Having already announced the new series that they would be airing in the fall, the veiling of NBC's unveiling of its 2010-2011 television schedule today contained few surprises. It is, however, a markedly different schedule than what the network showcased last year. As we all remember, that schedule heavily relied on Jay Leno airing in primetime, a daring move for NBC which ended up causing the Peacock network nothing but headaches.That is not to say that the schedule we were delivered today is in any way conservative. The fall schedule features changes on four nights of the week (out of six, as Saturdays are now forever repeats). If one then discounts the fact that Sundays on NBC are entirely devoted to football, only one night of their schedule has remained unchanged from the Spring, Tuesdays, with its combination of two hours of The Biggest Loser followed by Parenthood. NBC's fall schedule, as unveiled today, is as follows:
The new dramas this year (in bold) are The Event, Chase, Undercovers, Law & Order: Los Angeles, and Outlaw. NBC will be launching two new comedies in the fall, the half-hour Outsourced and the hour-long Love Bites airing back-to-back on Thursdays. The network does, of course, have other more scripted and non-scripted programs waiting in the wings (like a new Paul Reiser comedy) and a bunch of shows from this season that will be returning later in the season (The Celebrity Apprentice, The Marriage Ref), but for now, let's just look at the starting lineup (when we know more about the launch of the other shows we'll of course bring our info to you). It should be noted that while Who Do You Think You Are? is shown here in the table, it will be "splitting" the timeslot with School Pride, a reality show in which students, staff, and volunteers renovate their school in 10 days.
|7:00||Football Pregame (until 8:15)|
|8:00||NFL Football||Chuck||The Biggest Loser||Undercovers||Community||Who Do You Think You Are?||Encores|
|9:00||The Event||Law & Order: SVU||The Office||Dateline
|10:00||Chase||Parenthood||Law & Order: Los Angeles||Love Bites||Outlaw|
The Event, featuring an ensemble cast led by Jason Ritter, Blair Underwood, Zeljko Ivanek, and Laura Innes, is about a mysterious cover-up that even the President has been kept out of the loop on. As you may have expected, POTUS (Underwood) is unhappy about that situation. Jason Ritter plays the average Joe Schmo who has found out the truth… "a secret so powerful it could literally change the course of humanity." Oh yes, literally change the course of humanity.
In Chase, NBC will be delivering a new Jerry Bruckheimer produced drama. Along with what is sure to be some flashy editing, viewers will get to watch Kelli Giddish star as U.S. Marshal from Texas who wears cowboy boots. She, along with her team (Cole Hauser, Amaury Nolasco, Rose Rollins, and Jesse Metcalfe), tracks down violent criminals. With any luck she'll be discussing a hard target search of every residence, gas station, farmhouse, henhouse, doghouse, and outhouse in the area on a regular basis.
Wednesday evening's will be opening with J.J. Abrams' new series, Undercovers. Starring Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a married couple who pretend to be mild-mannered folks, but secretly retired from the spy game when the met five years back. Their old boss (Gerald McRaney) convinces them to get back in the game though when their spy-friend goes missing. One assumes that even if they rescue their friend in the pilot they'll maintain their spying ways in the episodes to come.
Though the original Law & Order won't be returning in the fall, the franchise will feature a new entry – Law & Order: Los Angeles. It will focus itself on the Robbery Homicide Division of the LAPD (which was depicted on the short-lived 2002 CBS show, Robbery Homicide Division). With New York City having played such a huge role in every other Law & Order entry, it is unclear whether viewers will take a shine to such a massive location change for this new series. Additionally, with the original entry gone, and the last successful Law & Order series, Criminal Intent, having launched in 2001 it will be interesting to see whether the title Law & Order will be enough to convince audiences to tune in.
The last new drama on the network's fall schedule is Outlaw and features Jimmy Smits' return to NBC after starring in the CBS drama Cane in the fall of 2007 (and appearing on one season of Showtime's Dexter). Smits plays Cyrus Garza a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who resigns from the court and opts to return to private practice to help the "little guy." And, just for good measure, Garza is a playboy and a gambler who has had a "strict interpretation" of the law.
Heading to the comedy side of things, NBC will be featuring the new 30 minute comedy Outsourced on Thursdays at 9:30. The series stars Ben Rappaport as a company manager who gets sent to India to train the staff of a new call center the company has opened there. Billed as "hilarious culture clash," the series may have to walk a fine line so as to ensure that it doesn't offend a growing minority community within the States with its depiction of the subcontinent.
The last new program that will launch with the fall lineup is Love Bites, an hour-long comedy anthology series. Appearing every week will be Becki Newton and Jordana Spiro as two single women whose friends are all married, while other characters will come and go on a weekly basis. Each episode is billed as containing "multiple vignettes" and "three loosely connected, modern stories of love, sex, marriage, and dating."
NBC's fall lineup is filled with new shows from big name producers and featuring big name stars. It's a relatively aggressive new lineup from a network which has now had several seasons in a row of poor ratings. As every network executive knows however, it only takes one great new program to help resuscitate an entire lineup, and the executives at NBC are surely hoping that one of these shows fits the bill.
There are brief promos currently available on the NBC website of all the new shows, so we'll just include one here, the J.J. Abrams executive-produced Undercovers (the pilot for which he also directed). Lastly, fans of Parks and Recreation should note that the comedy may not appear on the fall schedule, but it will return midseason.