With half-hour tentpoles a rare commodity on NBC these days, the network has started to treat its few half-hour comedy series like hourlong ones, often slotting them in one-hour time periods with back-to-back episodes. The strategy worked last summer for Undateable, whose promising freshman run led to a second-season order. NBC also used the back-to-back pattern for the final season of Parks & Recreation this past spring and has been employing it for Season 2 of Welcome To Sweden this summer.
Now two more half-hour series are getting the back-to-back treatment — new comedies Mr. Robinson and The Carmichael Show. Originally slated to air together as a 9-10 PM block beginning August 5, the two shows will now air separately, with Mr. Robinson’s six episodes airing back-to-back over 3 weeks starting August 5, followed by three weeks of The Carmichael Show, which will now premiere August 26.
NBC calls the strategy a way of “giving audiences a chance to fully engage” with the new series. Besides having black male leads, Craig Robinson and Jerrod Carmichael, respectively, the two shows don’t have much in common – one is a single-camera workplace comedy, the other is a multi-camera family sitcom. By airing back-to-back, both shows would be able to benefit from a strong lead-in – summer’s top summer series, America’s Got Talent.