NBC will introduce three new drama series in the fall, Blindspot, Heartbreaker and The Player-– the first pilots to get permission to get staffing this season. As previously announced, they will be joined by event series Heroes Reborn and new variety series Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris. The last remaining new entry this fall is new multi-camera comedy People Are Talking, which will join returning Undateable — in a new all-live format — for a new Friday comedy block. Left for midseason are straight-to-series comedies Coach starring Craig T. Nelson and Hot & Bothered (fka Telenovela) starring Eva Longoria as well as new comedies Superstore and Crowded and British acquisition You, Me And The End Of The World (aka Apocalypse Slough) toplined by Rob Lowe. On tap for midseason on the drama side are Chicago Med, Game Of Silence and straight-to-series Shades Of Blue starring Jennifer Lopez. Here is NBC’s fall schedule, followed by a brief analysis and detailed listings of all new NBC series for next season:
NBC FALL 2015-16 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 P.M. — The Voice
10-11 P.M. — BLINDSPOT
8-9 P.M. — The Voice
9-10. PM. — 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
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
Thriller Blindspot, the most talked about NBC pilot this season, is getting the network’s highest-profile time slot after The Voice on Monday, following in the footsteps of Revolution (2012) and The Blacklist (2013). All three come from outside studios, Warner Bros. (Blindspot, Revolution) and Sony (Blacklist).
Speaking of Blacklist, after dispatching its strongest drama to Thursday this midseason with little support from underperforming rookies Allegiance at 10 PM and limited series The Slap at 8 PM, the network is looking to shore up its Thursday better next fall with a much higher profile event series at 8 PM, Heroes Reborn. And, possibly taking a page from ABC’s Shondaland playbook (ABC has a Thursday lineup consisting of 3 dramas produced by Shonda Rhimes this season, using Scandal at 9 PM to launch newbie How To Get Away With Murder, NBC has new drama The Player, which will air at 10 PM, following The Blacklist. Both shows hail from the same production company, Sony TV-based Davis Entertainment.
NBC’s retreat in comedy continues with only two half-hour series on the fall schedule, same as the current lineup. After dissolving its long-running Must-See TV Thursday comedy block earlier this season, NBC, which has been struggling in the genre lately, is also discontinuing its Tuesday comedy block, opting for soapy medical drama Heartbreaker for the 9 PM post-Voice slot, leading into the new Neil Patrick Harris-hosted variety series for a short run before Chicago Fire returns in the 10 PM hour.
Instead, the network is opening an 8-9 PM multi-camera comedy block on Friday, possibly going head-to-head with ABC’s multi-camera lineup in the hour. It includes NBC’s sole returning comedy, Undateable, which will feature all-live episodes, and newcomer People Are Talking.
“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, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “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.”
As expected, NBC is using the same launch strategy for Chicago Med it previously used successfully for fellow Chicago Fire spinoff Chicago P.D., rolling out the show in midseason. And, for some stability, NBC is leaving the Wednesday night procedural lineup of The Mysteries Of Laura, Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D. intact, at least for fall.
NBC is making a big push in live and variety programming. Should Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris do well, NBC has another variety series on tap for midseason, Little Big Shots, executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Harvey and hosted by Harvey. And the new live Undateable joins NBC’s holiday live musical franchise, with The Wiz Live! as the next special.
Of NBC’s bubble series, the network is deferring making a decision on recent entries American Odyssey and AD: The Bible Continues until after the upfronts.
2015-16 SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
COACH –Craig T. Nelson (“Parenthood”) reprises the iconic role that earned him an Emmy in this follow-up to the beloved series that ran for nine seasons. With original creator Barry Kemp at the helm, Hayden Fox’s story picks up 18 years later when the retired coach gets back in the game to assist his son, who was just hired as head coach at an Ivy League university in Pennsylvania… where they know nothing about sports. Between dealing with the eggheads on campus and his hostile daughter-in-law at home, Coach will soon learn that he’s not in Minnesota anymore. Talk about a Hail Mary! Barry Kemp serves as writer and executive producer. Craig T. Nelson also executive produces. “Coach” is produced by Universal Television.
CROWDED –No more sex, booze, and paying the bills naked. After 20 years of parenting, empty nesters Mike (Patrick Warburton, “Seinfeld”) and Martina (Carrie Preston, “True Blood”) are finally reclaiming their wild side. Yet when their two grown daughters both unexpectedly move back in, and Mike’s parents scratch their plans to spend their golden years in Florida, their roost is full again. From executive producer Sean Hayes, this new (and very timely) family comedy proves that life is crazy with a full house, especially the second time around. The cast includes Patrick Warburton, Carrie Preston, Stacy Keach, Carlease Burke, Mia Serafino and Miranda Cosgrove. Suzanne Martin serves as writer and executive producer. Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner also executive produce. James Burrows will direct. “Crowded” is produced by Universal Television and Hazy Mills Productions.
HOT & BOTHERED — If you think the steamy sex, sensational scandals and wrenching heartbreak on Latino soap operas are a little extreme, just wait until you see what happens behind the scenes. Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives”) stars in this new comedy about Ana Sofia, a sizzling TV superstar and her lively family of cast and crew all competing to steal the spotlight. When the cameras turn off, the drama turns up as Ana battles pesky network execs, drunken script writers, narcissistic co-stars, and an unfortunately familiar new onscreen love interest. The cast includes Jencarlos Canela, Diana Maria Riva, Jose Moreno Brooks, Alex Meneses, Amaury Nolasco, Jadyn Maria and Izzy Diaz, Chrissy Pietrosh and Jessica Goldstein serve as writers and executive producers. Eva Longoria, Ben Spector, Josh Bycel and Jonathan Fener also executive produce. “Hot & Bothered” is produced by Universal Television, Unbelievable Entertainment and Tall and Short Productions.
PEOPLE ARE TALKING — If you can think it, they will say it. From producer Will Packer (“Ride Along”) and director Pam Fryman (“How I Met Your Mother”) comes this unabashed new comedy about two diverse couples who are both neighbors and best friends. As they go through life side-by-side, they can’t help but analyze and obsess about everything. From topics like sex and race, to the fact that the trusted new babysitter might just be a porn star, nothing is out of bounds for this wildly outspoken foursome. The cast includes Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tone Bell and Bresha Webb. DJ Nash serves as writer and executive producer. Will Packer and director Pam Fryman (pilot) also executive produce. “People Are Talking” is produced by Universal Television and Will Packer Productions.
SUPERSTORE — America Ferrara (“Ugly Betty”) and Ben Feldman (“Mad Men,” “A to Z”) star in a hilarious workplace comedy (from the producer of “The Office”) about a unique family of employees at a super-sized megastore. From the bright-eyed newbies and the seen-it-all veterans to the clueless summer hires and in-it-for-life managers, together they hilariously tackle the day-to-day grind of rabid bargain hunters, riot-causing sales and nap-worthy training sessions. The cast includes Mark McKinney, Lauren Ash, Colton Dunn, Nichole Bloom and Nico Santos. Justin Spitzer serves as writer and executive producer. David Bernad and director Ruben Fleischer also executive produce. “Superstore” is produced by Universal Television and the District.
YOU, ME AND THE END OF THE WORLD — In this bold adrenaline-fueled new one-hour comedy drama, the news that a comet is on an unavoidable collision course with Earth sets in motion the most hilariously unexpected chain of events imaginable. Set against the backdrop of apocalyptic chaos and starring Rob Lowe (“Parks and Recreation”), Jenna Fischer (“The Office”), Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”) and Mathew Baynton (“Yonderland”), the story follows an eclectic group of seemingly unconnected characters around the world as their lives start to intersect in the most unexpected ways. When we say eclectic, we mean a rebellious priest, an unhinged white supremacist, a mild-mannered bank manager, a germ-phobic cyber-terrorist and an American five-star general. Some of these misfits are destined to make it to a bunker deep beneath the English suburbs of Slough and, as a result, will become the hugely unlikely (and totally unsuitable) future of mankind. Wouldn’t that be a disaster! The cast also includes Joel Fry, Paterson Joseph, Gaia Scodellaro, Pauline Quirke, Fabian McCallum and Kyle Soller. Executive producers are Juliette Howell, Lynn Horsford, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, JoAnn Alfano, Cameron Roach, Lizzie Gray and Andrew Conrad. “You, Me and the End of the World” is a production of Working Title Television, Sky TV and Bigballs Films. NBCUniversal International Television Production operates a joint television production venture with Working Title Television.
BLINDSPOT — From executive producer Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “The Mysteries of Laura”) comes “Blindspot”: A vast international plot explodes when a beautiful Jane Doe, completely covered in mysterious, intricate tattoos, is discovered naked in Times Square with no memory of who she is or how she got there. But there’s one tattoo that is impossible to miss: the name of FBI agent Kurt Weller, emblazoned across her back. “Jane,” Agent Weller and the rest of the FBI quickly realize that each mark on her body is a crime to solve, leading them closer to the truth about her identity and the mysteries to be revealed.
CHICAGO MED — Executive producer Dick Wolf delivers the newest installment of the compelling “Chicago” franchise, an emotional thrill ride through the day-to-day chaos of the city’s most explosive hospital and the courageous team of doctors who hold it together. They will tackle unique new cases inspired by topical events, forging fiery relationships in the pulse-pounding pandemonium of the emergency room, and through it all, familiar faces from the Chicago police and fire departments will intertwine as this third team of Chicago heroes hits the ground running. The cast includes Oliver Platt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Laurie Holden, Nick Gehlfuss and Yaya Dacosta. Dick Wolf, Matt Olmstead, Danielle Gerber, Peter Jankowski, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas serve as executive producers. “Chicago Med” is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Films.
GAME OF SILENCE — Carol Mendelsohn, executive producer and veteran of the “CSI” phenomenon, and David Hudgins (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights”) present a gripping new drama about a successful Atlanta attorney (David Lyons, “Revolution”) whose long-lost childhood friends unexpectedly reappear after 25 years. When a dark secret they thought they had buried resurfaces, the brotherhood bands together to right the wrongs of their shared past — a journey that will push the limits of their loyalty and quench their thirst for revenge. The cast includes David Lyons, Michael Raymond-James, Larenz Tate, Bre Blair, Conor O’Farrell, Deidrie Henry, Demetrius Grosse and Claire Van Der Boom. David Hudgins serves as writer and executive producer. Carol Mendelsohn, Julie Weitz and director Niels Arden Oplev also executive produce. “Game of Silence” is produced by Sony Pictures Television, Universal Television and Carol Mendelsohn Productions.
HEARTBREAKER — Based on the real life and achievements of Dr. Kathy Magliato, this unique character-driven medical drama follows Dr. Alex Panttiere (Melissa George, “The Slap”), an outspoken world-renowned heart-transplant surgeon and one of the few women in her field. Stubborn and fearless, Alex always operates on her own terms. She revels in a racy personal life that’s a full-time job in itself, manages the daily demands of skeptical faculty and dutiful interns, and pushes the boundaries of medical science to impressive new heights. The cast includes Melissa George, Dave Annable, Don Hany, Shelley Conn, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Kennedy, Maya Erskine, J. Louis Mills and Joshua Leonard. Jill Gordon serves as writer and executive producer. Amy Brenneman, Brad Silberling and director Robbie Duncan McNeill also executive produce. “Heartbreaker” is produced by Universal Television.
HEROES REBORN — From original creator Tim Kring, the supernatural phenomenon begins again with a fresh crop of inspiring heroes who take on the ultimate struggle between those with extraordinary abilities and those with nefarious motives to hunt and harness their powers. Epic adventures await these newly empowered allies as they cross paths with some of the original characters (such as the beloved “HRG” and fan-favorite time-traveler Hiro Nakamura), unlocking the mysterious fate of the universe and their place within it. The cast of “Heroes Reborn” includes Jack Coleman, Zachary Levi, Masi Oka, Judith Shekoni, Robbie Kay, Henry Zebrowski, Kiki Sukezane, Ryan Guzman, Danika Yarosh, Toru Uchikado, Eve Harlow and Gatlin Green. Tim Kring serves as writer and executive producer. Peter Elkoff and James Middleton also executive produce. “Heroes Reborn” is produced by Universal Television, Imperative Entertainment and Tailwind Productions.
THE PLAYER — From the executive producers of “The Blacklist” and starring Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester (“Strike Back,” “Fringe”) comes an action-packed Las Vegas thriller about a former military operative turned security expert who is drawn into a high-stakes game where an organization of wealthy individuals gamble on his ability to stop some of the biggest crimes imaginable from playing out. Can he take them down from the inside and get revenge for the death of his wife, or is it true what they say: The house always wins. The cast also includes Charity Wakefield and Damon Gupton. John Rogers serves as writer and executive producer. John Davis, John Fox and director Bharat Nalluri also executive produce. “The Player” is produced by Sony Pictures Television, Davis Entertainment and Kung Fu Monkey.
SHADES OF BLUE — In a provocative new drama, the iconic Jennifer Lopez stars as sexy New York detective (and single mother) Harlee Santos, who fell in with a tight-knit group of dirty cops, taking bribes and protection money that she uses to provide the best life for her honest and talented daughter. When she’s trapped by the FBI, however, and forced to inform on her own “brothers,” she’ll have to walk the fine line between love, loyalty, honor and betrayal, and try to keep it together for her daughter’s future. The cast also includes Ray Liotta, Warren Kole, Dayo Okeniyi, Drea De Matteo, Hampton Fluker, Vincent Laresca and Sarah Jeffery. Jack Orman and Adi Hasak serve as writers and executive producers. Jennifer Lopez, Barry Levinson (pilot), Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Ryan Seacrest and Nina Wass also executive produce. “Shades of Blue” is produced by Universal Television, Nuyorican Productions, EGTV and Ryan Seacrest Productions.
NEW ALTERNATIVE SERIES
BEST TIME EVER WTH NEIL PATRICK HARRIS — Five Emmy Awards and a Tony Award make multi-talented Neil Patrick Harris the perfect star for this live one-hour show that is unlike any other currently on American television. Complete with stunts, skits, pranks, audience interaction, musical numbers, giveaways and unlimited surprises, this show proves that anything can happen, and it can happen to you. Based on the wildly popular British hit “Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” the modernized variety show format and its fearless, multi-talented star will make for one of the best nights ever on TV week after week. Neil Patrick Harris, Orly Adelson, Siobhan Greene, David A. Hurwitz, Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly executive produce. “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” is produced by ITV Studios America.
COAT OF MANY COLORS — Based on the inspiring true story of living legend Dolly Parton’s remarkable upbringing, this once-in-a-lifetime movie special takes us inside the tight-knit Parton family as they struggle to overcome devastating tragedy and discover the healing power of love, faith, and a raggedy patchwork coat that helped make Dolly who she is today. Pamela K. Long serves as writer. Sam Haskell and Dolly Parton will executive produce. “Coat of Many Colors” is produced by Magnolia Hill Entertainment and DP Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
THE REAPER — Based on the best-selling memoir “The Reaper” by Nicholas Irving, this event miniseries recounts the 100-day Afghanistan deployment of Sgt. Nicholas Irving, nicknamed ‘The Reaper.’ The first African-American sniper, Irving tallied 33 official kills during this single deployment, a record that still stands today. “The Reaper” is a boots-on-the-ground thrilling and raw account of modern warfare and how it changes, shapes, and sometimes destroys the people who fight in it. Tom Donnelly and Josh Oppenheimer serve as writers and executive producers. Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein also executive produce. “The Reaper” is produced by the Weinstein Company.
THE WIZ LIVE! — NBC embarks on its latest musical holiday tradition with a live television production of the groundbreaking Tony Award-winning musical that brought the vivid world of Oz to the streets of New York in a fresh, funky, sing-a-long journey down the yellow brick road. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (“The Sound of Music Live!,” “Peter Pan Live!”) serve as executive producers. Kenny Leon will direct with Harvey Fierstein providing new written material. “The Wiz Live!” is produced by Universal Television in association with Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical.