At this morning’s phone press call unveiling its new plans for the coming season, NBC called the strategy part of “its most ambitious midseason in years.” It includes Simon Cowell-helmed America’s Got Talent championship run on Mondays at 8 PM, Ellen DeGeneres’ Ellen’s Game of Games making midseason on Tuesdays at 8 PM, and The Titan Games, from Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and producers of American Ninja Warriors, taking a limited run at Wednesdays 8 PM hour.
After several seasons in which the “winter period” was a time in which NBC did “some treading water while The Voice is off” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said he was “really thrilled” with the “extraordinary lineup of unscripted shows” his network has put together for midseason.
As the business has changed, Greenblatt explained of the push, winter, spring and summers have become as important as the fall. NBC’s America’s Got Talent franchise will get a mid-season run on Mondays in January and February, bridging seasons of The Voice in the slot.
The already heated-up reality TV game got even more interesting when, one day earlier, NBC announced AGT’s in-season debut, with franchise creator Simon Cowell participating in the winter’s “champions” edition.
NBC’s reality TV guru Paul Telegdy said they had wanted to experiment earlier with an in-season AGT run, but were never able to line up the calendar with key talent, “and this time that obviously is Simon Cowell.”
Greenblatt also called the Dwayne Johnson signing a “big shot in the arm for us.”
One reporter on the call noted some of the biggest names on NBC’s just unveiled schedule were attached to reality, not scripted, series.
“Television, especially network television, can make stars out of people that yesterday you had never heard of,” Greenblatt said, reminding those on the call that when the network’s hit This Is Us debuted, network execs knew all the actors “but it’s probably fair to say…none of them were big stars.”
Reality TV is helped enormously by having a big name attached, Greenblatt agreed, boasting that some of the biggest stars in the firmament were doing unscripted series for his network.
AGT creator/exec producer/judge Cowell will lead a judge panel that will be announced at a later date, because a separate headline is a terrible thing to waste. The winter iteration will feature previous season performers from the U.S. as well as international editions of the talent competition.
Returning for a 13th season on May 29, AGT‘s summer edition has been very good to NBC. Despite its age, last summer’s 12th run clocked a 3.5 demo rating and 16 million viewers in Live+7 viewing. That’s AGT’s most-watched season ever.
In The Titan Games, six contenders compete against one of six reigning Titans each episode. Dwayne Johnson, Arthur Smith, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Toby Gorman executive produce the series, from Universal Television Alternative Studio, A. Smith & Co. Productions and Seven Bucks Productions.