Earlier today, NBC unveiled its Fall 2011-2012 primetime schedule, with no less than twelve new shows joining the network.
With "Chuck" moved to Fridays for its final season and "The Event" canceled entirely, newcomer "The Playboy Club" will be the only drama on Monday nights, before swapping out with Steven Spielberg's "Smash" at midseason. The remake of the British series "Prime Suspect" will move in on Thursday nights, with the supernatural themed "Grimm" taking up residence on Fridays. "The Firm" and "Awake" will both debut at midseason.
As for comedies, NBC picked up six new sitcoms, including "Up All Night" and "Free Agents," which will launch a new programing slot on Wednesday nights to compliment the traditional Thursday night lineup of "Community," "Parks and Recreation" and "The Office." The new series "Whitney" will also run on Thursdays in the fall before "30 Rock" returns at midseason for an uninterrupted run.
“Best Friends Forever," “Bent” and “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea" will also premiere in midseason in currently unannounced timeslots.
The full NBC Fall 2011-2012 schedule can be seen below. New shows are in bold.
8-10 p.m. – The Sing-Off
10-11 p.m. – The Playboy Club
8-10 p.m. – The Biggest Loser
10-11 p.m. – Parenthood
8-8:30 p.m. – Up All Night
8:30-9 p.m. – Free Agents
9-10 p.m. — Harry’s Law
10-11 p.m. — Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
8-8:30 p.m. – Community
8:30-9 p.m. — Parks and Recreation
9-9:30 p.m. – The Office
9:30-10 p.m. – Whitney
10-11 p.m. – Prime Suspect
8-9 p.m. – Chuck
9-10 p.m. – Grimm
10-11 p.m. – Dateline NBC
7- 8:15 p.m. — Football Night in America
8:15-11:30 p.m. — NBC Sunday Night Football
7-8 p.m. – Dateline NBC
8-10 p.m. – The Celebrity Apprentice
10-11 p.m. – The Firm
8-10 p.m. – The Voice
10-11 p.m. – Smash
For video previews and breakdowns of the new NBC shows, check out the next page!
Maria Bello steps into Helen Mirren's original role of Detective Jane Timoney in this remake of the ITV British original series. The U.S. "Prime Suspect" transplants the action to New York City, with Timoney making her way through a new precinct dominated by male cops played by familiar faces like Kirk Acevedo ("Fringe"), Brian O’Byrne ("Flash Forward"), Joe Nieves ("How I Met Your Mother"), Damon Gupton ("The Last Airbender") and Aidan Quinn ("Unknown").
"The Playboy Club"
If this show was on cable, everyone would tune in to see Amber Heard get naked. And there's actually been talk that this show will push the envelope for nudity on network TV, with the cast rumored to have signed contracts with nudity clauses. But I'm guessing that would be saved for the DVD set in this country.
As for the show itself, "The Playboy Club" takes place in Chicago during the '60s, with Heard as Maureen, a young Playboy bunny who accidentally kills the leader of a crime family. Eddie Cibrian (“CSI: Miami”) costars as Nick Dalton, a powerful attorney who aids Maureen as they navigate the sometimes dangerous nightclub that attracts the city's biggest players, politicians and mobsters.
Imagine a show were supernatural creatures are real and two brothers must hunt them all down. Actually, that series is already on the CW network. "Grimm" focuses on a police homicide detective named Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli), who discovers that he is a descendant of a family of monster hunters known as Grimms. Former "Angel" and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" veteran David Greenwalt is on board as an executive producer and co-creator of this show, so at the very least there's a firm hand on the controls.
Steven Spielberg is everywhere this year. He's spearheading an alien invasion in "Falling Skies" on TNT, producing a dinosaur time travel epic, "Terra Nova" on Fox and now, Spielberg is taking on "Glee" with "Smash;" a midseason musical series set against the production of a Broadway show based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. "Will & Grace" veteran Debra Messing co-stars as Julia, one of the writers of the musical with "American Idol" alumni Katharine McPhee as one of the young actresses vying for the lead role.
In addition to Oscar winning actress Anjelica Huston, "Smash" is loaded with Broadway actors and actresses like Christian Borle, Megan Hilty and more. If anything on network TV is going to challenge "Glee" for musical supremacy, this is it.
This is the show that people in Hollywood keep comparing to "Inception." But the set up is more interesting than just a rehash of that movie. Jason Issacs stars as Detective Michael Britten, a man who finds himself stuck between two separate worlds. In one reality, his wife Hanah (Laura Allen) has perished in a car accident while in the other reality, their son Rex (Dylan Minnette) is the one who died in the crash. And in his desperation to keep his loved ones with him, Britten ends up living his life in both worlds, with a different partner in each incarnation while solving different crimes in each reality.
Of all of NBC's new shows, I'd peg this one as having the best chance to be a breakout series when it debuts.
Acting as a defacto sequel to the feature film adaptation of John Grisham's novel, "The Firm" picks up ten years later with Mitchell McDeere and his family emerging from witness protection after helping the FBI bring down a law firm run by the Chicago mob. But the mob hasn't forgotten them, and Mitchell's enemies have multiplied in the intervening years.
None of the actors attached have been announced yet, but filming is expected to begin soon for its midseason premiere.
"Up All Night"
Christina Applegate ("Married With Children") headlines this new series from Lorne Michaels ("Saturday Night Live") and Emily Spivey ("Parks and Recreation"). Will Arnett co-stars as Applegate's husband, and the show focuses on the two of them dealing with their new status as parents while they are constantly bombarded by reminders of the carefree couple they used to be.
This show actually has two major pluses immediately, with Hank Azaria ("The Simpsons") and Anthony Head ("Buffy The Vampire Slayer") among the cast. Like "Prime Suspect" and "The Office," this is another British import that finds Azaria's Alex as a newly divorced man having an awkward affair with his co-worker, Helen (Kathryn Hahn). Natasha Leggero (“Ugly Americans”), Mo Mandel ( “Modern Family”), and Al Madrigal ( “Gary, Unmarried”) also star in this workplace comedy series.
There should be no doubt that this is the year of Chelsea Handler. Whitney Cummings (“Chelsea Lately”) gets her own comedy series as an unmarried woman (also named Whitney) in love with a guy named Alex (Chris D’Elia). And neither of them are in any hurry to get hitched despite interference from Whitney's opinionated girlfriends Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn).
"Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsa"
And the second sitcom from the year of Chelsea Handler adapts her best selling book of the same title and features Handler as her own sister, Sloan. One of the perks of creating a new show is that you get to hire someone else to play "you." And in this case, it's Laura Prepon from "That '70s Show" starring as Chelsea, a bartender working alongside Jo Koy's Mark, with Natalie Morales ("The Middleman"), Lauren Lapkus ("The Middle") and Lenny Clarke ("Rescue Me") also in the cast. "Are You There Vodka?" is expected to premiere in midseason.
"Best Friends Forever"
Wow… this season is really heavy with female comedies. In "Best Friends Forever," Jessica St. Clair stars as Jessica, a recently divorced woman who moves across country to live with her best friend, Lennon (Lennon Parham); which inadvertently wrecks havoc with Lennon's relationship with her live-in boyfriend, Joe (Adam Pally).
Amanda Peet ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") headlines this show as Alex, a newly single mother who falls for her kitchen contractor, Pete (David Walton), a chronic screwup who calls her out on her sometimes obvious character flaws. But the main attraction to this show is the great Jeffrey Tambor as Pete's out of work actor father, Walt. "Barry, you a**, for the love of all that is green, take me and Rabbert to the lettuce store!”
Well, maybe Tambor will say that again someday.