NBC’s fall 2017 schedule features very few new series, a LOT of moves of existing series and the return of Must See TV. Shifting nights next season are This Is Us as new Thursday 9 PM anchor, The Blacklist, Blindspot, Taken, Superstore, The Good Place and Great News. The sole regular ongoing new series added for the fall is patriotic military drama The Brave, joined by the revival of Will & Grace and limited series Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.
NBC will bring back the Must See TV branding for its new Thursday lineup, featuring Will & Grace, This Us and The Menendez Murders.
One of the highest-profile new series, Jason Katims’ drama Rise, is being held for midseason to take advantage of the Winter Olympics as a marketing platform, something NBC successfully used for Katims’ previous NBC drama, Parenthood.
Here is NBC’s fall schedule, followed by some brief analysis and detailed descriptions of the network’s new series:
NBC FALL 2017-18 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE)
8-10 P.M. — The Voice
10-11 P.M. — THE BRAVE
8-9 P.M. — The Voice
9-9:30 P.M. — Superstore
9:30-10 P.M. — The Good Place
10-11 P.M. — Chicago Fire
8-9 P.M. — The Blacklist
9-10 P.M. — Law & Order: SVU
10-11 P.M. — Chicago P.D.
8-8:30 P.M. — WILL & GRACE
8:30-9 P.M. — Great News
9-10 P.M. — This Is Us
10-11 P.M. — LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS
8-9 P.M. — Blindspot
9-10 P.M. — Taken
10-11 P.M — Dateline NBC
8-10 P.M. —Dateline Saturday Night Mystery
10-11 P.M. — Saturday Night Live (encores)
7-8:20 P.M. — Football Night in America
8:20-11 P.M. — NBC Sunday Night Football
Underlining that NBC also introduced very few new series last fall for what turned out to be a very strong season for NBC, network’s chairman Bog Greenblatt today made the correlation between fewer new fall series and being No.1.
The network is making a statement with breakout new drama This Is Us, which is being moved to Thursdays as new 9 PM tentpole for what the network is billing as the return of Must See TV to NBC on Thursday. The new lineup will feature an actual member of NBC’s Must See TV lineup, Will & Grace, whose reboot will anchor the night at 8 PM. It will be followed by Great News, which got a big vote of confidence with a second-season renewal after a short, so-so rated midseason run. It will now be sandwiched between Will & Grace and This Is Us.
This is the second time NBC is moving its No.1 drama to the Thursday 9 PM slot with the hope to reinvigorate the once dominant night for the network. It also did it with The Blacklist, whose ratings dropped significantly after the relocation. Like with The Blacklist, the move to Thursday for This Is Us comes with an airing behind the Super Bowl. This Is Us’ transition to the new night will be a little tricky as the show will have to navigate a six-week preemption for Thursday Night Football in the fall and a two-week one for the Winter Olympics.
“While this is a bit risky, there is a bigger case to be made about redoing Thursday night” with the move of This Is Us, Greenblatt said on NBC’s upfront press call Sunday. Noting This Is Us‘s “extraordinary rabid following,” he said. “If there is one show we could move, it would be this one.”
Meanwhile, The Blacklist is on the move again to the Wednesday 8 PM slot where it will replace Blindspot, which in turn will go to Friday for a third time slot on a new night in as many seasons.
On Thursday, NBC is thinking about moving the Tuesday comedy block to Thursday 8-9 PM after the end of Will & Grace‘s 12-episode run (unless it’s extended) to launch a new drama behind The Tuesday Voice in midseason.
For the first time in years, a fully-owned NBC drama, The Brave, has landed the post-The Voice Monday 10 PM slot on the fall schedule where the network previously had Revolution, The Blacklist, Blindspot and, most recently Timeless. That was expected since all of NBC’s newly picked up series come from sibling Universal TV.
2017-18 SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
A.P. BIO — When a philosophy scholar loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher, he makes it clear he will not be teaching any biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, he decides instead to use the kids to his own benefit.The cast includes Glenn Howerton, Patton Oswalt, Lyric Lewis, Mary Sohn, Aparna Brielle, Jacob McCarthy, Nick Peine and guest star Vanessa Bayer (pilot only). Mike O’Brien will write and executive produce. Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers, Andrew Singer and Mike Shoemaker also executive produce. Osmany Rodriguez will direct. “A.P. Bio” is produced by Universal Television, Broadway Video and Sethmaker Shoemeyers Productions.
CHAMPIONS — Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition, lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot. Their simple life of women and working out is put on hold when the teenage son of Vince is dropped off on their doorstep by Priya (Mindy Kaling), one of his old high school flings. The cast includes Anders Holm, Andy Favreau, J.J. Totah, Mouzam Makkar, Nina Wadia and guest star Mindy Kaling. Charlie Grandy and Mindy Kaling will write and executive produce. Michael Alan Spiller will direct and executive produce. Howard Klein also executive produces. “Champions” is produced by Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment, Eyes Up Productions and Kaling International.
WILL & GRACE — That’s right, honey! A decade after their unforgettable eight-season run, comedy’s most fabulous foursome is back. Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reprise their infamous roles as Will, Grace, Jack and Karen in this exclusive 12-episode event. The legendary James Burrows, director of every original “Will & Grace” episode, returns along with a slew of razor-sharp jabs and dirty martinis. Behold once again, from the minds of Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, TV’s wittiest ensemble ever. The cast includes Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally. Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will write and executive produce. Alex Herschlag, Tracy Poust & Jon Kinnally also executive produce. James Burrows will direct and executive produce. “Will & Grace” is produced by Universal Television.
THE BRAVE — From Keshet Studios and Avi Nir (executive producer of “Homeland”) comes a fresh, heart-pounding journey into the complex world of America’s elite undercover military heroes. While D.I.A. Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche) and her team of analysts wield the world’s most advanced surveillance technology from Washington, D.C., Adam Dalton and his heroic Special Ops squad of highly trained undercover specialists use their unbreakable bond and commitment to freedom to save lives of innocent people and execute missions in some of the most dangerous places in the world. The cast includes Anne Heche, Mike Vogel, Sofia Pernas, Tate Ellington, Natacha Karam, Demetrius Grosse, Noah Mills and Hadi Tabbal. Dean Georgaris will write and executive produce. Brad Anderson will direct and executive produce the pilot. Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan also executive produce. “The Brave” is produced by Universal Television and Keshet Studios.
GOOD GIRLS — When three suburban moms get tired of trying to make ends meet, they decide it’s time to stick up for themselves by robbing the local supermarket at (toy) gunpoint. But when the manager catches a glimpse of one of them and the loot is far more than they expected, it doesn’t take long for the three best friends to realize the perfect getaway will be harder than they think. From executive producer Jenna Bans (“Scandal”) comes this comedy-infused drama that mixes a little “Thelma & Louise” with a bit of “Breaking Bad.” The cast includes Retta, Mae Whitman, Reno Wilson, Manny Montana, Lidya Jewett, Izzy Stannard and Matthew Lillard. Jenna Bans will write and executive produce. Dean Parisot directs and executive produces the pilot. Jeannine Renshaw also executive produces. “Good Girls” is produced by Universal Television.
LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS — Starring the incomparable Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Edie Falco (“The Sopranos,” “Nurse Jackie”), this new eight-episode true-crime installment of the powerhouse “Law & Order” franchise delivers a gripping in-depth dramatization of the notorious murder case that changed America forever. When the Menendez brothers were tried on national TV for brutally killing their parents in Beverly Hills, their story became a national obsession. Now, the first edition of this anthology series delves into the players, the crime and the media circus, detailing the day-to-day battles of the trial and unveiling the shocking truth of what really went down when the cameras stopped rolling. Rene Balcer will write and executive produce. Lesli Linka Glatter will direct and executive produce. Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski and Arthur W. Forney also executive produce. “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Films.
REVERIE — From Mickey Fisher, the creator of “Extant,” this grounded new thriller follows Mara Kint (Sarah Shahi), a former hostage negotiator and expert on human behavior who became a college professor after facing an unimaginable personal tragedy. But when she’s brought in to save ordinary people who have lost themselves in a highly advanced virtual-reality program in which you can literally live your dreams, she finds that in saving others, she may actually have discovered a way to save herself. The cast includes Sarah Shahi, Dennis Haysbert, Jessica Lu, Sendhil Ramamurthy and Kathryn Morris. Mickey Fisher will write and executive produce. Jaume Collet-Serra will direct and executive produce the pilot. Brooklyn Weaver, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey also executive produce. Tom Szentgyorgyi is a consulting producer. “Reverie” is produced by Universal Television and Amblin Television.
RISE — From Jason Katims, writer and executive producer of “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood,” and “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller comes a heartening new drama about finding inspiration in unexpected places. When dedicated teacher and family man Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor) sheds his own self-doubt and takes over the school’s lackluster theater department, he galvanizes not only the faculty and students but the entire working-class town. Inspired by a true story. The cast includes Josh Radnor, Rosie Perez, Marley Shelton, Auli’i Cravalho, Damon J. Gillespie, Amy Forsyth, Rarmian Newton, Ted Sutherland, Casey Johnson, Taylor Richardson, Joe Tippett and Shirley Rumierk. Jason Katims will write and executive produce. Mike Cahill will direct and executive produce the pilot. Michelle Lee, Jeffrey Seller and Flody Suarez also executive produce. “Rise” is produced by Universal Television, True Jack Productions and Seller Suarez Productions.
NEW ALTERNATIVE SERIES
THE AWESOME SHOW — From executive producer/host Chris Hardwick (“The Wall”), executive producer Mark Burnett (“The Voice”) and Silicon Valley’s Singularity University comes a new series that will showcase the groundbreaking scientific and technological advances that are shaping the future, as well as celebrate the pioneers and communities at the forefront of this golden age of unprecedented discovery, innovation and opportunity. Each episode of “The Awesome Show” will be a rollercoaster ride through the world of innovation as told by the people who are shaping it and whose lives are affected by it. The series will highlight stories of revolutionary scientific and technological advances and will marvel at mankind’s tremendous feats, both now and in the future. Mark Burnett, Chris Hardwick and Alex Murray executive produce. “The Awesome Show” is produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio in association with Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Fish Ladder.
ELLEN’S GAME OF GAMES — The one and only Ellen DeGeneres returns to primetime to host an exciting new game show that’s one big party! Featuring super-sized versions of some of the most beloved games from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” as well as new ones, contestants will be pulled from the studio audience to maneuver massive obstacles while answering trivia questions, all under the pressure of Ellen’s mischievous and hilarious antics. With DeGeneres’ witty and comedic sensibility plus fun-filled games, each episode is sure to entertain the entire family and deliver lots of laughs. One lucky contestant will get the chance to win the grand prize, but everyone will have a blast! Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner, Kevin Leman and David A. Hurwitz executive produce. Russell Norman directs. “Ellen’s Game of Games” is produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted in association with A Very Good Production and Telepictures.
GENIUS JUNIOR — No stranger to young geniuses, Neil Patrick Harris hosts an exciting new game show that celebrates the smartest kids in America. These talented “genius juniors” will team up to take on mind-blowing tests of logic, math, memory, spelling and more. Through escalating rounds, they will be tested in each area of the brain, culminating in an ultimate challenge to be crowned the smartest and brightest. The winning team will take home a life-changing prize — setting the stage for a big, bright future ahead. Neil Patrick Harris, Pam Healey, John Hesling, Phil Parsons and Ed Egan executive produce. “Genius Junior” is produced by Shed Media in association with Prediction Productions.
THE HANDMADE PROJECT — From executive producer and host Amy Poehler and co-host Nick Offerman comes a lighthearted competition celebrating the creativity and craftiness in all of us. Each week, eight amateur makers will take on a series of projects they must complete in their own unique way. As the competition escalates, the amateurs will be challenged to master progressively difficult skills, culminating in a final craft-off between the most creative and tenacious contestants. Shot in a serene outdoor setting, this friendly competition will focus on the character and camaraderie of DIY culture – and through it all, Poehler and Offerman will provide encouragement, guidance and plenty of laughs.
Amy Poehler, Brooke Posch, Nicolle Yaron, Nick Offerman, Dave Becky and Anthony Dominici executive produce. “The Handmade Project” is produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio in association with Paper Kite Productions.