Sunday, May 13, 2018

2018 Upfront Answers: NBC

The schedule is coming, and with it the Upfront Answers!

NBC's upfront previews: Renewology | Upfront Questions

More Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


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Spot's Question: What gets The Voice lead-in?

NBC has gone back in the big genre swing direction with its new drama Manifest. Nothing in that space has ever really lit the world on fire in the post-Voice slot the way This Is Us or even The Blacklist have, though Revolution did OK for a little while. The buzz seemed strong with this one.



Spot's Question: Is This Is Us still a drama launch pad?

Yep. Medical drama New Amsterdam got a big jump on the other pilot pickups and indeed ends up with a prime spot. Will have to take a look at the trailer, but it's interesting this is the second straight year that the pilot that seemed like a This Is Us companion didn't get this berth (Rise last year, The Village this year).


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Spot's Question: What takes over for The Blacklist?

It's Chicago Med, the show that probably should've been here last year...! NBC threw in an extra unexpected twist by flipping Chicago Fire and Law and Order: SVU, creating a hashtag One Chicago night.


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Spot's Question: Which comedy joins the renewed three?

Instead of Michael Schur multi-cam comedy Abby's, it is the Amy Poehler-produced single-cam I Feel Bad. I am always very hesitant to make judgments on shows I haven't seen a second of, but it does seem noteworthy that NBC loaded up with four multi-camera comedy pilots and still couldn't get one of them into this timeslot. Fox rescue Brooklyn Nine-Nine also heads for midseason, where it should help NBC navigate a full season with multiple comedy hours a bit more gracefully than they did this year.


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Spot's Question: Which of the leftovers get Friday night?

Timeslot incumbent Blindspot returns, and indeed the summer 2017 drama Midnight, Texas made it into the fall. The Blacklist is slated to take over for Midnight, Texas in January.


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Spot's Question: Will we learn anything about midseason Sunday?

EDIT: Yes! NBC is planning on moving last summer's World of Dance into the midseason Sunday mix, alongside sophomore drama Good Girls.

Not yet, but let's see how the conference call goes. The 22-episode order and Friday plan for The Blacklist takes that off the table, at least.


Compared with last year's face-melting overhaul (much of which later got reversed), this is a rather safe and conservative effort out of NBC. The SVU / ChiFi flip was definitely not predicted, but it won't be that big a deal in the grand scheme. In the end, NBC still has the horses to put together a solid season with almost no help from the new shows, which is basically how 2017-18 played out. And simply trading out The Blacklist for Chicago Med (as well as Taken for The Blacklist on Friday) might offer real opportunities for improvement in the returnee world. It doesn't seem like a great sign for the depth of the new class that the network once again has only two new dramas and one new comedy up front. But if anyone can get away with it, it's NBC.

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