NBC unveils 2013-14 schedule

NBCAfter a season which went through extremes (first place in November 2012 in adults 18-49 to fifth in February 2013), NBC is completely overhauling its primetime slate in 2013-14, with eight new dramas, five new comedies, and three “alternative” reality series. The new schedule was announced Sunday afternoon, a day before NBC’s upfront presentation.

Only eight series from this past season are back in the fall lineup – including The Voice and Sunday Night Football.

NBC canceled eight shows Thursday and Friday; to see what they are, click here and here. At press time, the peacock network has not decided on the fates of Celebrity Apprentice and Hannibal. The Office is ending its run this Thursday.

Sundays will have SNF in the fall of course, but in midseason comes two new dramas: Believe from J.J. Abrams (Revolution), about a ten-year old who v an predict the future, and Crisis featuring Delmont Mulroney and former X-Files star Gillian Anderson, about a Washington, D.C. high school field trip gone awry. These two shows and new reality competition series American Dream Builders are scheduled to debut after the Olympics.

New drama The Blacklist gets the coveted post-Voice time slot on Mondays, which replaces Wednesday-bound Revolution. Blacklist stars James Spader as an ex-FBI fugitive who tries to help capture a terrorist.

Tuesdays has The Biggest Loser returning to the schedule to lead-off the night followed by another edition of The Voice and Chicago Fire, which relocates from Wednesday. Midseason, The Voice moves up an hour to make room for new comedies About A Boy and The Family Guide.

And speaking of Wednesday, Revolution relocates here and leads into Law & Order:SVU. Wednesday. Airing out of SVU is The New Ironside, which has Blair Underwood in the Raymond Burr role.

Thursday features three new family-oriented sitcoms on the schedule, Welcome To The Family, about a Caucasian teenager who gets pregnant by her Hispanic boyfriend; followed by Sean Saves The World, which features Will & Grace’s Sean Hayes as a divorced gay dad who juggling a career, a pushy mom (Linda Lavin), and a teenager daughter; and The Michael J. Fox Show, featuring a return to the network that made him famous in Family Ties. In this sitcom, Fox plays an New York City TV anchor looking to make a comeback after he is diagnosed with Parkinson’s (Fox has the disease in real life.) All three shows bookend Parks and Recreation and Parenthood.

On Friday, Dracula and Crossbones share the final hour of primetime with the latter show debuting in midseason.

While Saturday is all-encore programming, one notable edition is re-packaged recent episodes of Saturday Night Live at 9 p.m.

Other midseason shows include The Million Second Quiz, Chicago PD, Undateable, The Night Shift, Food Fighters,and another season of Community.

To view the fall 2013 and midseason schedules and a complete description of each show, click here.

Thought: NBC is using the same strategy CBS did in 1996 when it brought back familiar faces to its primetime lineup to boost anemic ratings, and it may work to their advantage, as this year’s sked is being received better than the 2012 one. NBC has some advantages with football and the 2014 Winter Olympics, hoping viewers will sample the new shows.

Yours truly applauds NBC for a family-friendlier approach… well, with the contemporary take of the American family. Thursday night might become Must-See TV again with Sean Hayes and Michael J. Fox back on the network. Welcome To The Family seems to be a newer take on a formula mastered by Norman Lear so well…but will it click with 2013 audiences? Yours truly thinks Welcome would work better as a drama, but that may be asking too much…

And I also like the idea of NBC airing Believe and Crisis on Sunday nights instead of crap like Celebrity Apprentice.

On paper, Dracula certainly looks better than the 1990-91 syndicated series of the same name, but we shall see. At least this version didn’t come from the people who brought you Divorce Court.

Is there any reason why NBC decided to revive Ironside? Unlike Hawaii Five-O, the original version of the series was less popular in its network run (it did run eight seasons – 1967-75, but a middling performer at best), and hasn’t aired in syndication since at least the 1980’s (airing on something called Sleuth or Cloo or whatever, doesn’t count.) Worse, this new version of Ironside is set in New York and not in San Francisco, where the original was based (this could change, though.)

A tough break for Grimm as the series moves back to Friday instead of Tuesday, where it moved just a few weeks ago. Speaking of bad moves, moving Revolution to Wednesday night to lead off the evening is a very bad idea, given its content. The series, known for its cartoonish violence, would air at 7 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zone. While a violent series airing this early in primetime isn’t new (The Rookies, The A-Team, and a few others), NBC should still know better. Won’t matter, since Revolution – with its annoying, one-dimensional characters – will tank in the ratings anyway.

NBC really can’t get any lower – their fortunes will improve 2013-14, thanks to the Olympics. But can they retain viewers for their regular programming? They actually have a good shot of doing so with an improved slate.