a 10 p.m. timeslot NBC has always struggled to fill, on Thursdays. And even though the network has struggled to gain traction with new comedies, the new schedule strings comedies across Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
NBC FALL 2012-13 SCHEDULE
8-10 p.m. – “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. – “REVOLUTION”
8-9 p.m. –“The Voice”
9-9:30 p.m. – “GO ON”
9:30-10 p.m. – “THE NEW NORMAL”
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood”
8-8:30 p.m. – “ANIMAL PRACTICE”
8:30-9 p.m. – “GUYS WITH KIDS”
9-10 p.m. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
10-11 p.m. – “CHICAGO FIRE”
8-8:30 p.m. – “30 Rock”
8:30-9 p.m. – “Up All Night”
9-9:30 p.m. – “The Office”
9:30-10 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation”
10-11 p.m. – “Rock Center with Brian Williams”
8-8:30 p.m. – “Whitney”
8:30-9 p.m. – “Community”
9-10 p.m. – “Grimm”
10-11 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
SUNDAY (Fall 2012)
7- 8:15 p.m. — “Football Night in America”
8:15-11:30 p.m. — “NBC Sunday Night Football”
SUNDAY (Post-football/Winter 2013)
7-8 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
8-9 p.m. – “Fashion Star”
9-10 p.m. – “The Celebrity Apprentice”
10-11 p.m. – “DO NO HARM”