New NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt knows he can't turn the Peacock network around overnight. That's why the executive is resisting the urge to throw two of his hottest properties — The Voice and the new Steven Spielberg musical drama Smash — on the air this fall.
Instead, Greenblatt describes NBC's fall 2011 schedule as building blocks for the future. On Mondays, the network is making its biggest surprise move, turning The Sing-Off (which aired during the holidays in 2009 and 2010) into a two-hour, weekly series and pairing it with new drama The Playboy Club.
Come midseason, The Voice will be back as a two-hour series on Mondays at 8 p.m., leading in to the much-anticipated debut of Smash at 10. Look for NBC to use the Super Bowl to help launch both series.
On Tuesdays, NBC is holding tight, preferring to stick with incumbents The Biggest Loser and Parenthood. The network is taking another gamble on Wednesdays, opening up the night with two new comedies: Up All Night, starring Christina Applegate, and Free Agents, with Hank Azaria. Harry's Law moves to Wednesdays at 9 p.m., followed by Law & Order: SVU.
NBC will revert to a two-hour comedy block on Thursdays with Community, Parks and Recreation and The Office (30 Rock sits on the bench until midseason). The new sitcom Whitney, starring comedian Whitney Cummings, gets the plum 9:30 p.m. slot behind The Office, while the Maria Bello-led Prime Suspect debuts at 10 p.m.
Chuck moves to Fridays at 8 p.m., followed by new fairy-tale-inspired series Grimm and Dateline NBC.
After Sunday Night Football completes its run, NBC will bring back The Celebrity Apprentice to Sundays and pair it with The Firm, a new drama based on the John Grisham novel, at 10.
Read my interview with NBC's Bob Greenblatt about his new fall strategy here.
NBC's Fall 2011-2012 Schedule
8-10 p.m. — The Sing-Off
10-11 p.m. — The Playboy Club (NEW)
8-10 p.m. — The Biggest Loser
10-11 p.m. — Parenthood
8-8:30 p.m. — Up All Night (NEW)
8:30-9 p.m. — Free Agents (NEW)
9-10 p.m. — Harry's Law
10-11 p.m.— Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
8-8:30 p.m. — Community
8:30-9 p.m. — Parks and Recreation
9-9:30 p.m. — The Office
9:30-10 p.m. — Whitney (NEW)
10-11 p.m. — Prime Suspect (NEW)
8-9 p.m. — Chuck
9-10 p.m. — Grimm (NEW)
10-11 p.m. — Dateline NBC
7- 8:15 p.m. — Football Night in America
8:15-11:30 p.m. — NBC Sunday Night Football