The Media Notepad: NBC, Fox announce fall schedules

Also: Roku Channel to air Sunday MLB baseball 

While back to normalcy is the word at Upfronts week after years of interruptions (from labor unrest and Covid), unfortunately so are the stupid and awful presentations to advertisers with Jimmy Fallon headlining NBC’s and Fox featuring Rob Lowe and new Fox Sports football analyst Tom Brady. 

One tradition that didn’t return – the mass cancellations of “bubble” shows the broadcast networks made the Thursday and Friday before Upfronts week, as we all should be grateful.

Not surprisingly, the NBC and Fox presentations had plenty of mentions of their streamers Peacock and Tubi. But despite that, linear TV’s reach is second to none as advertisers still see value in the medium – no matter how odious the programming is.

Of note, CBS was first out of the gate with their 2024-25 lineup nearly two weeks ago, and you can read more about it here. On Monday, NBC released its schedule to the press before the actual upfront presentations and it features four new series- two new dramas and two comedies. 

One of those new drams is Brillant Minds, featuring former Heroes star Zachary Quinto as a neurologist who leads a team of interns as they explore the last great frontier – the human mind. The series is airing on Mondays, leading out of The Voice

Tuesdays has another medical show with the mockumentary St. Denis Medical, leading off the night and replacing canceled sitcom Extended Family. Next is the new Night Court, followed by another hour of The Voice and drama The Irrational

Wednesdays remain unchanged with NBC’s Chicago dramas and Thursday’s Law & Order fest reduced to two hours with the second season of drama Found displacing Law & Order: Organized Crime, which moves to Peacock. Fridays lead off with new comedy Happy’s Place, starring Reba McEntire and Melissa Peterman (both starred in McEntire’s previous sitcom Reba and appeared on CBS’ Young Sheldon.)

Football takes over weekend evenings with Big Ten/Notre Dame action on Saturdays and of course, Sunday Night Football the next night. 

On February 16, 2025, NBC airs a Saturday Night Live prime-time special commemorating the franchise’s 50th year. Midseason programming includes the Tom Hanks-produced The Americas; procedural drama The Hunting Party; and almost all of the network’s reality and game shows, with Destination X joining the ridiculously idiotic Deal Or No Deal Island.  

Later in the day, Fox had their upfront presentation featuring several of the network’s stars – including Tom Brady, who is officially becoming part of Fox’s top announcing team with Kevin Burkhardt. The new combo’s first game is September 8 with a Dallas-Cleveland matchup. 

Like NBC, sports occupies two nights on the schedule with college football and other sports on Saturdays and now on Fridays to replace the soon-to-depart WWE Smackdown. With that in mind, Fox is debuting three new shows over five remaining nights. 

Monday has a new rescue drama, Rescue Hi-Surf which at first glance, looks like a Baywatch reboot – or that’s what I thought when I first looked at the cast photo on X Monday morning – but it is an action-packed drama set in Hawaii that follows the personal and professional lives of the heavy-water lifeguards who patrol and protect the North Shore of O’ahu. The show is from ER and West Wing alum John Wells. It follows 911: LoneStar on Mondays, whose future is iffy as the show it spun off of (9-1-1) moved to ABC this season, marking a rare instance that a parent show left its original network for another, leaving its spin-off behind (Diff’rent Strokes moving from NBC to ABC while spin-off The Facts Of Life stayed at NBC is one example, while Buffy The Vampire Slayer moving from The WB to UPN while spin-off Angel stayed on its former network is another.)

Tuesdays has Accused and new Canadian procedural drama Murder In A Small Town. Wednesdays feature Masked Singer and vastly overrated game show The Floor, creating one unbearable night of television. Thursdays has Hell’s Kitchen and another dumb reality show, Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test.

Sunday still has Animation Domination – led by the venerable The Simpsons, followed by new comedy Universal Basic Guys whose premise features two men who lose their jobs to automation and get $3,000 a month in a new basic income program as the new show was already picked up for two seasons. Closing out the night is Bob’s Burgers and sophomore comedy Krapopolis. Of note, The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers are in the last year of their deals with Fox, but both programs are expected to return in fall 2025. 

Fox has several series held for midseason, including the 23rd season of Family Guy, returning shows such as Animal Control, Grimsburg, and The Great North, and new series Doc and The Full Monty. As for Family Guy, the series will return to Sundays midseason and receive a full-season order. After years of animosity toward Fox, creator Seth McFarlane has smoothed relations with the network as he recently noted he would like to continue the show for the foreseeable future. 

Out is the animated comedy Housebroken, canceled after two seasons. 

As rumored for the last few days, Roku announced Monday it was taking over the rights to MLB’s Sunday Leadoff from Peacock beginning this Sunday. 

The Sunday Leadoff generally features a game that starts at least 90 minutes before any other game, and for the last two seasons was on NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock and brought back baseball in a way to NBC, who simulcasted the first Sunday Leadoff of the season with Peacock.

But a third season was delayed as MLB and Peacock didn’t come to terms on renewal before the start of the season, so now Roku – known more as a device stick maker, is picking up the exclusive rights instead with the first game scheduled for May 19 with a game between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. Only one Chicago team will make a Sunday Leadoff appearance this year, with the Cubs taking on the Cardinals on June 16 at noon. 

Two “late” Sunday Leadoff games are scheduled – both are afternoon games on the West Coast featuring NL West teams – July 7 with the Arizona Diamondbacks playing at the San Diego Padres and September 1 with the Los Angeles Dodgers playing at Arizona. Both are scheduled for 3 p.m. Chicago time starts. 

Unlike Peacock, where a subscription was required to watch Sunday Leadoff as it was only available on a premium tier, Roku is offering the games for free on its Roku-branded devices and The Roku Channel, a FAST platform available not only to Roku device users but to Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Google TV devices and on smart TVs made by Samsung and Roku. The Roku Channel is also available via the web and smartphone apps. Sunday Leadoff will also stream on as all games are Roku exclusive with no blackouts, meaning viewers anywhere can watch the games. 

MLB also produces Sunday Leadoff, who handles production for Arizona, San Diego, and Colorado Rockies games. 


2 thoughts on “The Media Notepad: NBC, Fox announce fall schedules

    • As I read the article, it came to me that also in the past, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER left The WB for UPN, leaving its spinoff show ANGEL at The WB.

      I don’t know if it’s just me, but none of the new programming that has been announced by any of the networks sounds like a breakout hit or like a highly anticipated offering. Sorry to say, it’s more of the same.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *