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After a season of being lambasted for low ratings and flailing shows, NBC attempted to convince advertisers—and viewers—that the network has the opposite in store, at the first of this week's upfront presentations today at Radio City Music Hall. With comedies like The Office and 30 Rock gone, the peacock offers a completely revamped Thursday night lineup (which you can see in our graphic of the changing fall season below). By the time midseason rolls around, the network is going to try to use the Winter Olympics to boost dramas like Alfonso Cuaron's Believe and Crisis and comedies like About a Boy. (Though let's not forget what happened when they used the Olympics to try to sell Animal Practice.) That's around the same time the late night names will change, with Seth Meyers taking over for Jimmy Fallon and Fallon taking over for Jay Leno. During the presentation we were treated to music from The Roots, awkward cut aways to the celebs in the audience, and a look at this year's new shows, which seem to rely heavily on previously tested models. And if you needed more proof network TV is looking bleak, the Arrested Development traveling banana stand, a brilliant marketing ploy by Netflix, was across the street.  Scroll down for first-look clips, reactions, and NBC's self-defense from on-hand at Monday's presentation, and click here for Richard Lawson's take.


2013 | 2012

  8:00 p 8:30 p 9:00 p 9:30 p 10:00 p 10:30 p
Monday The Voice The Blacklist
Tuesday The Biggest Loser The Voice Chicago Fire
Wednesday Revolution Law & Order SVU Ironside
Thursday Parks and Recreation Welcome to the Family Sean Saves the World The Michael J. Fox Show Parenthood
Friday Dateline NBC Grimm Dracula
Saturday Encore programming
Sunday NBC Sunday Night Football


The Presentation

12:43 We're hearing about reality right now. Hollywood Game Night looks like a party with Amy Poehler and white wine, two of our favorite things. The Winner Is looks bizarre: a Deal or No Deal hybrid with The Voice. Uh. 

12:39 We got a redo of Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon's musical theater duet. This time to the tune of "One Day More" from Les Miz, except modified to be—for Fallon—"eight months more." Fallon sings at one point, "Bob Greenblatt makes good decisions," to which Leno replies, "What about Ready for Love?" 

12:29 After all of that hullabaloo earlier this year, Greenblatt thanks Leno: "We owe a great debt of gratitude to Jay Leno." 

12:28 Back following a brief sports interlude—the Winter Olympics are coming!—we're onto late night. 

12:14 And finally The Blacklist, a complicated terrorism/FBI show starring James Spader as a criminal who can also help the U.S. government catch bad guys. Only he wants to work with one young female agent for unknown reasons. 

12:10 Blair Underwood plays rogue and in-a-wheelchair cop in the Ironside remake. 

12:07 And here we have Dracula, which in the words of NBC's Jennifer Salke stars the "sexy" Jonathan Rhys Meyers and comes from the "classy" producers of Downton Abbey. It looks sleek and Meyers does an American accent.

12:01 Now for the franchise shows. The Night Shift builds on the E.R. and Grey's Anatomy ​legacy and has pretty doctors saving lives. And then there's the Chicago Fire spinoff, Chicago PD, from Dick Wolf. There are also pretty people in this. 

11:57 Now onto the dramas. J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón's Believe is about about a little girl with magical powers wo bad guys want. Crisis, with Gillian Anderson and Dermot Mulroney, seems like a highly convoluted kidnapping story.

11:51 Undateable with Whitney holdover Chris D'Elia looks high on the bro-humor and low on the humor-humor. 

11:48  Narrated by Jason Bateman and directed by David Schwimmer (?) The Family Guide stars J.K. Simmons as a blind dad whose relationship with his son who helps him seems to be the focus of the show, but that bond is thrown into chaos when a guide dog enters the family. Parker Posey is in the trailer, but she will not be in the show

11:44 As fans of the film, we're interested by how happy the NBC sitcom adaptation of Nick Hornby's About a Boy looks. (And instead of "Killing Me Softly" the little boy sings "What Makes You Beautiful" to embarrassment and triumph at a talent show.) David Walton looks appealing in the lead, and we're intrigued.  

11:36 Comedies Welcome to the Family and Sean Saves the World are up next. Welcome to the Family stars Mike O'Malley, best known as Kurt's dad on Glee, as a dad (yes, of course) whose just graduated high school daughter gets pregnant. Her boyfriend proposes marriage, but he happens to be from a family who hates O'Malley's clan. 

In Sean Saves the World, Linda Lavin is playing a sassy mother in the Lucille Bluth model to son Sean Hayes who is raising his daughter from a previous marriage. But, yes, in case you were wondering, Hayes does play gay. In explaining the divorce he says: "Long story she wasn't a gay man."  Thomas Lennon plays the weird boss, who has a bird on his shoulder in one scene. 

11:29 After breezing through the schedule, Greenblatt is now introducing the shows. First up, the Michael J. Fox show, titled The Michael J. Fox Show. Fox is in the audience. Since Fox plays a newsman who goes back to work despite his Parkinson's disease, NBC has a lot of opportunities to throw in NBC properties like the Today show. One moment that got a laugh: Fox was at dinner trying to serve, struggling with Parkinson's. His wife: "Can you not have a personal victory right now? We're starving."  

Here's the schedule. 

11:22 Greenblatt admits: "It was a bit of rollercoaster season for us." 

11:20 Bob Greenblatt gets things underway with a joke that fell flat about The Bible, and a dig at Jay Leno. He said that he is stepping down to take over The Tonight Show and Leno will take his job. Har. Har. 

11:18 Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson—in a video segment—presented the Year in Review. Ron Swanson on The Voice: "I would prefer a show called The Silence." Swanson on Revolution: "I would watch a show called Camping." 

11:06 The show is underway!

10:40 a.m. The Roots are playing to a milling about crowd. They are working NBC into lyrics of songs. For instance they edited John F. Kennedy before segueing into "Sweet Child O' Mine": "Ask not what NBC can do for you, but what all of you can do for NBC." 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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