TV Upfront

NBC Brings Dramas Back to Sunday, Beefs Up Thursday Comedies

Banks on Michael J. Fox and James Spader

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Just days after cleaning house by cancelling a bevy of shows, NBC announced its new slate of comedies and dramas at its upfront pitch on Monday morning, with a focus on cops and procedurals.

NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said he has no illusions about the challenges that are ahead for the network. While the peacock network started off last season strong, buoyed by "Sunday Night Football" and "The Voice," ratings fell off mid-season after both went on hiatus. In a first for broadcast, Univision topped NBC in February sweeps.

Michael J. Fox at NBC's upfront
Michael J. Fox at NBC's upfront Credit: Charles Sykes/NBC

NBC had few new hits coming out of last year's upfront -- namely "Revolution" and "Chicago Fire." Last week, NBC axed a swath of its other new entries, including comedies "Go On," "The New Normal" and "1600 Penn" and the drama "Deception." It also canceled "Smash," the lavish musical series that just finished its second season.

But Mr. Greenblatt pointed out Monday morning that NBC is currently tied with Fox for second place in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic. At the same time last year, NBC was tying ABC for last.

NBC going forward will continue to rely on football and "The Voice" as a vehicle to drive audience to its other series, such as new entry "The Blacklist," starring James Spader, which Mr. Greenblatt said tested better than 125 other drama pilots in the past decade.

NBC will kick off the fall with six new series. It will then use the Winter Olympics to launch an additional six series in the second half of the season.

Michael J. Fox will return to comedy as a news anchor who, like Mr. Fox, is battling Parkinson's disease. A preview of the show drew some of the biggest laughs and applause from the audience of media buyers and clients at the upfront pitch. His sitcom, "The Michael J. Fox Show," joins fellow new entries "Welcome to the Family" and "Sean Saves the World" on Thursday nights.

Friday nights will be dedicated to genre series, including "Grimm" and the new series "Dracula" and "Crossbones."

NBC picked up six new dramas. "We think it's time to put dramas back on Sunday night," said president of entertainment Jennifer Salke. They include J.J. Abram's "Believe" and "Crisis."

The network will have at least some additional new series on reserve to join the schedule down the road, including the comedy "Undateable," the medical drama "Night Shift" and the "Chicago Fire" spin-off "Chicago PD." NBC also has 13 episodes of cult comedy "Community," although it has not scheduled their run yet.

NBC FALL 2013-14 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)

MONDAY
8-10 p.m. -- "The Voice"
10-11 p.m. -- "THE BLACKLIST"

TUESDAY
8-9 p.m. -- "The Biggest Loser" (New Day and Time)
9-10 p.m. -- "The Voice" (New time)
10-11 p.m. -- "Chicago Fire" (New Day and Time)

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. -- "Revolution" (New Day and Time)
9-10 p.m. -- "Law & Order: SVU"
10-11 p.m. -- "IRONSIDE"

THURSDAY
8-8:30 p.m. -- "Parks and Recreation" (New time)
8:30-9 p.m. -- "WELCOME TO THE FAMILY"
9-9:30 p.m. -- "SEAN SAVES THE WORLD"
9:30-10 p.m. -- "THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW"
10-11 p.m. -- "Parenthood" (New Day and Time)

FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. -- "Dateline NBC"
9-10 p.m. -- "Grimm"
10-11 p.m. -- "DRACULA"

SATURDAY
Encore programming

SUNDAY
7:00-8:15 p.m.-- "Football Night in America"
8:15-11:30 p.m. -- "NBC Sunday Night Football"

NBC MIDSEASON 2013-14 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)

MONDAY
8-10 p.m. -- "The Voice"
10-11 p.m. -- "THE BLACKLIST"

TUESDAY
8-9 p.m. -- "The Voice"
9-9:30 p.m. --"ABOUT A BOY"
9:30-10 p.m. -- "THE FAMILY GUIDE" 10-11 p.m. -- "Chicago Fire"

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m.-- "Revolution"
9-10 p.m. -- "Law & Order: SVU"
10-11 p.m. -- "IRONSIDE"

THURSDAY
8-8:30 p.m. -- "Parks and Recreation"
8:30-9 p.m. -- "WELCOME TO THE FAMILY"
9-9:30 p.m. -- "SEAN SAVES THE WORLD"
9:30-10 p.m. -- "THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW"
10-11 p.m. -- "Parenthood"

FRIDAY 8-9 p.m. -- "Dateline NBC"
9-10 p.m. -- "Grimm"
10-11 p.m. -- "CROSSBONES"

SATURDAY
8-10 p.m. -- Encore and specials programming
10-11 p.m. -- "Saturday Night Live" (Encore)

SUNDAY
7-8 p.m. -- "Dateline NBC"
8-9 p.m. -- "AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS"
9-10 p.m. -- "BELIEVE"
10-11 p.m. -- "CRISIS"

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