This is arguably the biggest week of the network TV year, as the big five hold upfront presentations in New York, showing off their new schedules and series for advertisers. What's in, what's out, and what looks good? Let's take a look!
The deeply troubled network is being overhauled by new programming head Bob Greenblatt, who is unveiling his first full schedule today. They're going heavy on comedies, with ten new sitcoms running across four nights of programming. Last week's surprise renewal Whitney will join Community on the elephant graveyard that is Friday night, which NBC hopes to revive as a viable programming night based on the modest strength of Grimm, which spent its first season on Friday nights and regularly earned respectable ratings. Meanwhile The Office and Parks & Recreation have been given full season 22-episode orders and will continue to play on Thursday nights alongside shortened half-seasons of Up All Night and 30 Rock. It will be the latter's final season.
As for its many new comedies, four of them will be premiering in the fall, with the rest set for midseason debuts. The ones we'll be seeing in September/October are Ryan Murphy's gay adoption/surrogate series The New Normal, Matthew Perry's support group comedy (ha ha?) Go On, wacky animal hospital sitcom Animal Practice, and the multicamera family yuk fest Guys With Kids. On the drama side, NBC is adding two new hour-longs to its fall schedule. The big, expensive-looking Revolution, about an electricity-less future America full of militias, is getting the sweet post-The Voice slot on Monday nights, meaning Smash, a little cherished pet of Greenblatt's, won't be back until the winter. Then Dick Wolf's new show Chicago Fire will play at 10pm on Wednesdays, after Dick Wolf's old-ass show Law & Order: SVU.
Fans of Harry's Law, and there were oddly many of them, will be sad to see their show gone, though they'll likely soon be gone themselves: NBC canceled the show because its demo was way old, which advertisers don't like. The net also let go of Who Do You Think You Are?, the celebrity genealogy show that sounded interesting on paper but never really delivered in practice.
NBC has released promos for all of its new shows, even those on hold until midseason, and we're most intrigued by this ambitious Revolution series and Murphy's New Normal. Gay characters on TV aren't exactly anything new these days, but Murphy can be a bit riskier than other show creators, so it could prove an interesting development in the whole gay characters on TV saga. Sure the preview clip is mostly about the surrogate, but that HPV joke is kind of funny, right?
Meanwhile Revolution gets the full four-minute trailer treatment, and though aspects of it look cheesy — how many meet-cutes with hunky young men will the post-apocalyptic world's pretty young women really be having? — the premise is certainly interesting enough to merit a watch. NBC has had lots of trouble getting a big serialized drama up and running since everyone started trying to do that when Lost hit big (they've had Surface, Heroes, The Event, etc.), but maybe this one will stick, with its mix of Lost-esque mystery and Walking Deadian survivalist stuff. We're cautiously optimistic.
Could be exciting right? At least until that pirate series comes along.
Fox is in healthier shape than NBC, but they too are shaking a few things up. They're announcing Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as the two new X Factor judges after a mass purge earlier this year (a new host has yet to be announced), and also plan to do some creative sprucing up on the slowly fading American Idol.
Following the success of New Girl and Raising Hope on Tuesday nights, Fox is moving Glee off that night and going for two hours of straight comedy. Joining New Girl and Raising Hope are Ben and Kate, a comedy about a young mother and her ne'er-do-well brother, and The Mindy Project, the much buzzed-about Mindy Kaling sitcom. Glee moves to Thursday nights, where it will play after X Factor results in the fall and Idol results after that.
On the drama side, Fox has picked up Mob Doctor, with Jordana Spiro as a doctor with family ties to organized crime, and The Following, the Kevin Bacon serial killer mystery, that will replace Mob Doctor in midseason. Kiefer Sutherland's Touch is moving to Friday nights where it will air alongside the final, shortened season of Fringe and then eventually some sort of test pattern or X-Files reruns or something.
The Sunday animation lineup remains largely the same, as does, of course, the Monday night presence of Fox's most important, most iconic show, The Bones.
Here are those two networks' full fall schedules. We'll have new posts for you when CBS, ABC, and The CW make theirs official in the coming days.
8-10 p.m. – “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. – “REVOLUTION”
8-9 p.m. – “The Voice”
9-9:30 p.m. – “GO ON”
9:30-10 p.m. – “THE NEW NORMAL”
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood”
8-8:30 p.m. – “ANIMAL PRACTICE”
8:30-9 p.m. – “GUYS WITH KIDS”
9-10 p.m. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
10-11 p.m. – “CHICAGO FIRE”
8-8:30 p.m. – “30 Rock”
8:30-9 p.m. – “Up All Night”
9-9:30 p.m. – “The Office”
9:30-10 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation”
10-11 p.m. – “Rock Center with Brian Williams”
8-8:30 p.m. – “Whitney”
8:30-9 p.m. – “Community”
9-10 p.m. – “Grimm”
10-11 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
SUNDAY (Fall 2012)
7- 8:15 p.m. — “Football Night in America”
8:15-11:30 p.m. — “NBC Sunday Night Football”
SUNDAY (Post-football/Winter 2013)
7-8 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
8-9 p.m. – “Fashion Star”
9-10 p.m. – “The Celebrity Apprentice”
10-11 p.m. – “DO NO HARM”
8-9 PM BONES
9-10 PM THE MOB DOCTOR (new)
THE FOLLOWING (new) joins in midseason.
8-8:30 PM RAISING HOPE
8:30-9 PM BEN AND KATE (new)
9-9:30 PM NEW GIRL
9:30-10 PMTHE MINDY PROJECT (new)
THE GOODWIN GAMES (new) joins in midseason.
8-10 PM THE X FACTOR (fall) / AMERICAN IDOL (midseason)
8-9 PM THE X FACTOR Results (fall)/AMERICAN IDOL Results (midseason)
9-10 PM GLEE
8-9 PM TOUCH
9-10 PM FRINGE (fall)
HELL’S KITCHEN returns in midseason.
7-10:30 PM FOX SPORTS SATURDAY (fall)
COPS returns in midseason.
ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF (new) will join late-prime in 2013.
7-7:30 PM NFL Game (fall)/ ANIMATION DOMINATION (encores)
7:30-8 PM THE OT (fall)/ THE CLEVELAND SHOW
8-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9 PM BOB'S BURGERS
9-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10 PM AMERICAN DAD
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.