NBC is not into change very much this upcoming season, to put it conservatively.
Sure, the network has Melissa McCarthy taking over hosting duties from Steve Harvey for the fourth season of Little Big Shots in the upcoming season, and Will & Grace and last year’s breakout manifest are both pushed back to midseason. And, yes, there’s now a Mike Schur hour on Thursdays with more of the producer’s The Good Place and his new comedy Sunnyside.
Otherwise, with a scattering of newbies aside, most of the Comcast-owned net’s schedule for the 2019-20 season looks a lot like the season that is just about to end, a lot.
Or as NBC Entertainment co-chairs George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy said earlier today: “we came into this season from the vantage point of extreme stability, but without any complacency.”
With that noted, here is NBC’s fall 2019-20 schedule, followed by scheduling information, brief analysis and detailed descriptions of NBC’s new series.
NBC FALL 2019-20 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE)
8-10 P.M. — The Voice
10-11 P.M. — BLUFF CITY LAW
8-9 P.M. — The Voice
9-10 P.M. — This Is Us
10-11 P.M. — New Amsterdam
8-9 P.M. — Chicago Med
9-10 P.M. — Chicago Fire
10-11 P.M. — Chicago P.D.
8-8:30 P.M. — Superstore
8:30-9 P.M. — PERFECT HARMONY
9-9:30 P.M. — The Good Place
9:30-10 P.M. — SUNNYSIDE
10-11 P.M. — Law & Order: SVU
8-9 P.M. – The Blacklist
9-11 P.M — Dateline NBC
8-10 P.M. — Dateline Saturday Night Mystery
10-11 P.M. – Saturday Night Live (encores)
7-8:20 P.M. — Football Night in America
8:20-11 P.M. — NBC Sunday Night Football
Taking a 30,000 feet perspective on NBC’s new schedule the overwhelming take-away has to be, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it for the top-rated net.
The secondary conclusion is play to your strengths, literally. Without any doubt, SNF is back to own Sundays and, by blast radius, the rest of the week. Add to that, NBC has the Summer Olympics coming out of Tokyo next year and you can see why the net loves to emphasize its 52-week strategy when it comes to programming.
In a more tactical vein, the comedy centric network has a small change on Mondays this fall with the debut of the Jimmy Smits-led legal drama Bluff City Law but Tuesday remains entirely unchanged with The Voice, the multi-season renewed This Is Us and New Amsterdam, which premiered last year. In another case of “second verse, same as the first,” Wednesdays is still all Windy City with Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. in the same time slots they were in the 2018-2019 run.
Thursday has the most changes at this point for NBC with the Bradley Whitford and Anna Camp starring sitcom Perfect Harmony, then that Mike Schur hour with the fourth season of The Good Place and new comedy Sunnyside with Designated Survivor alum and former real-life White House aide Kai Penn in the 9 – 10 PM slot.
About to launch a record breaking 21st season, Law & Order: SUV stays pegged on Thursday for the second season in a row, as does Superstore, bookending the night.
Friday is completely as it was with a seventh season of The Blacklist and a two-hour Dateline.
There’s new leadership at the top of NBC this year, but as the still top-rated show on all of the small screen and an “amazing platform” for promotion, as was mentioned on this morning’s upfront call, Sunday Night Football obviously isn’t going anywhere – especially after witnessing rising ratings this almost past season.
As for shifting the second season of the Will & Grace revival and manifest‘s second season to midseason launches in 2020, NBC Entertainment co-chairs admitted they are playing a long game.
“manifest is very strong digitally with a huge viewer engagement and I think it will sustain,” said Paul Telegdy on the Mother’s Day morning call of the longer hiatus of the Jeff Rake hit supernatural series that ended its first season in February. “The scheduling will provide the series with a continuous run and no breaks in the storyline that will keep people engaged,” added George Cheeks, noting the same plan for the Eric McCormack and Debra Messing-led sitcom that returned in September 2017 after over 11 years off the air.
Now NBC has shown its cards, the newly streamlined and very sports heavy Fox will unveil its schedule tomorrow with ABC on Tuesday. Also with somewhat new leadership of its own this year and no Les Moonves to play ringmaster, CBS lays out its programming hopes and dreams on Wednesday.
In the meantime, here are what NBC’s new shows are all about.
2019-20 SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
NEW COMEDY SERIES
INDEBTED — Young parents Dave and Rebecca are ready to reclaim their life after years of diapers and sleepless nights. However, things take an unexpected turn when Dave’s parents show up unannounced and broke, leaving Dave with no choice but to open the door to the people who gave him everything. But these boomerang parents aren’t great with boundaries and the question of who’s parenting who quickly becomes blurred in this multi-generational comedy starring Fran Drescher and Adam Pally as mother and son. The cast includes Adam Pally, Abby Elliott, Steven Weber and Fran Drescher. Dan Levy will write and executive produce. Doug Robinson will executive produce. “Indebted” is produced by Sony Pictures Television in association with Doug Robinson Productions.
THE KENAN SHOW — In this family comedy, Kenan Thompson strives to be a super dad to his two adorable girls while simultaneously balancing his job and a father-in-law who “helps” in the most inappropriate ways. The cast includes Kenan Thompson, Punam Patel, Dani Lockett, Dannah Lockett and Andy Garcia. Jackie Clarke will write and executive produce. Chris Rock will direct and executive produce. Kenan Thompson, Lorne Michaels and Andrew Singer will executive produce. “The Kenan Show” is produced by Universal Television in association with Broadway Video.
PERFECT HARMONY — Bradley Whitford stars in this comedy about finding inspiration in the most unlikely places. When former Princeton music professor Arthur Cochran unexpectedly stumbles into choir practice at a small-town church, he finds a group of singers that are out of tune in more ways than one. Despite the ultimate clash of sensibilities, Arthur and his newfound cohorts may just be the perfect mix of individuals to help each other reinvent and rediscover a little happiness, just when they all need it most. The cast includes Bradley Whitford, Anna Camp, Tymberlee Hill, Rizwan Manji, Will Greenberg, Geno Segers and Spencer Allport. Lesley Wake Webster will write and executive produce. Jason Winer will direct and executive produce. Bradley Whitford, Adam Anders and Jon Radler will executive produce. “Perfect Harmony” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Small Dog Picture Company.
SUNNYSIDE — Garrett Modi was living the American Dream. As the youngest New York City Councilman ever, he was rubbing elbows with the political elite, attending star-studded parties and was the pride of Queens. But instead of spending his time in ofﬁce helping the people that got him elected, he lost his way amidst the power and glamour of politics. When his downward spiral got him busted for public intoxication (and downright stupidity), it was all caught on tape and ended his career. Now, Garrett’s crashing with his sister, Mallory, and wondering where it all went wrong. That is, until he’s hired by a diverse group of hopefuls who dream of becoming American citizens and believe he can help – giving him a new sense of purpose and a chance for redemption, as long as he remembers where he came from. The cast includes Kal Penn, Diana Maria Riva, Joel Kim Booster, Kiran Deol, Poppy Liu, Moses Storm and Samba Schutte. Kal Penn and Matt Murray will write and executive produce. Michael Schur will be supervising executive producer. David Miner and Dan Spilo will executive produce. “Sunnyside” is produced by Universal Television in association with Fremulon and 3 Arts Entertainment.
NEW DRAMA SERIES
BLUFF CITY LAW — Coming from a famous Memphis family known for taking on injustice, brilliant lawyer Sydney Strait used to work at her father Elijah’s celebrated law firm until their tumultuous relationship got in the way. After barely speaking to him for years, Sydney is suddenly thrust back into the family fold when her philanthropist mother passes away unexpectedly. In the wake of her loss, hoping to reconnect with the daughter he loves, Elijah asks Sydney to rejoin his ﬁrm. She agrees because despite her lingering resentment and distrust, she knows that working alongside her father is her best hope at changing the world … if they can ever get along. The cast includes Jimmy Smits, Caitlin McGee, Scott Shepherd, Barry Sloane, Michael Luwoye, MaameYaa Boafo, Stony Blyden and Jayne Atkinson. Dean Georgaris will write and executive produce. Michael Aguliar and David Janollari will executive produce. “Bluff City Law” is produced by Universal Television in association with David Janollari Entertainment.
COUNCIL OF DADS — When Scott, a loving father of four, has his entire life’s plan thrown into upheaval by an unexpected health scare, he calls on a few of his closest allies to step in as back-up dads for every stage of his growing family’s life. Scott assembles a trusted group of role models that includes Anthony, his oldest friend; Larry, his AA sponsor; and Oliver, his surgeon and best friend to his wife, Robin. These men agree to devote themselves to supporting and guiding Scott’s amazing family through all the triumphs and challenges life has to offer – just in case he ever can’t be there to do so himself. The cast includes Sarah Wayne Callies, Clive Standen, Tom Everett Scott, J. August Richards, Blue Chapman, Emjay Anthony, Michele Weaver, Thalia Tran, Steven Silver and Michael O’Neill. Tony Phelan & Joan Rater will write and executive produce. Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed will executive produce. James Oh and Bruce Feiler will produce. “Council of Dads” is produced by Universal Television in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Midwest Livestock Productions.
LINCOLN — Inspired by the best-selling book “The Bone Collector,” former NYPD detective and forensic genius Lincoln Rhyme was at the top of his game until a serious accident at the hands of a notorious serial killer forces him out of the field. When Amelia Sachs, an intuitive young officer who’s got her own gift for proﬁling, finds herself hot on the killer’s trail, Rhyme in turn finds a partner for this new game of cat and mouse. As the unlikely detective duo joins forces to crack the city’s most confounding cases, they must also race to take down the enigmatic “Bone Collector” who brought them together. The cast includes Russell Hornsby, Arielle Kebbel, Brían F. O’Byrne, Tate Ellington, Courtney Grosbeck, Ramses Jimenez, Brooke Lyons, Roslyn Ruff and Michael Imperioli. VJ Boyd and Mark Bianculli will write and executive produce. Seth Gordon will direct and executive produce. Avi Nir, Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan will executive produce. “Lincoln” is produced by Universal Television and Sony Pictures Television and in association with Keshet Studios.
ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST — In this joyous and celebratory drama, Zoey Clarke is a whip-smart computer coder forging her way in San Francisco. After an unusual event she starts to hear the innermost wants and desires of the people around her through songs. At ﬁrst, she questions her own sanity but soon realizes this unwanted curse may just be an incredibly wonderful gift. The cast includes Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Peter Gallagher, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Carmen Cusack and Mary Steenburgen. Austin Winsberg will write and executive produce. Richard Shepard will direct and executive produce (pilot only). Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson, Kim Tannenbaum, Eric Tannenbaum, David Blackman and Daniel Inkeles will executive produce. “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is produced by Lionsgate in association with the Tannenbaum Company, FeigCo Entertainment and Universal Music Group.