Network Upfronts


We’ve reached Upfronts Week, a time when the networks unveil their schedules for fall, complete with returning and new series. Today we look at NBC, first up to share their new fall schedule.

Network: NBC

Best Scheduling Move:
NBC dominated in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s thanks to four simple words: Must See TV Thursday. Thursday is the premier night on the schedule, and NBC was master of the domain. But that feels like a long time ago. Now, ABC had its Shondaland Series and CBS has the night’s top-rated comedy. But NBC started to make headway on Thursdays last fall, adding NFL games to part of the fall schedule to boost their ratings profile. But the network’s other move, shifting “The Blacklist” to Thursdays, didn’t pay off as expected. So the network is going a different way. It’s shifting “This Is Us,” it’s best new series from the 2016–2017 season, and highest rated drama, to Thursday nights. And it’s also adding a pair of new series, a new version of “Law & Order” and the return of “Will & Grace,” a throw back to NBC’s glory days of comedy. This should give the network a chance to make a dent on Thursday nights once again.

Most Curious Scheduling Move:
NBC is again moving “The Blacklist,” this time to Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. Sure, the whole Thursday night gambit hasn’t paid off, but this feels like an odd move. It’s especially curious since “The Blacklist” doesn’t exactly have the kind of content that makes it an ideal fit at the 8 p.m. hour. And now it’s paired with “Law & Order: SVU” and “Chicago PD,” which don’t feel like ideal scheduling companions. “The Blacklist” was a bubble show this season, and this scheduling move doesn’t feel like it will help.

This cast might be NBC’s most promising new show.

Most Promising New Show:
NBC only has three new shows this fall, one of which is “Will & Grace,” which is technically an old show. So there’s not a lot to consider here. The best of the lot, though, appears to be “The Brave,” a series that follows a military unit under the direction of a CIA Deputy Director (Anne Heche) who take on the toughest missions around the world. The set up sounds bland, and the trailer showed some fairly cliche characters and stories, but there’s not a ton to choose from here. I like the cast, and the series is getting the prime post-”Voice” slot on Monday, which gives it the best chance at success.

Edie Falco goes back to the 1990s with a new “Law & Order” anthology series.

Least Promising New Show:
That would be “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.” Anthology series are all the rage on cable, and F/X showed the potential of true crime dramas with “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson.” Now, it seems that NBC wants to get into the game, with a “Law & Order” spin-off that aims to follow true crime stories. First up is the case of the Menendez Brothers, who murdered their parents in the 1990s. This eight-episode series gets a prime slot on Thursday nights, but it looks mediocre and seems like a bad idea. Even the presence of Edie Falco in the lead role can’t save this series, which feels like a big swing and a miss.

Next up tomorrow, FOX.

Matthew Fox is an avowed media junkie. Follow him on Twitter at Knighthawk7734. You can find more of his original content on the Fantasy Life Blog or on his Personal Blog.