Ryan’s Remote: NBC Midseason Ramblings

undateable nbc

NBC has just announced its midseason schedule, which includes some surprising support for previous summer burn-offs, “The Night Shift” and “Undateable,” as well as the disappearance of “State of Affairs” and “Marry Me.” More on that after the jump!

NBC doesn’t have a comedy brand. It’s smart to invest in “Undateable.”
With “Community” off to Yahoo, and the final season of “Parks and Recreation” soon upon us, the network is officially without a comedy brand. “Marry Me” and “About a Boy” have failed to benefit from their appreciable “The Voice” lead in, while “Bad Judge” and “A to Z” have already been canceled.

If the Peacock really wants to show it can still do a likeable, non-niche comedy, investing money and time to grow Bill Lawrence’s “Undateable” is the optimal decision. It premiered last summer, presumably in burn-off mode, and it still managed to do rather well. I wrote about the show at the beginning and end of its short May-July run, and insisted the show deserved a second chance. Now it’ll get the ultimate chance airing after the network’s highest-rated singing competition, alongside the new Ellen DeGeneres-produced multi-cam, “One Big Happy,” starring Elisha Cuthbert (“Happy Endings”). Both comedies premiere Tuesday, March 17 from 9-10 P.M, and will air in that hour for the remainder of the spring. “Marry Me” and “About a Boy” will go on hiatus at that point. Their futures are currently unknown.

NBC used to do multi-cams better than any other network, and “Undateable” is among the best multi-cams on television. It deserves this chance to prove itself as a worthy in-season comedy, and its network deserves the chance to prove it’s on to something by scheduling multi-cams again. Kudos for giving the Lawrence laugher a proper launching pad.

An in-season return for “The Night Shift” doesn’t mark the end for “State of Affairs.”
Premiere numbers for “State of Affairs” underwhelmed, and in subsequent weeks, the show hasn’t come close to reaching “Blacklist”-level numbers Mondays at 10. Now, the Katherine Hiegl starrer will leave NBC’s line-up after its February 16 broadcast, making room for a second season of “The Night Shift,” a medical drama that, like “Undateable,” managed to snag a renewal despite airing in the dead of summer. It premieres February 23.

Hiegl’s “Affairs” only had a 13-episode order, per the star’s contract. Viola Davis and Kevin Bacon agreed to similar terms, with 15-episode per year deals on ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” and Fox’s “The Following.” The show’s absence from NBC’s spring line-up isn’t a sign of cancellation.

“The Slap” is pretty much getting the burn-off treatment…
NBC’s new event series, starring Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman, Thandie Newton, Melissa George, Zachary Quinto and Thomas Sadoski, will air Thursdays at 8 beginning February 12, leading into “The Blacklist.” With stiff competition from “The Big Bang Theory,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and even “American Idol,” it’s bound to go unnoticed.

…and it says a lot about what NBC thinks of “Odyssey” by scheduling it on Sundays.
NBC swapped out “The Celebrity Apprentice” to create a scripted Sunday with “Believe” and “Crisis” last spring. Both shows did miserably, and were canceled in May. NBC’s scheduling of “A.D.,” a follow-up to Mark Burnett’s successful History Channel mini-series, “The Bible,” comes as expected, with the show airing Sundays at 9. It says more about what the network must think of “Odyssey,” a non-‘limited event series,’ to be airing it in a probable death slot, while slotting former summer burn-offs like “The Night Shift” after “The Voice.”

“A.D.” and “Odyssey” both debut on April 5.

Per NBC, a complete list of midseason premieres reads as follows:

“The Blacklist,” Sunday, Feb. 1 following the Super Bowl. Moves to Thursday, Feb. 5 at 9 p.m.
“Allegiance,” Thursday, Feb. 5 at 10 p.m.
“The Slap,” Thursday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.
“The Night Shift, Monday, Feb. 23 at 10 p.m.
“Undateable,” Tuesday, March 17 at 9 p.m.
“One Big Happy,” Tuesday, March 17 at 9:30 p.m.
“A.D.,” Sunday, April 5 at 9 p.m.
“Odyssey,” Sunday, April 5 at 10 p.m.

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