Our comprehensive coverage of the TV network upfront presentations this week in New York kicks off with a look at NBC's plans for the 2010-11 season. We'll have additional reports for the other networks each day this week.
While NBC's official presentation to advertisers will be held on Monday morning, the network got an early jump on the week by publicly announcing its fall schedule on Sunday afternoon after leaking details throughout the past week.
- Perennial bubble show "Chuck" has been renewed for a shortened 13-episode season, but the once-popular "Heroes" has been canceled for good.
- Other cancellations include "Law & Order" (after a 20-season run), "Mercy," and "Trauma."
- While "Law & Order" may be gone, its sister show "Special Victims Unit" will return, and NBC has picked up a new Los Angeles-based variation of the original series.
- Thursday night comedy fans will have to make due with a new sitcom ("Outsourced") in place of the critically acclaimed "Parks and Recreation" during the fall; the latter show will not appear until midseason.
- Experts were predicting that NBC would add another night of comedy to its schedule, but that isn't happening, at least in the fall. Three additional new comedies will appear in midseason.
- Though other networks have yet to announce their lineups, it is unlikely anyone will match NBC's quantity of new shows. The network's large roster of first-year programs includes a J.J. Abrams-directed spy drama, yet another David Kelley legal drama, and a Brian Grazer-produced sitcom. Intriguingly, NBC has decided to hold back many of its new programs until midseason.
- NBC's long-rumored remake of "The Rockford Files" is not currently on the network's 2010-11 schedule, but hasn't been completely ruled out.
Below, we take a closer look at NBC's projected schedule, followed by descriptions for each of the network's new programs.
NBC's primetime schedule
In addition to the shows listed below, the following new shows do not yet have a firm timeslot but have been picked up for the 2010-11 season and will arrive later in the year: "The Cape," "Friends With Benefits," "Perfect Couples," "Harry's Law," "America's Next Great Restaurant," and "The Paul Reiser Show." In addition, "The Marriage Ref" will return at some point during the season, and "Parks and Recreation" will air at an unspecified time (likely 9:30pm) on Thursdays, but probably not until early 2011.
New programs are indicated in bold in the schedule below. All times are ET/PT unless otherwise indicated.
|SUN||Football Night in America*||Sunday Night Football * (8:15)|
|TUE||The Biggest Loser [2hr]||Parenthood|
|WED||Undercovers||Law & Order: SVU||Law & Order: Los Angeles|
|THU||Community||30 Rock **||The Office||Outsourced||Love Bites|
|FRI||Who Do You Think You Are ***||Dateline NBC||Outlaw|
|SUN||Dateline NBC||Minute to Win It||Celebrity Apprentice [2hr]|
NBC's new programs
First-year series on NBC's schedule during the 2010-11 season include:
America's Next Great Restaurant
From Magical Elves, the production company behind "Top Chef" and (originally) "Project Runway," comes this new reality show that will take contestants' restaurant concepts and put one of them into action in the real world, thanks to investors who will put their own money on the line to fund the winner. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay hosts.
David Lyons ("ER") stars as a good cop on a corrupt squad who is forced to go into hiding and abandon his family when he is framed for murders he didn't commit. On the run, he takes the law into his own hands, while adopting a new persona: his son's favorite comic book hero, The Cape. Summer Glau ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") also stars.
Yet another Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama, "Chase" follows a group of U.S. marshals who track down America's most-wanted fugitives. Kelli Giddish ("Past Life") and Cole Hauser ("K-Ville") star. Just 13 episodes have been ordered.
This serialized thriller about an ordinary man caught up in a major government conspiracy when his fiancee mysteriously disappears stars Jason Ritter, Blair Underwood, Sarah Roemer, Zeljko Ivanek, and Laura Innes. The series was created by Nick Wauters ("The 4400," "Eureka").
Friends with Benefits
Even if it didn't have the word "Friends" in the title, comparisons to NBC's one-time hit would be inevitable. This sitcom from producer Brian Grazer centers on a group of 20-something friends who are seeking success in the dating world. The ensemble cast includes Ryan Hansen ("Party Down") and Danneel Harris ("One Tree Hill"); "Dollhouse's" Fran Kranz was in the original pilot but will be replaced.
Harry's Law (formerly known as Kindreds)
David E. Kelley's latest legal drama stars Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates (yes, she's the Harry in the title -- make that Harriet) as a down-on-her-luck attorney who starts a new practice -- in an abandoned shoe store -- with two younger lawyers in similarly dire straits.
Law & Order: Los Angeles (aka LOLA)
There's not much to say about this Dick Wolf-produced drama other than it's just like "Law & Order," except set in Los Angeles instead of New York.
Each week's installment of this 60-minute romantic comedy anthology series weaves together three loosely connected stories of modern romance. While single women played by Becki Newton ("Ugly Betty") and Jordana Spiro ("My Boys") will appear each week, a variety of guests -- ranging from Jennifer Love Hewitt to Craig Robinson to Charlyne Yi -- will come and go.
Jimmy Smits stars as a Supreme Court justice who quits the bench and opens up his own private practice, where he vows to represent "the little guy." The drama comes from John Eisendrath, who previously worked on "Alias" and "Felicity." Proving there's no such thing as hard feelings in the entertainment industry, ousted NBC talk show host Conan O'Brien is one of the show's producers. (Of course, giving the show a brutal Friday 10pm timeslot might indicate that NBC indeed harbors some residual hard feelings after all.)
A midwestern novelty manufacturer outsources its call center to India, and it's up to one manager to school his new overseas employees in the ways of America. This sitcom comes from executive producers Robert Borden ("The Drew Carey Show") and Ken Kwapis ("The Office").
The Paul Reiser Show (formerly titled Next)
Paul Reiser's semi-autobiographical sitcom stars the former "Mad About You" lead as family man and former television star Paul Reiser. (Think "Curb Your Enthusiasm," but less edgy.) Just six episodes of the single-camera comedy have been ordered.
This sitcom from Jon Pollack ("30 Rock") and Scott Silveri ("Friends") centers on a trio of couples seeking the ideal relationship. Imagine "Friends," but with everyone dating each other. (Oh, wait -- that pretty much was "Friends.")
A reality show from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star Cheryl Hines, "School Pride" empowers community groups to give facelifts to crumbling public schools. Think of it as "Extreme Makeover: School Edition."
J.J. Abrams ("Lost", "Alias") returns to the spy genre with this frothy action-drama series about two married ex-spies-turned-caterers who are reinstated by the CIA when their friend and fellow spy goes missing during a crucial mission. Abrams directed and co-wrote the pilot in addition to serving as one of the show's executive producers.