NBC plays it safe for the fall, launching three new shows

Kristen Bell and Ted Danson
This fall, Ted Danson returns to NBC in the new comedy “The Good Place,” costarring Kristen Bell.

NBC is taking a conservative approach to the launch of the 2016-17 TV season, adding just three new series — including a new sitcom starring Ted Danson — to its fall lineup.

The network has another eight scripted shows, including a spinoff of the hit drama “The Blacklist,” in the pipeline for mid-season.

“For the first time in a long time, we’re not throwing shows against the wall and hoping for the best,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said Sunday in a conference call announcing the new schedule.

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NBC limited the number of new shows to launch in the fall despite having the Summer Olympics in August. The Games have typically been a big promotional platform for new series. 

But Greenblatt said stability matters more in an era when viewers are inundated with program choices.

“Just because we have the Olympics doesn’t mean we should upend a schedule that’s working,” he said. “We didn’t need to do that.”

NBC will finish the 2015-16 TV prime-time season slightly behind first place CBS in viewers aged 18 to 49, the group most sought by advertisers. 


Greenblatt believed his network’s program development was the best he’s seen in five years. Having five freshman shows to return next season also helped NBC build a more stable schedule.

NBC will kick off the week with “The Voice”, which will return on Monday at 8 p.m., providing a lead-in to “Timeless,” an adventure series in which a scientist, soldier and history professor travel through time to pursue a criminal fugitive.

“It has real broad appeal,” Greenblatt said. “It’s one of the most high octane fun shows we can have after ‘The Voice.’”

The Tuesday edition of “The Voice” will precede "This Is Us,” a new ensemble drama from  “Crazy, Stupid, Love” writer Dan Fogelman that  stars Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia. “Chicago Fire” will return at 10 p.m.

NBC is moving “Blindspot” to Wednesday at 8 p.m.  “Law & Order: SVU” will follow at 9 p.m. and “Chicago P.D.” at 10 p.m.

NBC will lead Thursday off with comedy, a genre it once owned on the night. The network is bringing back “Superstore” at 8 p.m., followed by “The Good Place,” a new entry from “Parks and Recreation” creator Mike Schur that stars Danson and Kristen Bell. Bell plays a woman who mistakenly finds herself in the afterlife and looks to Danson’s character to correct the course of her life.

Greenblatt said the network sees an opportunity to pick up comedy viewers on the night during the weeks CBS airs “Thursday Night Football” and delays the launch of its sitcom line-up, which includes the top-rated “Big Bang Theory.”

NBC will move “Chicago Med"  to Thursday at 9 p.m. while “The Blacklist” shifts to 10 p.m.


Friday returns intact with “Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon,” “Grimm” and “Dateline NBC.” “Saturday Dateline Mysteries” and encores of “Saturday Night Live” will be back on Saturday.

On Sundays, NBC has “Sunday Night Football” for the first half of the season. In January, the network will return the Steve Harvey variety series “Little Big Shots”. The network is also adding a new drama, “Chicago Justice,” from producer Dick Wolf starring Carl Weathers, as well as the second season of “Shades of Blue,” the police drama starring Jennifer Lopez.

NBC cancelled the dramas “The Mysteries of Laura,” “Heartbeat” and “Game of Silence.” Three sitcoms, Eva Longoria’s “Telenovela,” “Undateable” and “Crowded” were also axed. “The Carmichael Show," the critically well-received comedy about an African American family and starring Jerrod Carmichael, has also been picked up for 13 episodes.

New shows picked up for mid-season include:

— “The Blacklist: Redemption,” the “Blacklist” spinoff in which undercover operative Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) and Grey Matters chief Scottie Hargrave (Famke Janssen) form a mother-and-son team to hunt deadly criminals. 

— “Emerald City,” a new take on the Wizard of Oz, staring Adria Arjona in the role of Dorothy. Vincent D’Onofrio is the Wizard.

— “Taken,” a prequel to the feature film that starred Liam Neeson. Bryan Mills stars as a younger version of Neeson’s CIA operative character.

— “Midnight, Texas,” based on a series of novels by Charlaine Harris, the author of the books adapted into HBO’s “True Blood. The new series is about supernatural events in a small Texas town.


— "Trial and Error,” a procedural legal drama set in a small town in the South with a cast that includes John Lithgow and Sherri Sheppard.

— “Marlon,” a comedy loosely based on star Marlon Wayans’ own life in which he rears his two children with his ex-wife.

— “Great News,” which stars Briga Heelan as a TV news producer whose station has hired her mother (Andrea Martin) as an intern.

— “Powerless,” a workplace comedy starring Vanessa Hudgens as an insurance adjuster who specializes in covering regular mortals against damage caused by superheroes and villains in the  DC Comics universe.


12:01 p.m.: This article was updated with information about the renewal of “The Carmichael Show." 

This article was originally published at 11:06 a.m.