NBC Unveils 2014-15 Lineup, Breaks Up Thursday Comedy Block


NEW YORK: NBC has revealed its revamped prime-time schedule, which sees the regular Thursday night comedy block being broken up midseason to make way for The Blacklist.

Mondays see the return of The Voice at 8 p.m., this time with new coaches Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani, followed by The Blacklist at 10 p.m., until November 17, when the new drama State of Affairs takes over the slot. State of Affairs is led by Katherine Heigl, who makes her return to TV playing a high-level CIA analyst.

Tuesdays also lead off with The Voice. The new comedy Marry Me, which comes from Happy Endings creator David Caspe, makes its debut in the 9 p.m. slot. New seasons of About a Boy and Chicago Fire round out the evening at 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively.

Wednesday's prime-time lineup kicks off with the new drama The Mysteries of Laura at 8 p.m. The show is led by Debra Messing, who stars as a cop balancing her job and stressful home life. The rest of the night features the returning series Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D.

The Biggest Loser is back for another season, occupying the Thursday 8 p.m. slot. The comedy Bad Judge, which comes from Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, is slated at 9 p.m., until February 5, when The Blacklist moves to Thursdays. Another new comedy for Thursdays is A to Z, starring Ben Feldman (Mad Men) and Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother), at 9:30 p.m. Parenthood returns in a new season to close out the night at 10 p.m.

Fridays are led by the long-running Dateline NBC, followed by Grimm at 9 p.m. Paired with Grimm, in the 10 p.m. slot, is the freshman drama Constantine, based on the DC Comics series Hellblazer.

Saturdays feature encore programming, while Sundays are dedicated to football.

The comedy Mission Control, also from Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, will make its way to NBC as well, along with Mr. Robinson, about the lead singer of a rock band who works as a teacher during the day. Other comedies making the list include One Big Happy, from 2 Broke Girls' Liz Feldman and Scott Ellis with Ellen DeGeneres as an EP, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, from 30 Rock's Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.

In the way of new dramas, NBC has A.D., the follow-up to The Bible miniseries on HISTORY; Allegiance, a modern-day spy drama based on an Israeli series; and Aquarius, starring David Duchovny (Californication, The X-Files). Emerald City reimagines the story of Dorothy Gale and Oz. Heroes Reborn is a reboot of the 2006 series from Tim Kring. Odyssey is an action drama that sees an international conspiracy explode when three strangers' lives unexpectedly collide.

“We had a stellar year in scripted programming development that resulted in the unprecedented number of new original series joining the lineup during the coming year, which spans from September 2014-September 2015,” said Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment. “I’m inordinately proud of NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke and Paul Telegdy, the president of alternative and late-night programming, for delivering such a high volume of new quality programming to augment a lineup that has begun to show strong signs of solidification.

“We have grown substantially year-to-year, even factoring out the boost from the Olympics, to get us to number one in the 18-49 demo and number two in total households. The overall goal was to maintain stability from our growing number of anchor shows, while, at the same time, striving to make every show an event—a guiding principle of our development strategy. And reinvigorating Thursday was a top priority, made possible by moving The Blacklist there in the 9 p.m. time slot after exposing it to the audience watching the Super Bowl.

“The multi-pronged strategy behind moving The Blacklist, which has shown enormous linear ratings and record time-shifting, is to not only enliven our Thursday night lineup but also create two desirable time slots—lead-outs from The Voice (8-10 p.m. Monday) and The Blacklist (9-10 p.m. Thursday).”

Jennifer Salke, the president of NBC Entertainment, added: “Comedy is very important to this network, which is why we are launching new series on Tuesdays following The Voice and on Thursdays in the fall as CBS frees up some of the comedy audience when it turns to NFL football. Furthermore, we have several of our strongest comedies by some of our best auspices being held for midseason, including the final season of Parks and Recreation, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the Ellen DeGeneres-produced One Big Happy, and Mission Control from Will Farrell and Adam McKay. We also have the previously announced Mr. Robinson, starring Craig Robinson.

“On the drama front, no fewer than seven new series and two new event miniseries will bolster a line-up that already includes three Dick Wolf shows (Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D.), the final season of Parenthood, plus Grimm and Hannibal. And, of course, we bring back The Blacklist, the most successful new show on broadcast television. A trio of sophisticated new 10 p.m. dramas—State of Affairs (starring Katherine Heigl), Allegiance and Odyssey—have a cinematic look and feel, as well as compelling action storylines. Part of NBC’s legacy is its strength in drama, and we’re extremely proud of both our rich history and what’s ahead.

“In addition, we have several attention-getting events, such as The Bible sequel A.D., from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey; Aquarius, which marks David Duchovny’s return to broadcast television as a cop on the hunt for Charles Manson; and a 13-episode reboot of the popular series Heroes, titled Heroes Reborn.

“There is unprecedented enthusiasm that our turnaround will continue in a big way. As we aggressively schedule on a year-round basis, our goal remains to provide an exciting and vital lineup of unprecedented original programming.”

“NBC is clearly building upon its success of the season with this new schedule,” said Jordan Wertlieb, the president of Hearst Television and current chair of the NBC affiliate board. “The stability of the lineup coupled with a terrific development slate will excite NBC affiliates and advertisers.”