NBC this fall: More comedies, more "Voice"

Next season, NBC will have twice as
much of what's working (“The Voice”) … and more then twice as
much of what's not working (comedies).

“The Voice” will have two editions,
instead of one, and will be on two nights (Mondays and Tuesdays)
throughout the season. That dumps one reality show (“The Sing-Off”)
and keeps another (“The Biggest Loser”) off at last temporarily..

And situation comedies? The network has
stumbled there; in a recent week, its four sitcoms finished Nos. 68,
88, 89 and 94 in the Nielsen ratings. Still, NBC is splurging in the
fall, with 10 of them.

“The advertising community loves
them,” Ted Harbert, head of NBC Broadcasting, said today (Monday).

That's because comedies tend to draw
audiences that are young and fairly upscale. By comparison, “Harry's
Law” (which finished No.31 in that same week) was canceled. “It
skewed very old,” said Robert Greenblatt, president of NBC

At times, the sitcoms have had to
alternate in four Thursday spots. Now “Whitney” and “Community”
move to Fridays and others stay on Thursdays. Four new ones debut on
Tuesdays and Wednesdays; one (“Go On”) has Matthew Perry, from
the days when “Friends” and other comedies ruled.

Many of these may be fairly broad,
Greenblatt granted. “I think 'broad' is synonymous with 'ratings.'”

But what of the hopes for new quality?
Greenblatt moved to NBC from Showtime, with hopes of bringing cable
quality to NBC.

He is putting some shows in 10 p.m.
slots that could draw critics' approval – “Revolution” (from
“Lost” producer J.J. Abrams) on Mondays, “Parenthood”
returning to Tuesdays, the “Rock Center” news show moving to
Thursdays – but this season's most promising shows had mixed fates:

– “Smash” has done fairly well.
It will be back with 16 to 18 episodes at midseason, Greenblatt said,
with a new producer (Josh Safran of “Gossip Girl”) to focus on
the plotting.

– “Awake” plummeted. “It was a
very complicated, dual-reality show,” Greenblatt said.

– “Prime Suspect” died gradually,
despite a big push. “I would have assumed 'Prime Suspect' would
have worked better for us,” he said.

That's part of NBC's ongoing troubles
with “franchise” shows involving cops and doctors and such.
Coming up, it will add Chicago firemen on Wednesdays in the fall and
doctors on Sundays, after football season. Here's the line-up:

– Mondays: The Voice, 8-10 p.m.;
“Revolution,” 10 p.m.

– Tuesdays: “Voice,” 8 p.m.; “Go
On,” 9; “The New Normal,” 9:30; “Parenthood,” 10.

– Wednesdays: “Animal Practice,”
8 p.m.; “Guys With Kids,” 8:30; “Law & Order: Special
Victims Unit,” 9; “Chicago Fire,” 10.

– Thursdays: “30 Rock,” 8 p.m.;
“Up All Night,” 8:30; “The Office,” 9; “Parks and
Recreation,” 9:30; “Rock Center,” 10.

– Fridays: “Whitney,” 8 p.m.;
“Community,” 8:30; “Grimm,” 9; “Dateline,” 10.

– Saturdays: Reruns.

– Sundays: Football. When the season
ends, it will have “Dateline” at 7, “Fashion Star” at 8,
“Celebrity Apprentice” (trimmed to an hour) at 9 and “Do No
Harm” at 10.