NBC Thursday is one of the uglier stories that Schedules Plus has to tell: an epic descent from literally top to bottom. This night was TV's strongest three-hour weeknight lineup in 2003-04 and its weakest in 2012-13 and 2013-14. NBC managed to stop the bleeding in a couple season (the final season of ER and the peak season of The Office), but the general trend is down and fast.
|2001-02||Friends||Inside Schwartz||Will and Grace||Just Shoot Me||ER||248|
|2002-03||Friends||Scrubs||Will and Grace||Good Morning, Miami||ER||219|
|2003-04||Friends||Scrubs||Will and Grace||Coupling||ER||219|
|2004-05||Joey||Will and Grace||The Apprentice Fall||ER||169|
|2005-06||Joey||Will and Grace||The Apprentice Fall||ER||119|
|2006-07||My Name is Earl||The Office||Deal or No Deal||ER||110|
|2007-08||My Name is Earl||30 Rock||The Office||Scrubs||ER||103|
|2008-09||My Name is Earl||Kath and Kim||The Office||30 Rock||ER||106|
|2009-10||Community||Parks and Recreation||The Office||30 Rock||The Jay Leno Show||84|
|2010-11||Community||30 Rock||The Office||Outsourced||The Apprentice||87|
|2011-12||Community||Parks and Recreation||The Office||Whitney||Prime Suspect||77|
|2012-13||30 Rock||Up All Night||The Office||Parks and Recreation||Rock Center||66|
|2013-14||Parks and Recreation||Welcome to the Family||Sean Saves the World||The Michael J. Fox Show||Parenthood||60|
|2014-15||The Biggest Loser||Bad Judge||A to Z||Parenthood||67|
2014-15 Update: The narrative at the 2014 upfront was that NBC was phoning it in on Thursday in the fall, and their real push would come when The Blacklist arrived in February. But in the end, the midseason lineup was actually no better than the fall one. Yes, even a disappointingly diminished The Blacklist (averaged a 100 for Thursday episodes) was a huge improvement, but it was surrounded by megabombs in The Slap (45) and Allegiance (51). NBC will take another stab at surrounding The Blacklist with dramas, hoping there is still some interest to be mined from late-aughts genre drama Heroes with a limited series revival at 8/7c.
Notable midseason replacements:
- I went with NBC's very first 2003-04 lineup, but Coupling got pulled after four weeks. Immediately after that, the network moved Scrubs to 9:30 and aired Friends repeats and a bunch of brief tryouts at 8:30 over the rest of the fall. Then in the winter, Will & Grace went to 8:30 and NBC launched the breakthrough first season of The Apprentice (239) in the 9/8c hour, a show so big that it kept NBC from airing two Thursday comedy hours for the next three years.
- They returned to two-hour comedy in 2006-07, airing Scrubs (82) and 30 Rock (70) in the 9:00 hour starting in November.
- Technically, the strongest show NBC has aired at 10/9c since ER was 30 Rock, which averaged an 86 in a winter/spring run in the 10:00 hour during the 2010-11 season. At 10:30 was Outsourced (which dropped to a 63 in that slot).
- Parks and Recreation aired its short first season at the end of 2008-09 (79) and was held for midseason again in 2010-11, when it replaced Outsourced at 9:30 (95).