NEW YORK -- In a time long removed from Michael Scott and must-see TV,
The network on Monday unveiled its programming for the year ahead during its annual upfront presentation at
The network is seeking to climb out of a prime-time ratings hole that saw it finish in the basement during February sweeps, behind even Spanish-language
"It was a bit of a roller-coaster season for us, but I think we ultimately made really good progress," NBC Entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt told the reporters and advertisers in the theater.
In a bid to climb back this fall, the network plans to premiere three new Thursday comedies -- "Welcome to the Family," Hayes' "Sean Saves The World" and "The Michael J. Fox Show" -- beginning at 8:30 p.m. (A fourth comedy, returning niche favorite "Parks & Recreation," will receive a new time slot at 8 p.m.; cult favorite
In his multi-camera sitcom, Hayes plays a gay divorced dad who is trying to parent his adolescent daughter with the unwanted help of his sharp-tongued mother (Linda Lavin). Fox, returning to a regular series role for the first time since "Spin City," riffs off a version of himself as newscaster
The shows follow "Welcome to the Family," a culture-clash comedy about white and Latino families thrust together when their teenage children become a couple and the girl finds out she’s pregnant.
The shows replace departing sitcoms that include
"We think the audience is ready for something uplifting," said NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke, explaining executives' thinking behind the family theme, which NBC will double down on by moving the modestly viewed but critically admired "Parenthood" to 10 p.m.
On the dramatic side, the strongest response came for "The Blacklist,” a show starring James Spader as one of the
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The network is to premiere the series behind the juggernaut that is
Post-apocalyptic hit "Revolution, which previously benefited from the strong lead of the singing competition show on Mondays, will move to Wednesday, where at 8 p.m. it will anchor a bloc that includes long-running procedural "Law & Order: SVU" as well as the new "Ironside," a reboot of the detective-in-a-wheelchair show starring Blair Underwood.
"For those of you who remember Raymond Burr as a detective in his wheelchair on the late 1960s, you can forget all about it," Salke said, citing this version as featuring an "edgy detective."
Other fall hourlongs include a limited-run "Dracula" starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as the
For midseason, the network plans to offer two new Tuesday comedies to compete against Fox’s strong comedy bloc. They include “About a Boy,” a new take on the
Generating perhaps the most anticipation for NBC’s midseason schedule is its Sunday bloc, with kidnapped-kids drama “Crisis” and the latest J.J. Abrams TV creation, "Believe," about a young girl with possible supernatural powers. “Believe” was among the better-received promos at the network's presentation.
NBC has the benefit of the Sochi Olympics for its midseason programming, essentially creating a second launch pad.
Other shows that were touted include competition series such as the Jane Lynch-hosted "Hollywood Game Night" and the real-time audience-participation "Million Dollar Quiz," as well as yet-unscheduled dramas, including the "ER-meets-Scrubs" hourlong "The Night Shift," set at a Texas hospital, and, speaking of "Scrubs," the new Bill Lawrence comedy "Undateable," about a group of schlubs who try to become Lotharios.
NBC executives at Radio City also offered details on the handoff of
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"We owe a great debt of gratitude to Leno," Greenblatt said, seeking to tamp down controversy after the comedian has been taking pokes at his employer the past several months. "He's always been a gentleman and a great supporter of this network."
In a bid to reassure that this time the switch at the "Tonight Show" was peaceful and permanent, a video presentation then had Fallon singing a
On the sports side, the network touted its Olympics coverage with plenty of shots of
Reaction to the network's presentation was generally subdued, with several exceptions: Promos for the Olympics and "Blacklist" elicited the more enthusiastic responses.
New (and now canceled shows) including