The NBC 2011-2012 Primetime Schedule

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

MONDAY

8p – The Sing-Off (9/19) NT

10p – The Playboy Club (9/19) NS

TUESDAY

8p – The Biggest Loser (9/20)

10p – Parenthood (9/13)

WEDNESDAY

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

THURSDAY

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

FRIDAY

8p – Chuck (10/21) NT

9p – Grimm (10/21) NS

10p –Dateline NBC (9/23)

SUNDAY

7p – Football Night in America

8:15p – NBC Sunday Night Football

SPECIAL SCHEDULING NOTE

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.

THOUGHTS ON RETURNING SHOWS

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.

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW PROGRAMS

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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2011-12 Season Disclaimers

09/12/2011 at 11:32 pm | Posted in iamnoahjames.com, Net/Spec | 1 Comment
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As I delve into the networks’ 2011-2012 line-up over the next few days, I thought it would be best to explain a few things.  This way, I don’t have to repeat myself.  If you have any questions – or think I’ve missed a few things – please email or reply in the comments.

For the new season, I will be starting with The CW (since The Ringer starts tomorrow).  However, I will not be including The CW in the network comparison posts.  This is not a diss to the network that CBS/WB built.  I won’t include it because The CW’s metric for programming and their shows’ success/failure isn’t the same as the Big Four.  The CW doesn’t base renewal/cancelation decisions completely on ratings.  Their (CBS & CW) primary goal is to produce original content in order to sell it into global syndication.  As long as they don’t lose money in the process, they typically keep the show on. 

In fact, they are notorious for bundling more popular shows with lower performers – this gives the global stations better deals on buying two shows – but has caused some friction with executive producers of some shows.  The Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (who adapted Smallville, and were the showrunners for the first 7 seasons)  actually sued, claiming that they were owed more than half of the residuals on global sales, since the stations were only buying the lower rated show because it was bundled with the hugely popular Smallville – had Smallville been sold separately, they claimed the other show wouldn’t have been.

Alfred Gough & Miles Millar

Regardless, as of this posting, the system has been working well for both co-owners.  They do tend to cancel the lowest rated of the shows – not counting Friday shows (which we will discuss soon) – but that tends to be the only time they look at Nielsen.

Moving on from CW…

I will be including premiere dates for the shows in the network specific posts – but not the Network v. Network daily breakdown ones.

For the new shows, some will be described using known properties (you’ll know what I mean when you read The CW post).  This is not a dig at the show for being unoriginal.  In fact, most of your favorite shows and movies were pitched to studios and executives using other shows/movies to create an instant picture.  You only have a little time to pitch your idea, and you have to be able to make the tone as vivid as you can to get the top brass excited.  A murky pitch does not get a show greenlit.

I might repeat this when I address the Friday schedule, but oh well.  The fact is that all four of the big networks have scripted dramas on that night.  Other than Fringe and Chuck (who are on Fridays to let them run their course), the ONLY reason networks put scripted shows on the night with the lowest weekly viewership is for advertiser dollars.  Advertisers still don’t spend as much on reality/unscripted shows as they do scripted – unless a proven entity like Survivor or American Idol – so networks try and grab as much of the money up for grabs as they can.  So what happens when that show usually get cancelled, but the advertisers paid for more episodes of it?  Same thing that happens when a show doesn’t perform as well as promised to advertisers: Makegoods – meaning they get those (ratings) points made good by the network airing free spots on other programs.

Finally, I will not be covering midseason shows (except possibly FOX).  I’ve found that a good chunk of those new programs either come-and-go, get pushed back to being burned off on the summer schedule, or get shelved – so there’s not much reason to invest time in them until they actually see the light of day.  FOX is an exception because – due to American Idol – their midseason schedule has been known to be drastically different than their fall one. 

Without further ado, I will start the new 2011-2012 schedule breakdown for each network.  This will be followed by addressing each day of the week (minus Saturdays) and predicting which network will win in the prime demos – A18-49 and Households.  Feel free to join in the prediction/analysis fun!

FOX Announces Changes a Week Before May Upfronts

05/11/2011 at 11:22 pm | Posted in iamnoahjames.com, Net/Spec | Leave a comment
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Next week, FOX has their May upfront presentation – but that didn’t stop them from announcing some shows that will not return next year a week early!

FOX has officially cancelled The Chicago Code, Breaking In, Human Target, Traffic Light, and Lie to Me.

Of course House was renewed for an 8th season (the official press release is below).  Not a surprise there, but I’d be curious to find out who won in the negotiations between FOX and NBCU (who produces the show).

New shows that have been picked up to series for next season are The Finder (Bones spin-off), Alcatraz (a JJ Abrams project), comedy I Hate My Teenage Daughter, & The New Girl.

Here’s the House press release:

PROGNOSIS GOOD FOR “HOUSE” AS HIT SERIES IS RENEWED FOR EIGHTH SEASON

All-New Episode Airs Monday, May 16, on FOX

FOX has renewed the hit series HOUSE for an eighth season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“Over the past seven seasons, HOUSE has redefined the medical drama and has given us one of television’s most compelling and iconic characters,” said Reilly. “From the producers to the incredible writers to the unbelievably talented cast and crew, the HOUSE team is fearless in its creativity and I can’t wait to see what they have in store next year.”

In the all-new “After Hours” episode, airing Monday, May 16 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX, THIRTEEN’s (Olivia Wilde) ex-con friend, DARRIEN (guest star Amy Landecker), arrives at Thirteen’s apartment unannounced and in need of urgent medical attention. When she finds out that her friend has relapsed into drug use, Thirteen promises not to take her to the hospital where the cops could find her and instead turns to CHASE (Jesse Spencer) in desperation. Meanwhile, HOUSE (Hugh Laurie) deals with devastating information, and TAUB (Peter Jacobson) begins to come to terms with surprising news.

HOUSE is an innovative take on the medical drama in which the villain is a medical malady and the hero is an irreverent, controversial doctor who trusts no one, least of all his patients. The series is from Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with Universal Media Studios. Katie Jacobs, David Shore, Paul Attanasio, Bryan Singer, Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner, Thomas L. Moran, Greg Yaitanes and Hugh Laurie are executive producers. Become a fan of the series on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/house and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/houseonfox (@houseonfox).

American Dad Renewed…But Not for Next Season

02/24/2011 at 4:20 pm | Posted in iamnoahjames.com, Net/Spec | Leave a comment
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Well, it hasn’t been renewed for next season because it already was.

American Dad has been renewed by FOX for a 7th season, who will air the 22-episode order during the 2012-2013 season.

Due to the long process of animating the show, FOX had already renewed American Dad for the 2011-2012 season last year.

Here’s the press release:

GOOD MORNING, U.S.A.! IT’S GONNA BE A WONDERFUL DAY!

 

American Dad” RENEWED FOR SEVENTH TERM

 

Emmy-nominated Animation Domination staple American Dad has been renewed for a seventh season, bringing the series through the 2012-2013 season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“This is fantastic news,” said Roger the Alien. “But you do realize I’m not real, right?”

American Dad follows the lives of ultra-conservative, staunch GOP supporter and CIA agent STAN SMITH (Seth MacFarlane) and his eccentric family that includes FRANCINE (Wendy Schaal), his ditzy-but-lovable wife; HAYLEY (Rachael MacFarlane), his 18-year-old left-wing hippie daughter; STEVE (Scott Grimes), his geeky, 14-year-old son; ROGER (Seth MacFarlane), the selfish and sarcastic cross-dressing space alien; and KLAUS (Dee Bradley Baker), an attention-starved goldfish. The fan-favorite series airs Sundays (7:30-8:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Expect lots of hijinks from the Smiths this spring! Roger attempts to make Steve a “cool kid” by letting him drive other kids around in a tractor, but the plan quickly backfires. Meanwhile, Francine gets a job at Stan’s office, but she cramps his style; and Roger starts dressing like a teenage girl and quickly seduces Steve’s best friend, SNOT (guest voice Curtis Armstrong). Upcoming guest voices for this season include Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Burt Reynolds and Grammy Award winner Cee-Lo Green.

American Dad is a 20th Century Fox Television production. Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman serve as co-creators and executive producers, while Kenny Schwartz, Rick Wiener and Nahnatchka Khan serve as executive producers. Become a fan of American Dad on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americandad and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/americandadfox.

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