Upfronts 2011: NBC First to Unveil Its 2011-2012 Schedule

NBC was the first of the broadcast networks to announce their primetime schedules for the new season on Sunday. In total the network picked up 12 shows: 6 dramas and 6 comedies. As I did last year, I’ll break down all the new shows (based entirely on their descriptions) and see what’s worth watching and what’s not. Of course, this is all my opinion. So a rundown of the new shows and where they’ll fit into the schedule:

  • The Playboy Club [Drama – Mondays @ 10]: Set in the early 1960s at the, what else, Playboy Club in Chicago. This is one of the shows where I’m not entirely sure about. Some of the cast members (Amber Heard, Jenna Dewan-Tatum) gets me interested in the show, but I think I’m going to have to wait until previews come out to make a better decision.
  • Up All Night [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8]: Obviously a comedic take on the challenges of parenthood and balancing that with a career. Most definitely will give this one a shot mainly because of the casting of Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett. With the time period, it’s clear that NBC is trying to take away some of ABC’s comedy night, which I don’t really get. I mean I thought it was a really good idea for NBC to have done their 3 hour block of comedy on Thursdays these past few months. But I’m not a network exec so what do I know?
  • Free Agents [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8:30]: This is based on a show from the UK, which follows two PR execs on the rebound. The show certainly sounds like it has potential and again, with a cast that consists of Hank Azaria, Kathryn Hahn, and Anthony Head (Giles!), it’s worth giving a shot.
  • Whitney [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: The plum post-Office slot goes to this new comedy about a couple who are in no rush to get hitched. First of all, considering it’s about a couple, I don’t know why the name of the show is only one-half of said couple. Second…yeah, I don’t know about this one.
  • Prime Suspect [Drama – Thursdays @ 10]: Based on the UK miniseries which starred Helen Mirren, this new adaptation stars Maria Bello as a female detective trying to succeed in her male-dominated precinct. If it hasn’t been noticed from last year, I am very wary of cop shows. That being said I will give this one a shot because it is a well-known entity.
  • Grimm [Drama – Fridays @ 9]: Detective/cop show where characters from the Grimm fairy tales actually exist in our world. I’m not so sure about the whole putting a new show on Friday, but CBS managed to do well with putting Blue Bloods on Friday so why not? Although granted, Grimm doesn’t have as high profile a cast as Blue Bloods. Anyways, I think the show offers a little something different than most other shows (I mean fairytale characters are real?!) that I would definitely watch it.
  • Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea [Comedy – Midseason]: The show is based on the semi-autobiographical book of the same name by comedienne Chelsea Handler. I know of Chelsea Handler, not very familiar with her style of comedy so I don’t know how I’ll feel about the show.
  • Best Friends Forever [Comedy – Midseason]: A comedy which looks at a woman who lives with her boyfriend and also lets her newly divorced best friend move in. This could be really funny or really dumb, and I’m moreso inclined to the latter, but haven’t seen anything of it yet, so I’ll try to reserve my judgment.
  • Bent [Comedy – Midseason]: Starring Amanda Peet, the show revolves around two people who find themselves attracted to characteristics which they would normally hate. This could be funny if the writing’s solid.
  • Smash [Drama – Midseason]: SO excited for this. I am all up for more music on my TV screen. The show revolves around a group of people who are trying to create a Broadway musical. It stars Debra Messing (welcome back to our TV screens Grace Adler!) and Katharine McPhee. I also expect to see a lot of my favourite dancers.
  • Awake [Drama – Midseason]: Another show I’m quite excited for. Jason Isaacs (aka Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter series) stars in this drama-thriller about a detective who finds himself living two realities after a car accident. This could get trippy-weird like Inception or Fringe, but I am such a fan of things that plays with my mind.
  • The Firm [Drama – Midseason]: Based on the novel and movie of the same name. There is no cast yet, and it supposedly takes place 10 years after the events of the book/movie. I want to say I’ll give this a shot depending on who gets cast in it, but to be honest it’s another law-type show, so I’ll more than likely skip it whenever it actually gets to air.

Other notable points in the schedule:

  • Chuck, which was renewed last week for a 5th and final season, is moving to Fridays @ 8. I normally would be worried about a show on Fridays, but considering it’s the last season, the ratings can’t possibly get any worse (right?). And anyways, from my point of view, if FOX decides to keep Fringe on Fridays @ 9, that’s great news because I’ll get to watch my two favourie shows back to back. Perfect.
  • 30 Rock will come back in the midseason.
  • Parks & Recreation moves back to its old time slot of Thursdays @ 8:30.
  • Parenthood renewed and is staying put on Tuesdays @ 10.
  • The Sing-Off will be back in the fall in the 8-10 block on Mondays. I’m assuming that the show’s going to be looking for a new judge since Nicole Scherzinger is going to be hosting The X-Factor. Come midseason, The Sing-Off will be replaced in its timeslot by a second season of The Voice.
  • As noted in a previous blog, Law & Order Los Angeles, Outsourced, The Event, Perfect Couples, Chase, and The Cape have all been officially cancelled.

And with that, we get a glimpse of what TV next season will look like…at least with NBC. I gotta say though, with Smash and Awake both being set for midseason, I’m more excited for winter than fall. Next up: FOX.