NBC is finishing the season No. 1 among A18-49, with a 2.1 rating. The network should easily repeat that win in 2017-18, thanks to the upcoming Super Bowl and Winter Olympics, both to be televised on the network next February, and World Cup Soccer to be aired later next year. “Next season is kind of in the bag, I hate to say, given the heft of the sporting events,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told Adweek. The network also televises NFL football on both Sunday and Thursday nights to large audiences.
Jennifer Hudson, who will be a new coach for NBC’s still-dominant singing competition The Voice, opened the network’s upfront with a performance of And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, reminding everyone that it was NBC who signed the Oscar winner, not ABC’s American Idol reboot.
NBC is rightly proud of last year’s breakout hit This Is Us, and that program received plenty of mentions in the upfront presentation. The show will be given the plum post-Super Bowl position in February 2018. To quote Seth Meyers: “NBC is showing off This is Us the way a girl shows off the diamond on her engagement ring.” Among the shows returning alongside the freshman hit will be Law & Order: SVU and the Chicago franchise. They’ll be joined by two new dramas. The Brave, NBC’s only new drama in the fall line-up, follows a unit of elite undercover military specialists. Rise, scheduled to premiere mid-season, is a high school musical from Jason Katims (creator of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood). Reverie, also planned for mid-seaon, features a former hostage negotiator who has to save people trapped in a highly advanced virtual reality program.
Returning on Thursday nights… Comedy! Have you heard about Will & Grace? NBC sure hopes you have. The network has ordered 12 episodes of the revival and given it the Thursday 9PM spot in hopes of restoring Thursday as the night for comedies. Superstore, The Good Place, and Great News will comprise the rest of the Thursday night schedule. As mid-season comedy options, NBC is offering Champions from producer Mindy Kaling, in which Workaholics’ Anders Holm is thrown headlong into family mishaps when his college girlfriend (played by Mindy Kaling) shows up with their son. AP Bio, produced by NBC’s own Seth Meyers and SNL creator Lorne Michaels, stars It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton as a philosophy scholar who loses out on his dream job and ends up teaching high school AP Biology.
NBC will once again get a boost in prime from football in November and December, as the network will air five Thursday Night Football games as part of their sharing deal with the NFL and CBS.
NBC remains committed to live programming, and will have a few events on the schedule in 2017-18. In 2Q 2018, Alec Baldwin will take on the role of Col. Nathan Jessup in the live adaptation of Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men. Currently on the roster for April 2018 is Jesus Christ Superstar and the soon-to-be rescheduled Bye Bye Birdie Live!, starring Jennifer Lopez, which had to be pushed from 2017, due to Lopez’s busy schedule.
During the upfront presentation, ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino described TV as “the most effective advertising medium ever.” The company with the biggest upfront each year, NBCUniversal, has completed its negotiations, finishing with nearly $6.5 billion in upfront sales, the company told Adweek.
NBC New Shows
THE BRAVE, Monday 10-11PM, Drama This journey into the complex world of America’s elite undercover military heroes follows D.I.A. Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche) and her team of analysts as they wield the world’s most advanced surveillance technology from headquarters in D.C. All the while, Adam Dalton and his heroic Special Ops squad of highly trained undercover specialists use their unbreakable bond and commitment to freedom to save lives of innocent people and execute missions in some of the most dangerous places in the world. COMMENTS: The network has high hopes for this show, giving it one of the best time slots – post The Voice, on Monday nights, in a season loaded with military themed options.
WILL & GRACE, Thursday 9-10PM, Comedy A decade after their unforgettable eight-season run, comedy’s most fabulous foursome is back. Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reprise their roles as Will, Grace, Jack and Karen in this exclusive 12-episode event. The legendary James Burrows, director of every original Will & Grace episode, returns along with a slew of razor-sharp jabs and dirty martinis. That’s right, honey! COMMENTS: The chemistry between the stars is as strong as ever and there has been quite the buzz around the revival of the show, which started out of a Hillary Clinton campaign ad, which has over 7.5 million views on YouTube.
NBC Mid-Season Replacements
A.P. BIO When philosophy scholar Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school Advanced Placement Biology teacher, he makes one thing very clear: he will not be teaching biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, Jack uses his flawed logic to misdirect his principal (Patton Oswalt) and recruit the kids to help him mentally break his job-stealing nemesis and win back the position that’s rightfully his.
CHAMPIONS Vince is living every bachelor’s dream. He owns the fifth largest gym in Brooklyn, dates an endless string of beautiful women and lives with his dumb, lovable brother Matthew. But Vince’s simple life gets complicated fast when his high school fling Priya (Mindy Kaling) unexpectedly drops off their 15-year-old son Michael so he can attend a city school for super-talented kids. How will Vince handle this wildly ambitious and hilariously witty teenager? Well, somehow he’ll have to work it out.
REVERIE This thriller follows Mara Kint (Sarah Shahi), a former hostage negotiator and expert on human behavior, who became a college professor after facing an unimaginable personal tragedy. But when she’s brought in to save ordinary people who have lost themselves in a highly advanced virtual-reality program in which you can literally live your dreams, she finds that in saving others, she may have discovered a way to save herself. From Mickey Fisher, creator of Extant, and also starring Dennis Haysbert (24).
RISE From Jason Katims, writer and executive producer of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, and Jeffrey Seller, producer of the Broadway hit Hamilton, comes a new drama about finding inspiration in unexpected places. When dedicated teacher and family man Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor, How I Met Your Mother) sheds his own self-doubt and takes over the school’s lackluster theater department, he galvanizes not only the faculty and students, but the entire working-class town. Inspired by a true story.