The story that’s been written over and over again about NBC is that it can’t generate hits. With CBS as the dominating network, with close to 15 programs in the top 25 each week, it’s been difficult for the Peacock Network to attract viewers. Not helping was the decision to try Jay Leno in prime-time a few years ago, and the network not being able to bring in audiences to such critically heralded shows as Friday Night Lights (which was saved by DirectTV) and its Thursday Night Comedy Block.
Looking to shake things up in 2012, NBC is making several changes to the schedule midseason. The U.S. reboot of the British police procedural Prime Suspect starring Maria Bello is being shelved for now (NBC has not made a decision on if it will be cancelled). Comedy series Whitney and Up All Night are moving nights as is Harry’s Law and Rock Center With Brian Williams.
NBC will be experimenting with a Wednesday night multi-camera block with Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea (8-9 PM), the latter of which makes its debut on January 11. The Brian Williams-anchored news magazine will join the girls a month later and occupy the 9 PM time slot. Rock Center is replacing Harry’s Law which is moving to Sundays once the NFL season is completed.
With Rock Center out of the way on Monday nights, NBC will premiere its Broadway drama Smash on February 6.
Other changes include Up All Night to Thursday nights, replacing Whitney; 30 Rock replacing Community at 8 PM on Thursdays; and the John Grisham adaptation The Firm occupying Prime Suspect‘s Thursday 10 PM slot – a slot that hasn’t had much success since ER went off the air.
The shuffling of the comedy line-up is unique, but fans of Community are left to wonder what NBC plans to do with the rest of the episodes. Like Scrubs, the comedy doesn’t get great audience numbers but has a loyal fanbase that would follow the show around if NBC decided to move it to a new date and time.
Also missing from the schedule is NBC’s ambitious new drama series Awake, which recently took an unplanned break to work on scripts.
The full midseason schedule is below (with premiere dates) and also includes new reality series Fashion Star on Tuesdays at 10 PM and the return of Celebrity Apprentice on Sundays (all times Eastern):
8-10 PM – The Voice [season premiere Sunday, February 5; series resumes February 6]
10-11 PM – SMASH [beginning February 6]
8-10 PM – The Biggest Loser [beginning January 3]
10-11 PM – Parenthood [through February 28]
10-11 PM – FASHION STAR [beginning Tuesday, March 13, 9-11 p.m. ET with two-hour premiere; one-hour broadcasts resume March 20]
8-8:30 PM – Whitney [beginning January 11]
8:30-9 PM – ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA? [beginning January 11]
9-10 PM – Rock Center with Brian Williams [beginning February 8]
10-11 PM – Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
8-8:30 PM – 30 Rock [beginning January 12]
8:30-9 PM – Parks and Recreation
9-9:30 PM – The Office
9:30-10 PM – Up All Night [beginning January 12]
10-11 PM – THE FIRM [two-hour premiere Sunday January 8; Thursday time period premiere January 12]
8-9 PM – Who Do You Think You Are? [beginning February 3]
9-10 PM – Grimm
10-11 PM – Dateline NBC
8-9 PM – Harry’s Law [encore broadcasts]
9-10 PM — THE FIRM [encore broadcasts]
10-11 PM – Law & Order: Special Victims Unit [encore broadcasts]
7-9 PM – Dateline NBC [beginning January 8]
8-9 PM – Harry’s Law [beginning March 4]
9-11 PM – The Celebrity Apprentice [beginning February 12]
Tags: Community, NBC, Smash, The Firm, Up All Night, Whitney