What Does NBC's Future Look Like?

Hi! I'm Hunter, author of the summer renew/cancel predictions and this is my final of five posts about the future of the major broadcast networks. This week I'm talking about NBC. How will NBC do in the 2015-16 season? How might the network do when its older shows end? Those are some of the questions that I will try to answer!

There are six new shows that will join NBC's schedule this fall. Blindspot is getting the network's best lead-in, Monday night episodes of The Voice. The other new series to consistently get this lead-in (Smash, Revolution, and The Blacklist) all earned a second season. Blindspot's chances of success are very good. Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris however has much worse chances. It will air about half of its run on Tuesdays at 10:00, with a lead-in of Tuesday episodes of The Voice. Then it will move to 8:00 on the same day. The show will likely fail because there are two different types of variety shows, ones that aim toward family audiences and ones that aim toward adult audiences. Family audiences are unlikely to tune in at 10:00, and adult audiences are unlikely to tune in at 8:00. There is a chance that the show will do well, but I doubt it. Starting in November, Chicago Med, a spin-off of Chicago Fire, will air on Tuesdays at 9:00, following The Voice and followed by Chicago Fire. In this timeslot the show should be able to do very well. Joining Thursdays, NBC's most difficult night, are two new series, Heroes Reborn, a sequel to the mid-2000s series Heroes, and The Player. Heroes Reborn is expected to do well by some people and do poorly by others. I believe that it will do poorly because Heroes fell in the ratings from its first season to its forth, and ratings are much lower today than they were then. Also, the Thursdays at 8:00 timeslot has been a very unsuccessful one recently. The Player however I expect to do even worse than Heroes Reborn. The Thursdays at 10:00 timeslot is even more famous for shows quickly failing. Most recently, Allegiance aired there and was canceled after five episodes. I doubt that The Player will do much better. Finally, People are Talking will air on Fridays at 8:30, in the network's only hour of comedy this fall. Following Undateable, which will most likely get mediocre or poor ratings at 8:00, the poorly reviewed People are Talking will almost certainly fail. So, out of the network's six new shows this fall, I expect only two to succeed.

Some of the network's returning shows also might not do very well. The Mysteries of Laura was only given 13 episodes for its second season, and for a reason: the show has poor ratings. It was most likely only renewed so that the network wouldn't look bad by not renewing any of their new shows from that season. The Blacklist, once NBC's strongest show, fell in the ratings last spring, and while it will likely do better in the fall, spring 2016 will likely have even worse ratings than spring 2015. Grimm will likely fall beneath 1.0 multiple times in its next season, as the show airs on Fridays and has been falling. Also, Undateable will likely fall even lower than Grimm, though it will be very cheap to produce as it is doing all live episodes this year. That leaves only the Dick Wolf-produced Chicago series and Law & Order: SVU.

The network might fare better with new shows at mid-season than in the fall. While there are some obvious failures such as the once-canceled Emerald City and broad comedy Crowded, a genre of comedy that does not do well on NBC, there is a chance that some of their new shows such as Game of Silence, Shades of Blue, You, Me, and the End of the World, Hot & Bothered, and Superstore could do well, though it most likely depends on the timeslot they are put in. Shades of Blue and You, Me, and the End of the World could significantly benefit from star power of Jennifer Lopez and Rob Lowe respectively, and comedies Hot & Bothered and Superstore could cause fans of 30 Rock and The Office return to NBC. There is one more new series coming to NBC in 2016, though it won't sound new to people who watched NBC back in the 1990's. Coach is returning to NBC, and while it could do well, it could just as easily do very poorly. I expect it to not make it to the schedule until summer though, with the amount of comedies held for midseason.

NBC desperately needs new hits right now. The Voice is still strong, but it is definitely declining, and in a few years it will no longer be a hit. Blindspot will likely do well in season one, but once it moves it will likely fail, just as Smash and Revolution did previously. Right now, NBC is riding on the backs of Sunday Night Football, The Voice, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Law & Order: SVU and most likely Chicago Med. NBC desperately needs a new hit, especially in the comedy department. Maybe Superstore could be it?

With the amount of open spots on NBC's early 2016 schedule, it is near impossible to predict what fall 2016 will look like for the network. An optimist might tell you that it will include Superstore, maybe Hot & Bothered, and Game of Silence or Shades of Blue or both. Some might say that it will look a lot like fall 2015's, with a lot of new shows, with Blindspot and Chicago Med replacing The Mysteries of Laura. I think it will be some sort of in-between.

NBC's future does not look good. However, this is NBC, and it could easily just bounce back. It is really hard to say.

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