2012-13 Up-Fronts: NBC’s New Schedule

In continuing my series on the 2012-13 network up-fronts, we’ve moved on to the actual up-front presentations. Today we’ll be going through NBC’s schedule, which really looks like someone grabbed shows out of a bingo spindle.

Since I have a fair amount of ranting in the archives on the National Broadcasting Company, lets just go ahead and move into the nitty-gritty.

CANCELLED SHOWS
Are You There Chelsea? – Looked terrible, so did its ratings.
Awake – Just never got a good concept off the ground.
Bent – Never had a chance.
Best Friends Forever – Did this get more than one episode?
The Firm – Even better concept, god-awful execution.
Free Agents – Another lame attempt to resurrect Friends.
Harry’s Law – Disappointing decision by NBC. Had decent ratings.
The Playboy Club – Murder mystery where we knew the killer. Yawn.
Prime Suspect – Legal procedural with a woman in a hat. No one watched.

2012 FALL SCHEDULE
Monday
8-10pm (also Tuesday 8-9pm) – The Voice – Awful decision by NBC to both (a) bring this back in the fall after a spring season AND overexpose the show further by giving it three of its 15 prime time hours during the week.
10-11pm – Revolution – New show by JJ Abrams which looks awesome. But reality show viewers aren’t going to stick around for this one…BAD choice for a lead-in.

Tuesday
8-9pm – The Voice, pt. 2
9-9:30pm – Go On – New Matthew Perry sitcom. He’s always watchable, and this looks okay. Unsure of the plot of the show, though.
9:30-10pm – The New Normal – Looks like a cheap Modern Family ripoff.
10-11pm – Parenthood – Excellent decision to bring back Parenthood. But NBC completely screws the pooch by not putting it on Thursday nights at this time; would have been just perfect following The Office and Parks and Rec.

Wednesday
8-8:30pm – Animal Practice – Justin Kirk from Weeds and a bunch of funny animals. Looks like fun.
8:30-9pm – Guys With Kids – Looks like a god-awful sitcom with a laugh track. I give this six episodes tops.
9-10pm – Law and Order: SVU – As previously noted, this show is long past its expiration date. But continues to draw decent ratings.
10-11pm – Chicago Fire – Looks pretty good in the previews, but have the feeling this will go the way of recent NBC dramatic procedurals such as Mercy, Kidnapped and others.

Thursday
8-8:30pm – 30 Rock – Back for its final 13 episodes this fall. It’s time, frankly; the show is starting to fray at the edges.
8:30-9pm – Up All Night – Fun, light show. Well protected in this timeslot; will give it a chance to build an audience.
9-9:30pm – The Office – I hope this was renewed with specific instructions to end it. NBC’s promos are showing Rainn Wilson (Dwight) in the show, so it seems that his spinoff “The Farm” has been pushed. At least Robert California is gone.
9:30-10pm – Parks and Recreation – Best comedy NBC’s got right now.
10-11pm – Rock Center – The news magazine could make a comeback. Brian Williams is the right guy for the job.

Friday
8-8:30pm – Whitney – Why is this horrible show back, particularly with such a strong developmental slate in comedy?
8:30-9pm – Community – You’re giving this show another shot and giving it WHITNEY as a lead-in? Why not call the cancellation department and make reservations? The two could not be more different.
9-10pm – Grimm – I stopped watching this show when I realized it was more procedural with the “Freak of the Week”. But kind of a fun concept and a solid show on Fridays.
10-11pm – Dateline – The consistent NBC hole-filler.

BACK IN 2013
The Biggest Loser – Good decision to limit the exposure on this family favorite. Though I can’t stand reality shows overall, nets who have successful ones like this need to limit their airings to once a year.
Fashion Star – NBC planning a full night of reality post-football with this as its opening.
The Celebrity Apprentice – Decent audience and has found a home on Sunday nights. Will be on post-football.
Off Their Rockers – Still in its opening salvo.
Smash – Show was a mess this year, but hopefully a new showrunner and another season will help it refocus. Also since it’s a continuing serial show, it’s best to keep the number of episodes down and make sure that the season can go from beginning to end with no weeks off. Good choice to push it to spring.

WHAT THE SCHEDULE SHOULD LOOK LIKE
Monday
8pm – Law and Order: SVU – Kick off a full night of good drama with the net’s most solid show.
9pm – Revolution – This show has a great chance at this timeslot, as none of the other nets are running anything like it at the time. CBS has fading comedies, ABC has reality and quick-draw Fox has a new mob drama.
10pm – Chicago Fire – ABC has Castle, CBS has Hawaii Five-0. This is something other than cops., by Dick Wolf, the master of drama.

Tuesday
8pm – Go On – Use Matthew Perry to kick off a new night of comedy.
8:30pm – Community – Use the built-in audience to help buoy the new night of comedy.
9pm – Animal Practice – Quirky fun can hold the Community audience and hopefully build it.
9:30pm – The New Normal – Weakest of these three comedies, as protected as possible.
10pm – Harry’s Law – Should not have been cancelled, and would have had a good shot in this time slot.

Wednesday
8pm – The Biggest Loser – This should be the fall show, replaced by The Voice in the spring. NBC should have had the balls to put The Voice head-to-head with the fading American Idol. Good counter-programming to Fox’s X-Factor, ABC’s comedy night and CBS’s procedurals.
10pm – Rock Center with Brian Williams – Promo as a celebrity interview show heavily during the reality before it. Would do well behind a 2 hour reality block.

Thursday
8pm – 30 Rock
8:30pm – Up All Night
9pm – The Office
9:30pm – Parks and Recreation
10pm – Parenthood – Where this show should have been all along.

Friday
8pm – Whitney – Wouldn’t have kept this, but if they needed a hole-filler…
8:30pm – Guys With Kids – Keep one-liner/laugh track comedies with other one-liner/laugh track comedies.
9pm – Grimm – Why change something that’s working?
10pm – Dateline – Ditto.

Sunday (post-football)
7pm – Betty White’s Off Their Rockers – Something of a reality show lead-in.
8pm – Fashion Star
9pm – The Celebrity Apprentice – Concludes a four-hour reality block.