Upfronts: NBC's New Shows and 2014-15 Schedule

  • Publish Date: May 11, 2014
  • Comments: ↓ 2 user comments

Updated 5/13 with additional details from NBC's presentation (including the addition of Jane Krakowski to The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and the length of Parks & Rec's final season).

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 2014-15 season. We'll have additional reports for the other networks each day this week. See more upfronts coverage...


Highlights and notes

  • NBC has ordered 5 new dramas (including the DC Comics adaptation Constantine), 7 new comedies (including one from Tina Fey), and 4 "event" series (including a reboot of Heroes). Only 6 of those newcomers will launch this fall, with the remaining 10 held until midseason. Descriptions for all new shows can be found below.
  • Of NBC's 9 returning scripted series, two are heading into their final seasons. Parenthood will wrap up with 13 episodes this fall, while Parks and Recreation will return for a final 13-episode season in early 2015.
  • Goodbye, Must See TV. After making comedies its Thursday night signature for decades, NBC seems willing to try a new approach this season. Only two sitcoms will air on Thursdays this fall (partially because The Biggest Loser will now kick off the night, where it will absorb the no-doubt significant ratings blow delivered by CBS's new Thursday Night Football). But in midseason, the 9-10p Thursday slot will be given over to drama The Blacklist. It is possible that comedies will return to the 8p hour in February, as NBC has yet to announce any other scheduling decisions for midseason.
  • The Celebrity Apprentice was officially included in NBC's plans for the upcoming season. While that was true last year as well, the show never aired during 2013-14.
  • In addition to the shows listed below, NBC will once again air a three-hour live musical event in December. This year, it will be a production of Peter Pan, from the same production team behind last year's Sound of Music broadcast. In 2015, NBC will continue the tradition with a live broadcast of The Music Man.
  • NBC will also air Super Bowl XLIX in February, and that broadcast will be followed by a special episode of The Blacklist. (If it sounds to you like NBC has a lot riding on the second-year success of The Blacklist, you're not wrong.)
  • The network also previously announced an 8-episode order for a remake of Australian miniseries The Slap, but that show was not included in NBC's just-announced 2014-15 plans, so it is unclear when or if it will air.

Renewed and canceled

Heading into today's schedule announcement, Parenthood was the only remaining scripted show on the bubble, and the last-minute news was mostly good: Parenthood will indeed return, though its upcoming sixth season will be the show's last, will consist of just 13 episodes, and will be without each of its stars for two episodes (in a cost-cutting move). Most of NBC's renew/cancel decisions came at the end of last week, with Hannibal perhaps the most surprising survivor, and Community the unlikeliest (though still not entirely unexpected) cancelation. Genre shows Dracula, Revolution, and Believe also failed to make the cut.

Scripted shows are in bold below.

Renewed   Canceled or Ended   Fate Uncertain
About a Boy
America's Got Talent
American Ninja Warrior
The Biggest Loser
The Blacklist
Celebrity Apprentice
Chicago Fire
Chicago PD
Dateline NBC
Hollywood Game Night
Law & Order: SVU
Parks and Recreation
The Voice
Growing Up Fisher
The Michael J. Fox Show
The Million Second Quiz
Sean Saves the World
Welcome to the Family
  American Dream Builders
Crossbones *

Food Fighters *
Last Comic Standing *
The Night Shift *
The Sing-Off
Taxi Brooklyn *
Undateable *
Wall of Fame *
Welcome to Sweden *
Working the Engels *

* Season debuts this summer; status will be determined after show airs.

NBC's 2014-15 primetime schedule

New programs are indicated in bold in the schedule below. All times are ET/PT unless otherwise indicated.

NBC Fall 2014 Schedule
  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN Football Night in America (7:00p) **
Sunday Night Football (8:20p) **
MON The Voice The Blacklist ***
TUE The Voice (results) Marry Me About a Boy * Chicago Fire
WED The Mysteries of Laura Law & Order: SVU Chicago PD
THU The Biggest Loser * Bad Judge A to Z Parenthood †
FRI Dateline NBC Grimm Constantine
SAT [Reruns] [Reruns] [Reruns]

* New day and/or time
** NBC's Sunday night NFL programming airs live nationwide beginning at 7 ET / 4 PT for the pre-game show.
*** The Blacklist will be replaced on November 17 by newcomer State of Affairs. The Blacklist will return in February in a new timeslot, Thursdays at 9p.
† Parenthood will be replaced by Allegiance at midseason.

Midseason debuts that do not yet have a day/time:
A.D.: After the Bible, Aquarius, Emerald City, Hannibal, Heroes Reborn, Mission Control, Mr. Robinson, Odyssey, One Big Happy, Parks and Recreation, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

NBC's new shows at a glance

The 16 first-year series ordered for NBC's 2014-15 season are detailed below. Pilots that did not get picked up include the Ashley Judd mega-church drama Salvation, the Resurrection-esque Babylon Fields, and a few high-profile comedies in the Amy Poehler-produced Old Soul (which was to star Natasha Lyonne, Ellen Burstyn and Fred Willard), the Mary-Louise Parker-starring Feed Me, and the Rob Lowe/Rob Riggle tennis comedy The Pro. All told, the network had 18 comedy pilots in development for the coming season, and 7 of those made the cut.

ImageA to Z
COMEDY Thursdays at 9:30p

In a sort of gender-reversed Dharma & Greg, this single-camera rom-com follows mismatched pair Andrew (Mad Men's Ben Feldman), the idealistic dreamer, and Zelda (How I Met Your Mother's Cristin Milioti), the driven professional, from the first day of their unlikely romance, when they "meet cute" thanks to an online dating glitch. The series was created by Ben Queen (Fox's very short-lived Drive) and is produced by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack.

A.D.: After the Bible
MINISERIES tbd midseason

Expected to launch on Easter Sunday, producer Mark Burnett's 12-hour follow-up to his hugely successful History Channel miniseries The Bible will pick up after the death of Jesus. The cast has not yet been announced.

DRAMA Thursdays at 10p (midseason)

Next up in NBC's seemingly hexed 10p Thursday slot (where only Parenthood hasn't been an abysmal failure) is a CIA drama that's not to be confused with NBC's other new CIA drama (State of Affairs). Actually, Allegiance, from writer-director George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau), splits the difference between The Americans and Homeland (though, technically, it is an adaptation of the Israeli series The Gordin Cell), as it centers on a CIA agent who discovers that his parents are actually covert Russian spies who are planning a terrorist attack in the United States. Gavin Stenhouse (Person of Interest), Hope Davis (In Treatment), and Scott Cohen (Necessary Roughness) star. The show will launch early next year after Parenthood's 13-episode season is over.

DRAMA tbd midseason

David Duchovny returns to network television for this 1967-set crime drama in which he stars as an L.A. cop whose missing-persons investigation leads him into the web of a small-time cult leader named Charles Manson. Though it is billed as an "event series" (and will air for just 13 episodes in 2015), Aquarius is being plotted with future seasons in mind. (In other words, don't expect to see the Tate-LaBianca murders this season.)

ImageBad Judge
COMEDY Thursdays at 9p

Funny or Die's Adam McKay and Will Ferrell are among the producers for this latest broad comedy about a poorly behaving professional, a genre that shows no signs of being exhausted anytime soon. Kate Walsh stars as one of L.A.'s toughest criminal judges, but one who is also known for her hard-partying, hard-rocking ways and unorthodox behavior in the courtroom.

DRAMA Fridays at 10p

One of four new DC Comics adaptations heading to the small screen next season (two, The Flash and iZombie, will air on The CW, while Fox has Gotham), Constantine stars Welsh actor Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior) as the snarky supernatural detective/magician/demon hunter John Constantine, as made famous in the Hellblazer comics. Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) and Harold Perrineau (Lost) also star, while the series comes from Dexter writer/producer Daniel Cerone and Dark Knight screenwriter David S. Goyer. Will this fan favorite survive on TV? It already has one strike against it: a Friday 10p time slot.

Emerald City
DRAMA/FANTASY tbd midseason

Another newcomer that is being preemptively labeled an "event series" (if it's canceled, that was part of the plan all along!) even though it is designed to run for multiple seasons, Emerald City is a dark, modern-day reimagining of Frank L. Baum's 14-book Wizard of Oz series—or, if you will, NBC's answer to ABC's Once Upon a Time. The new show received a 10-episode order without a pilot, so casting is still to be determined, but behind-the-camera talent includes writer Matthew Arnold (Siberia) and producer Josh Friedman (The Sarah Connor Chronicles).

Heroes Reborn
MINISERIES tbd midseason

Off the air since 2010, when it concluded its four-season run, Tim Kring's superhero drama Heroes will return in 2015 as a 13-episode miniseries, with new characters and storylines that for now are being kept a secret. But even though it is a reboot, expect some old favorites to at least make an appearance.

ImageMarry Me
COMEDY Tuesdays at 9p

While devoted Happy Endings fans never got the happy ending they deserved, Marry Me might be the next best thing. The new series reunites the creator and one of the stars of that canceled-too-soon comedy, David Caspe and Casey Wilson, in a comedy about a couple who have been happily dating for six years but can never find the perfect moment to get engaged. Ken Marino (The State, Eastbound & Down), Sarah Wright, and Tim Meadows also star. The pilot had good buzz, and NBC seems to have some optimism for the new comedy, giving it a prominent post-Voice slot on Tuesdays.

Mission Control
COMEDY tbd midseason

One of the final new shows (along with Bad Judge, which, like this, is produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay) to be greenlit by NBC in the past few days, off-the-wall period workplace comedy Mission Control centers on a driven female aerospace engineer (Krysten Ritter) who leads an all-male team of NASA scientists in the 1960s during the race to land a man on the moon. Her job is complicated further when a macho test pilot (Tommy Dewey) is brought on as her partner. In a nice bit of casting, the Better Off Ted scientist duo of Malcolm Barrett and Jonathan Slavin will be reunited as members of the NASA team. The series comes from writer David Hornsby (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia).

Mr. Robinson
COMEDY tbd midseason

After two years in development, this Craig Robinson vehicle finally landed a spot in NBC's lineup, though only for six episodes. The comedy finds the former Office star playing a struggling musician who gets a day job as a music instructor at a middle school. Jean Smart also stars, while Mark and Robb Cullen (Back in the Game, Lucky) serve as writer/producers. (The Office's Greg Daniels, who produced an earlier version of this show, is no longer involved.)

ImageThe Mysteries of Laura
DRAMA Wednesdays at 8p

Looking for a fun, lighthearted, "hilariously authentic" look at being a homicide detective and single mother? (Really, who isn't?) Then look no further than this dramedy—long considered a lock among NBC's new pilots—starring Debra Messing as an NYPD investigator going through a divorce and the rigors of trying to raise unruly twin boys. The series comes from producer Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Brothers & Sisters), producer/director McG, and writer Jeff Rake (Boston Legal), who adapts the Spanish-language series Los Misterios De Laura.

DRAMA tbd midseason

NBC is billing this one as a "Traffic"-like action drama, meaning that it tells several different interconnected stories, taking place in a variety of locations. Those stories revolve around a potential international conspiracy—revealed during an American military operation—in which Al Qaeda terrorists are receiving covert funding from a major American corporation. The ensemble cast includes Anna Friel, Peter Facinelli, Jake Robinson, Treat Williams, and Jim True-Frost.

One Big Happy
COMEDY tbd midseason

This Ellen DeGeneres-produced half-hour is almost The New Normal redux, centering on an even more unconventional modern family. Elisha Cuthbert stars as Lizzy, a lesbian who enlists her long-time best friend Luke (Nick Zano) to father her child, with the pair hoping to raise the kid in a platonic relationship. Those plans are thrown askew when Lizzy discovers that she is pregnant on the same night that Luke announces that he has married a woman (Kelly Brook) that he recently met (and whom Lizzy does not like). The series was created by 2 Broke Girls writer Liz Feldman.

ImageState of Affairs
DRAMA Mondays at 10p

Katherine Heigl returns to series television (which is probably good news for fans of movies) to star as high-ranking CIA agent Charleston Tucker, who is charged with giving the President (Alfre Woodard) her daily intelligence briefing. (Sample briefing headline: "NBC Determined to Create a Clone of Scandal in US.") The drama will blend a look at that high-pressure job with a focus on Charleston's personal life, and an ongoing "shocking" mystery involving the murder of her fiancé—who was also the President's son.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
COMEDY tbd midseason

Formerly known by the equally bad title of Tooken, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was created by Tina Fey with her longtime 30 Rock writer/producer partner Robert Carlock. Fey will not appear on screen in the series, which stars Ellie Kemper (The Office) as a woman who reboots her life in New York after escaping from a cult. NBC ordered 13 episodes without shooting a pilot, so casting and story details may still be in flux, though Tituss Burgess, Lauren Adams, and Sara Chase are expected to co-star. 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski has also just been added to the series as a regular.

More coverage of the 2014-15 upfront presentations ...


Comments (2)

  • Spica  

    Some of the best shows premiered after Grimm, so I have high hopes for Constantine (also Crossroads later this month). A to Z looks interesting as well, but the 2 event series top my list, especially the return David Duchovny.

  • LamontRaymond  

    I'm not a big comedy dude, but both A to Z and Marry Me looks promising. All 4 lead actors are brilliant, so hopefully they keep the writing and ingenuity up to their level. I don't know what to make of all the superhero stuff. When is that going to hit super-saturation? I mean, every summer we have 4 - 5 superhero movies, and now we're going to have 9 or 10 TV series with superheroes as the focus. In the 80s and 90s, it was Doctors, Lawyers, and Cops... Now it's masked heroes. Come on, Hollywood. Get your crap together and bring us at least a modicum of variety on TV.

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