NBC’s Must See TV Thursday comedy block is officially gone. NBC has set its midseason schedule, which will feature three drama series on Thursday going head-to-head with ABC’s all-drama Shondaland lineup, which has been dominating the night this fall. The block will be anchored by The Blacklist, which, as previously announced, will move into the 9 PM Thursday slot on February 5, following an airing after the Super Bowl. The Blacklist will be used to launch new spy drama Allegiance at 10 PM, with 8-episode limited series The Slap slotted at 8 PM. The last time NBC had an all-drama Thursday lineup was 35 years ago, in the 1979-80 season, when it aired Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Quincy M.E. and Kate Loves a Mystery.
Two summer breakouts are joining NBC’s midseason schedule. Starting March 17, Comedy Undateable will be paired with new family comedy One Big Happy in the Tuesday 9-10 PM hour for a multi-camera block behind The Voice, which will replace Marry Me and About A Boy. Per NBC, the single-camera comedies will return later in the season though Marry Me has an 18-episode order, so it’s unclear how many episodes it will have left. Still on the bench are Mr. Robinson, the 6-episode midseason single-camera series starring Craig Robinson, as well as drama Hannibal. (NBC has an opening in its Friday at PM slot after opting not to give a back order to Constantine.)
Meanwhile, summer medical drama The Night Shift will move into the Monday 10 PM slot on February 23, following The Voice. It will succeed freshman State Of Affairs, which is producing a 13-episode season per star Katherine Heigl’s contract, something Fox does with Kevin Bacon on The Following and ABC with Viola Davis on How To Get Away With Murder (15 episodes.)
Like NBC did last season, two new dramas will follow football in the 9-11 PM block on Sunday. On Easter Sunday, April 5, NBC will premiere Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s biblical limited series A.D., followed by the series debut of globe-spanning conspiracy drama Odyssey. No series is slotted in the Sunday 8 PM hour for now, with the slot filled with specials for the time being.
“The Super Bowl gives us a great opportunity on a promotional level to reset the table for midseason. The Blacklist, which will premiere with a new episode on Super Bowl Sunday and then move to Thursday nights later that week, is a big priority. That will give us the chance to create a first-class night of drama with the addition of both Allegiance at 10 PM and our 8 PM event series The Slap, which has an incredible cast and is a terrific way to start the night,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “We also think very highly of two extraordinary dramas set to launch on Easter Sunday, both of which are events in their own right: A.D. and Odyssey.”
Here are NBC’s Midseason Premiere Dates, followed by descriptions of its new series:
· “The Blacklist,” Sunday, Feb. 1 following the Super Bowl. Moves to Thursday, Feb. 5 at 9 p.m.
· “Allegiance,” Thursday, Feb. 5 at 10 p.m.
· “The Slap,” Thursday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.
· “The Night Shift, Monday, Feb. 23 at 10 p.m.
· “Undateable,” Tuesday, March 17 at 9 p.m.
· “One Big Happy,” Tuesday, March 17 at 9:30 p.m.
· “A.D.,” Sunday, April 5 at 9 p.m.
· “Odyssey,” Sunday, April 5 at 10 p.m.
NEW SERIES SYNOPSES
“Allegiance” (Thursday, Feb. 5, 10 p.m.)
Alex O’Connor (Gavin Stenhouse, “Person of Interest”), a young idealistic CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs, learns a shocking secret and his close-knit, affluent family is about to be split apart when its revealed that his parents, Mark (Scott Cohen, “Necessary Roughness”) and Katya (Hope Davis, “The Newsroom,” “In Treatment”) are covert Russian spies deactivated decades ago. But today the Kremlin has re-enlisted them into service as they plan a terrorist operation inside the U.S. border that will bring America to its knees. Years ago, Russian-born Katya was tasked by the KGB to recruit American businessman Mark O’Connor as a spy — and the two fell in love. A deal was struck: As long as Katya remained an asset for Russia, and it was agreed that her services could be called on in the future, she would be allowed to marry Mark and move to America. After years in America building a happy life and without word from Moscow, they thought they had escaped. Now it seems that the new Mother Russia has one more mission — turning Alex into a spy. For these anguished parents, the choice is clear: Betray their country or risk their family.
George Nolfi, John Glenn, Rashad Raisani, Avi Nir, Ron Leshem, Amit Cohen, Giyora Yahalom and Yona Weisenthal serve as executive producers.
“The Slap” (Thursday, Feb. 12, 8 p.m.)
Meet Hector: a public servant, husband, father and valued friend on the cusp of his 40th. Meet Aisha: Hector’s beautiful and intelligent wife who is planning his birthday party filled with friends and his very boisterous Greek family. Sounds like the makings of a great day, right?
Wrong. As Hector tries to navigate family politics, awkward friendships and the young woman he is dangerously captivated by, the built-up tension explodes when Hector’s hotheaded cousin slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. Everyone is understandably stunned, and the party abruptly ends with the child’s parents vowing legal action. But what the hosts and guests don’t know is that this moment will ignite a chain of events that will uncover long-buried secrets within this group of friends and family … and vigorously challenge the core values of everyone involved.
The series stars Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman, Thandie Newton, Melissa George, Zachary Quinto and Thomas Sadoski.
The series is executive produced by writer Jon Robin Baitz, the team of Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, director Lisa Cholodenko, Tony Ayres, Helen Bowden, Michael McMahon and Chris Oliver-Taylor
“One Big Happy” (Tuesday, March 17, 9:30 p.m.)
Best friends Lizzy (Elisha Cuthbert, “Happy Endings”) and Luke (Nick Zano, “2 Broke Girls”) are like family. As kids, they saw each other’s parents go through divorce and have ever since formed an inseparable bond. Now, all grown up and still single, they’ve decided to start a family of their own, but in a non-traditional way. Lizzy, who is a lesbian, wants to raise a child with Luke by her side. Then one night, Luke falls for Prudence (Kelly Brook, “Smallville”), a free-spirited British girl who’s due to go back to England in a matter of days. Then, just as Lizzy discovers that she’s actually pregnant, Luke announces that he and Prudence have gotten married and in an instant — a different kind of family is born.
The cast also includes Brandon Mychal Smith, Rebecca Corry and Chris Williams.
Liz Feldman, Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman and director Scott Ellis (pilot) serve as executive producers.
“A.D.” (Sunday, April 5, 9 p.m.)
Following the eye-opening success of “The Bible” miniseries on History, the 12-hour miniseries “A.D.” — from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey — will look at the lives that were instantly altered following the death of Christ. His disciples, mother Mary and key political religious leaders at the time saw their world turned upside down and their lives forever altered. Beginning at the fateful moment of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, part two of the Greatest Story Ever Told will focus on the disciples who had to go forward and disseminate the teachings of Christ to a world dominated by political unrest, starting a whole new religion that would dramatically reshape the history of the world.
“A.D.” stars Greta Scaachi as Mother Mary, Richard Coyle as Caiaphus, Vincent Regan as Pilate, Adam Levy as Peter, Chipo Chung as Mary Magdalene and Juan Pablo Di Pace as Jesus.
Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and Richard Bedser serve as executive producers.
“Odyssey” (Sunday, April 5, 10 p.m.)
In this “Traffic”-like action drama, an international conspiracy explodes when three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide — a female soldier, a corporate lawyer and a political activist. After a team of American soldiers battles Jihadists in North Africa, they’re shocked to find that one of the men they killed is Al Qaeda’s top man. Sgt. Odelle Ballard (Anna Friel, “Pushing Daisies”) — a soldier, mother, wife and the unit’s only female member — discovers computer files that suggest a major U.S. corporation is funding the Jihadists. But before she can tell anyone, her team is attacked and left for dead. News is reported that the unit was wiped out, but the truth is that Odelle survived and is the only witness to her unit’s assassination by U.S. Special Forces. In New York, former U.S. Attorney Peter Decker (Peter Facinelli, “Nurse Jackie”) is working on a merger deal for the same company that was funneling money to the Jihadists. Meanwhile, Harrison Walters (Jake Robinson, “The Carrie Diaries”), a political activist and trust fund kid, meets a hacker who claims to have unearthed a massive military-industrial conspiracy. And he’s right: He’s stumbled onto the cover-up that began with Odelle and will soon be out in the open and everyone’s lives will be in danger. The only way they’ll ever save their country, their families and themselves is by joining forces and exposing the people behind it.
Writers Adam Armus and Kay Foster, and writer-director Peter Horton serve as executive producers with Simon Maxwell, Mikkel Bondesen, Henrik Bastin and Kristen Campo.