NBC’s fall schedule: Jimmy Smits, Kal Penn and Bradley Whitford headline new shows
In NBC's new "Bluff City Law," Jimmy Smits (center, "How to Get Away With Murder," "L.A. Law") returns to his legal-acting roots as a father who tries to reconnect with his lawyer daughter (Caitlin McGee, left, "Grey's Anatomy"). The series also stars Michael Luwoye (right, "The Gifted"). (Photo: NBC)
NBC is making few changes to its fall schedule, adding just two comedies and a lone drama as it banks on “Sunday Night Football,” “The Voice” and a trio of “Chicago” dramas. The conservative lineup – fueled by NBC’s top-rated status among its target young-adult audience – relocates just one comedy, “The Good Place,” to an anchor position at 9 EDT/PDT on Thursdays, and returns Tuesday’s “The Voice” episode to 9.
But fans of “Manifest,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Will and Grace,” “Good Girls” and “Blindspot” will have to wait for their returns: The five series won’t be back until midseason (“Brooklyn” for just 13 episodes), along with five more new shows.
New for fall: Jimmy Smits (“L.A. Law,” “How to Get Away with Murder”) stars in “Bluff City Law,” a family legal drama set in Memphis, Tennessee, in which a widowed father and his daughter reunite to fight social injustice.
"Sunnyside" (NBC): Kal Penn (center, "Designated Survivor") is Garrett Modi, a disgraced New York City Councilman who hopes to find redemption by helping people try to become American citizens. (Photo: Colleen Hayes, NBC)
Onetime NBC star Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”) returns in comedy “Perfect Harmony,” as a former Princeton music professor who takes over a small-town church choir. And Kal Penn co-created and stars in “Sunnyside,” about a disgraced New York City councilman who becomes an advocate for a group of immigrants dreaming of American citizenship.
As expected, the network renewed its top-rated series “This Is Us” for fourth, fifth and sixth seasons, which creator Dan Fogelman expects will mark the end of its run. (NBC won’t commit to an end date). The fifth season of “Blindspot” will be its last. The network won’t confirm the fate of “The Village” and “The Enemy Within” while both shows continue to air new episodes, but “AP Bio,” “Abby’s,” “I Feel Bad” and “Midnight, Texas” are not expected to return. Among reality series, “World of Dance” and “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” will be back, along with a new edition of “Little Big Shots,” hosted by Melissa McCarthy, and “Ellen’s Game of Games.”
For midseason, also look for “The Kenan Show,” a family comedy starring Kenan Thompson, who will keep his night job on “Saturday Night Live”; “Indebted,” starring Adam Pally as a married man whose broke parents (his mom is played by Fran Drescher) move in; “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” starring Jane Levy (“Suburgatory”) as a San Francisco computer coder; “Council of Dads,” about a man who seeks parenting backup from four pals following a health scare; and “Lincoln,” a drama starring Russell Hornsby inspired by best-selling novel “The Bone Collector.”
Bradley Whitford stars as a Princeton music professor who unexpectedly takes charge of a small-town church choir in new NBC comedy "Perfect Harmony." (Photo: NBC)
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NBC has been reliant on procedural dramas including the “Chicago” trio, “Law & Order: SVU” (which has just surpassed the original “Law & Order” as the longest-running series in the franchise), and “The Blacklist.” Its comedies “Brooklyn,” “Good Place” and “Superstore” are less popular but have larger digital audiences and give the network a creative sheen thanks to loyal fans and friendly critics.
NBC’s average TV audience is 7.3 million viewers this season, down 19% from last year and ranking second behind CBS, according to Nielsen figures. Among adults ages 18 to 49, NBC leads with 2.1 million, but is down 26%. But TV networks are increasingly reliant on digital ratings, which aren’t included in these totals.
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NBC’s fall schedule
New shows in bold; new time slots in italics.
Monday: 8, The Voice; 10, Bluff City Law
Tuesday: 8, The Voice; 9, This Is Us; 10, New Amsterdam
Wednesday: 8, Chicago Med; 9, Chicago Fire; 10, Chicago PD
Thursday: 8, Superstore; 8:30, Perfect Harmony; 9, The Good Place; 9:30, Sunnyside; 10, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Friday: 8, The Blacklist; 9, Dateline NBC
Saturday: 8, Dateline Saturday Night Mystery; 10, Saturday Night Live (repeats)
Sunday: 7, Football Night in America; 8:20, Sunday Night Football
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