The NBC 2011-2012 Primetime Schedule

09/18/2011 at 7:28 pm | Posted in, Net/Spec | 1 Comment
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Below is the 2011-2012 primetime schedule, including premiere dates:


8p – The Sing-Off (9/19) NT

10p – The Playboy Club (9/19) NS


8p – The Biggest Loser (9/20)

10p – Parenthood (9/13)


8p – Up All Night (9/14) NS

8:30p – Free Agents (9/14) NS

9p – Harry’s Law (9/21) NT

10p – Law & Order: SVU (9/21) NT


8p – Community (9/22)

8:30p – Parks & Recreation (9/22) NT

9p – The Office (9/22)

9:30p – Whitney (9/22) NS

10p – Prime Suspect (9/22) NS


8p – Chuck (10/21) NT

9p – Grimm (10/21) NS

10p –Dateline NBC (9/23)


7p – Football Night in America

8:15p – NBC Sunday Night Football


NS notates new series – NT notates a returning show moving to a new time period.

Saturday will be encore programming from during the week.

Due to Tina Fey’s pregnancy, 30 Rock’s sixth season won’t debut until midseason.

These last 13 episodes of Chuck will conclude the series.


NBC has done a great job wrapping new shows around their strong performers.  Judging by the brisk pace of The Sing-Off its first year (multiple installments a week for 2-3 weeks), I doubt they thought it would generate the amount of ratings it did.  So now they are doing what they should have done in the first place – running it for two hours once a week.  It isn’t really a great fit as lead-in for The Playboy Club, but it should help holdover a large number of viewers.

The Biggest Loser is NBC’s highest-rated unscripted program, and Parenthood always gets just enough ratings to justify renewals; so I see this as NBC wanting to keep Parenthood alive – since they could have understandably given Loser a new show as lead-out.  Jillian Michaels will no longer be on Loser, as she decided to scream at people on The Doctors this season instead.

Harry’s Law was like Parenthood last year; meaning, the ratings weren’t amazing, but good enough for renewal.  I personally believed it would have a better chance with SVU as its lead-in, and not the new NBC comedy block.  I’ll be interested to see what happens.  I will also be interested to see how big of a hit SVU takes when the two lead detectives are transitioned out and the two new actors take over.

For my viewing pleasure, I’m thrilled with the Community/Parks & Rec/The Office block.  Ratings-wise, it also makes sense.  Last season, Community held its own against Big Bang, and managed to keep its audience even when American Idol emerged midseason.  As for The Office – NBC’s highest-rated scripted show – I will be interested to watch the ratings now that Michael Scott is gone.


The Playboy Club – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“From Academy Award-winning executive producer Brian Grazer, “The Playboy Club” is a provocative new drama about a time and place that challenged the social mores, where a visionary entrepreneur created an empire and an icon changed American culture. It’s the early ‘60s, and the legendary Playboy Club in Chicago is the door to all of your fantasies — and the key is the most sought-after status symbol of its kind. Inside the seductive world of the bunny, the epitome of beauty and service, the clientele rubs shoulders with the decade’s biggest mobsters, politicos and entertainers. Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, “CSI: Miami”) is one of the city’s top attorneys and the ultimate playboy, rubbing elbows with everyone in the city’s power structure. With mysterious ties to the mob, Nick comes to the aid of Maureen (Amber Heard, “Zombieland”), the stunning and innocent new bunny who accidentally kills the leader of the Bianchi crime family. Dating Nick is Carol-Lynne (Laura Benanti, “Take the Lead”), a bombshell and established star at the club who knows her days as a bunny are numbered and finds herself continually at odds with Billy (David Krumholtz, ”Numb3rs”), the club’s general manager. Adding to the charm of The Playboy Club is Janie (Jenna Dewan Tatum, “American Virgin”), the carefree life of the party who is dating Max (Wes Ramsey, “CSI: Miami”), an overly protective bartender. Also starring are Naturi Naughton (“Fame”) and Leah Renee (“True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet”). In addition to Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind,” “American Gangster”), the executive producers on “The Playboy Club” include Chad Hodge (“Tru Calling”), Francie Calfo (“Scoundrels”), Jason Burns (“The House Bunny”) and Dick Rosenzweig (“Kendra”). Hodge also wrote the pilot, which was directed by Alan Taylor (“Mad Men,” “The Sopranos”). The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Mad Men feel/look/tone/time period, etc – but in The Playboy Club.  This is actually one of TWO shows trying to tap into Mad Men’s appeal (the other is on ABC). 

So will this show succeed? I’m not convinced.  Part of it is the time slot – Monday at 10p.  With Castle on ABC and Hawaii Five-O on CBS, I wonder what rating it will have to average for NBC to be happy with continually being in 3rd place.  The other part is the fact that this show was created because Mad Men is “successful” – however, the success is critical and not ratings-wise.  I’ll be interested to see if NBC can succeed in something Mad Men can’t – getting decent ratings.

Up All Night – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“From Emily Spivey (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”) and legendary Emmy Award-winning producer Lorne Michaels, comes “Up All Night,” a modern take on Parenthood that shows the challenges of balancing a career, marriage and a new baby. Christina Applegate (“Samantha Who?”) stars as Reagan, a successful public relations executive, and Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) plays Chris, Reagan’s supportive, stay-at-home husband. The two have just become parents – a surprise that has set their lives on a new path as responsible adults — for the most part. Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bridesmaids”) stars as Ava, Reagan’s outlandish boss and best friend, whose whirlwind social escapades serve as constant reminders of Reagan’s former carefree life. James Pumphrey (“High Road”) portrays Brian, Reagan’s socially Awkward hipster assistant. “Up All Night” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Broadway Video. Spivey is the creator and serves as executive producer along with Michaels and Jon Pollack (NBC’s “30 Rock”).”

Let me simplify this for you: Mr. Mom meets new parents trying to raise a baby while also managing the attention-hungry, selfish, Oprah-like boss.  The jokes /stories will be centered on outside elements stretching the couples thin – mostly Applegate’s character, who has to steer the ship at her office too.

So will this show succeed?  While I didn’t care for the pilot that much (Maya’s character was too abrasive), that doesn’t mean anything.  A lot of shows get notes and retool after the pilot.  What’s working against it is launching a new night/block of comedy for NBC that also includes another new series.  However, with Lorne Michaels as an Executive Producer, this show might be given more time to breathe.  Going against Survivor isn’t doing it any favors either.

Free Agents – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“A crooked workplace/romantic new comedy from creator John Enbom (“Party Down”) and Emmy Award-winning director Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”) based on the cult U.K. series of the same name that explores the trials and tribulations of two public relations executives on the rebound. Alex (Hank Azaria, “The Simpsons,” “Huff”) is newly divorced and can barely keep himself together while his co-worker Helen (Kathryn Hahn, “Hung”) thinks she has it together but is obsessed with her deceased fiancé and actually is falling apart. Then a drunken Alex and Helen end up in bed together, and in the resulting sober confusion, Helen decides that they should only be friends. Meanwhile Alex’s co-workers, Dan (Mo Mandel, “Love Bites,” “Modern Family”) and Gregg (Al Madrigal, “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Gary, Unmarried”), and Stephen (Anthony Head, “Merlin,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) fail in their attempts to help him get back out on the dating scene. When Alex finally agrees to a date, Helen gets a little jealous, and he gets cold feet, so they end up back where they started — in a casual, intimate and beautifully Awkward relationship. Also starring is Joe Lo Truglio (“Backwash,” “Mad Love”) and Natasha Leggero (“Ugly Americans,” “’Til Death”). “Free Agents” is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with Dark Toy and Big Talk Productions. Enbom is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Holland. Karey Burke (“Miss/Guided”) executive-produces, along with Big Talk Productions’ Kenton Allen (“Free Agents,” BBC Network) and Nira Park, as well as Chris Niel.”

Let me simplify this for you:  I can’t.  I really know very little about this show.  From everything I’ve seen on it, it seems like a sitcom vehicle for Hank Azaria.

Will this show survive?  Probably not.  It’s in the same boat as Up All Night, since it’s the second sitcom on the new NBC Wednesday comedy block.  However, unlike Night, Lorne Michael is NOT attached – so expect the show to get canned if it doesn’t match Night in ratings (NBC has many sitcoms on deck for replacements).  If it does get cancelled, Hank will be alright; he makes $600,000/episode on The Simpsons.

Whitney – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“A hilarious look at modern love, “Whitney” is a new multi-camera comedy series about Whitney (Whitney Cummings, “Chelsea Lately”) and Alex (Chris D’Elia, “Glory Daze”), a happily unmarried couple. Together for five years, the duo is in no rush to get hitched. However, after attending yet another one of their friends’ weddings, Whitney realizes that she and Alex are dangerously close to relationship boredom. Determined not to let that happen, Whitney consults her close circle of opinionated girlfriends — including Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, “The Other Guys”) and Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, “The Starter Wife”) — and then snaps into action. A few Awkward sexy costumes and one botched seductive evening later, the couple ends up in the emergency room. Even so, Whitney and Alex realize that while their relationship might not be perfect on paper, they really do love each other — and that works for them. Also starring are Maulik Pancholy (NBC’s “30 Rock”) as Lily’s perfect boyfriend, and Dan O’Brien (“How I Met Your Mother”) as an eternal bachelor. “Whitney” is produced by Universal Media Studios and Scott Stuber Productions. Stuber (“The Break Up”), Quan Phung, Betsy Thomas (“My Boys”) and Barry Katz (“Last Comic Standing”) are executive producers. Cummings also serves as executive producer/writer. Andy Ackerman (“Seinfeld,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is an executive producer and directed the pilot.”

Let me simplify this for you:  A “fresh” take on relationship comedy (I use quotations because studios always use “fresh” to make it sound completely original).  Whitney Cummings actually created this herself, so that’s impressive.  I just hope her attitude doesn’t delve too deep into Roseanne’s. 

Will this show survive?  NBC seems to want it to – since it has The Office as its lead-in.  Last season, Outsourced got great ratings by retaining most of the audience from The Office; however, once Outsourced moved from being The Office’s lead-out, its ratings tanked – getting it cancelled by May.  So I suspect if Whitney stays at 9:30 and maintains a majority of the viewers, it should be fine.

Prime Suspect – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“Based on the critically acclaimed British television series of the same name, “Prime Suspect” has been redeveloped for American audiences by writer Alexandra Cunningham (“Desperate Housewives,” “NYPD Blue”), director Peter Berg (NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”) — and stars Maria Bello (“A History of Violence”) as tough-as-nails Detective Jane Timoney. Timoney finds that being a homicide detective in New York City is tough enough and having to contend with a male-dominated police department to get respect makes it that much tougher. She’s an outsider who has just transferred to a new precinct dominated by an impenetrable clique of a boys’ club. Timoney has her own vices too — with a questionable past — and she tends to be forceful, rude and reckless. But she’s also a brilliant cop who keeps her eye on one thing: the Prime Suspect. Also starring are Aidan Quinn (“Unknown”), Brian O’Byrne (“Flash Forward”), Tim Griffin (“Star Trek”), Kirk Acevedo (“Fringe“), Joe Nieves (“How I Met Your Mother“), Damon Gupton (“The Last Airbender”) and Peter Gerety (“Blue Bloods“). “Prime Suspect” is produced by Universal Media Studios, ITV and Film 44. Cunningham is the executive producer/writer along with executive producer/director Berg and executive producers Sarah Aubrey, Julie Meldal-Johnson, Paul Buccieri and Lynda LaPlante.”

Let me simplify this for you:  UK-imported show about a tough-as-nails female cop who has to prove herself with all the men.  Oh, and she’s better than the other cops.

Will this show survive?  I don’t know.  NBC wants it to, since they are paying Bello $125,000/episode; but NBC has been getting crushed on Thursday’s 10p time period – so it isn’t looking like a sure bet.

Grimm – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“A new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm‘s Fairy Tales. Remember the fairy tales your parents used to tell you before bedtime? Those weren’t stories — they were warnings. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli “Turn The Beat Around”) thought he prepared himself for the realities of working as a homicide detective until he started seeing things he couldn’t quite explain. When his ailing Aunt Marie (guest star Kate Burton, “Grey’s Anatomy”) arrives, Nick’s life turns upside down when she reveals they are descendants of an elite group of hunters, also known as “Grimms,” who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world. As Nick digs deeper into her past, he realizes that he will have to shoulder the responsibility of his ancestors — and contend with a larger-than-life mythology of the Brothers Grimm that is now all too real. Russell Hornsby (“Lincoln Heights”), Bitsie Tulloch (“Quarterlife”), Silas Weir Mitchell (“Prison Break”), Reggie Lee (“Persons Unknown”) and Sasha Roiz (“Caprica”) also star. “Grimm” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Hazy Mills Productions. Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner (“Hot In Cleveland”) serve as executive producers, Jim Kouf (“National Treasure,” “Angel”) and David Greenwalt (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel”) are the creators/executive producers and Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) is the director.

Let me simplify this for you:  The Brothers Grimm (movie) meets Supernatural meets The X-Files.

Will this show survive?  Probably not.  Fridays are usually where shows go to die, or – like Chuck & Fringe – where low-rated-but-loved shows go to conclude their run.  But listen, I’m rooting for this show.  I love Supernatural and The X-Files (still haven’t seen Brothers Grimm), so this sounds like it could be pretty cool.  But looking at historical data, I’m not convinced it will survive.

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  1. Friday September, 28th, 2012, “Grimm” has increased its adult 18-49 rating by 1.14 points going from “live plus same day” ratings to “live plus three day” results from Nielsen Media Research (from a 1.58 to a 2.72). The 1.14 increase is “Grimm’s” biggest gain ever going from L SD to L 3. The 2.72 is “Grimm’s” highest L 3 rating since the show’s second season premiere on Monday, Aug. 13.

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