Freshman drama “Quantum Leap” is taking a quantum leap to Tuesdays, as NBC unveiled a mostly strike-proof fall schedule that features three new series (two dramas and a comedy) and a crowded midseason bench.
The Peacock net’s lineup is heavy as always on football and Dick Wolf: And even more so on the pigskin, as NBC’s new deal to cover Big Ten football kicks in with a new Saturday showcase. But with few changes in store, the network will rely on established series to launch its freshman entries.
NBC will use unscripted mainstay “The Voice” on Mondays to launch the new Jesse L. Martin starrer “The Irrational,” based on author Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational,” at 10 p.m. On Tuesday, the hit “Night Court” revival will continue to lead off the night and help launch the new comedy “Extended Family,” starring Jon Cryer and Donald Faison, and from Mike O’Malley, at 8:30 p.m.
And then on Thursdays, NBC will use the Wolf double punch of “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: SVU” to premiere the new drama “Found,” starring Shanola Hampton (and from writer Nkechi Okoro Carroll, and Greg Berlanti’s production company) at 10 p.m.
“It’s about stability,” said Jeff Bader, president, entertainment program planning strategy, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We were fortunate enough to have a schedule where we have tentpoles on every night. And we put together a schedule where we’re using our highest rated shows to lead into our new shows, to give then the best possible chance for success.”
Bader noted that there were no dramatic moves or shifts in fall, but he is excited to create a multi-camera comedy block with “Night Court” and “Extended Family.” As for the “Quantum Leap” move to Tuesday, “that night starts with comedy, and so it just feels like it’s a lighter night from beginning to end.”
Meanwhile, the decision not to keep a three-prong “Law & Order” lineup on Thursdays comes out of the showrunner change on “Law & Order: Organized Crime.” “They will actually benefit from having a little time and the show will come back as part of the Thursday night stack in midseason. This opened up the opportunity to put ‘Found’ in a great time period,” Bader said.
NBC joins CBS in revealing a fall 2023 lineup that may have to make some pivots as September approaches, due to the writers strike and likely production delays. Should the strike continue through the summer, the Dick Wolf “One Chicago” and “Law & Order” series may be delayed. But other series are already in the can: “Night Court,” “Extended Family, “Quantum Leap,” “Found” and “The Irrational” are set to air, while midseason entries “La Brea,” “Magnum PI” and “Transplant” are also available if need be.
“Our schedule actually will look very much like what you’re looking at if the strike is a few months long,” Bader said. “If it’s prolonged strike, then we will have to start sliding the Dick Wolf shows… ‘Extended Family’ was picked up last summer, ‘Found’ was supposed to premiere this spring and we held it for the fall. ‘The Irrational’ was picked up last fall and went into production. We seem to be pretty well positioned.”
The availability of those shows comes out of what NBC touts as 52-week development and order cycle. That also bears out in what the network didn’t announce on Friday. Critically acclaimed comedies “American Auto,” “Grand Crew” and “Young Rock” all remain on the bubble, as the network hasn’t decided yet on the three.
That news will come at the end of May (as options for those shows’ talent are set to expire). NBC will first have to decide between renewals and pilots that remain in the mix: Comedies “Non-Evil Twin” and “St. Denis Medical,” as well as for dramas “Wolf” and an untitled entry from Jenna Bans and Bill Krebs. NBC says those projects could pop up next season or be held for the 2024-2025 TV season.
“We are in this new world of rolling development and pilot season is completely different,” Bader said. “We have two single camera comedy pilots and two dramas that will be screening at the end of May/beginning of June. And after seeing those pilots we will have a discussion that will include ‘American Auto,’ ‘Grand Crew’ and ‘Young Rock’ to decide what our remaining pickups will be. So, we’re not done picking up for next season yet.”
NBCUniversal has a stake in all three of its new fall shows to varying degrees; “Extended Family” is a co-production between Lionsgate and Universal Television; “Found” is from Warner Bros. TV and Universal Television; and “The Irrational” is a straight-ahead Universal Television production.
Meanwhile, Universal Television Alternative Studio is behind “The Americas,” along with BBC Studios Natural History Unit. Narrated by Tom Hanks and featuring music by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer. The sweeping 10-hour wildlife documentary series comes from producer Mike Gunton (“Planet Earth II”). “We haven’t locked into a time period yet, but it will in the second quarter,” Bader said. “We will make a big event of this when it comes on, but that’ll be later in the spring. We have discussed everything from doing it as an event series to doing an hour a week or two hours a week. It hasn’t been determined yet.”
Among new unscripted series is “Deal or No Deal Island,” a twist on the Banijay “Deal or No Deal” format, in which 100 cases with millions of dollars are hidden on the “banker’s private island.” Endemol Shine North America is behind the series, with Sharon Levy, DJ Nurre and Howie Mandel as executive producers.
“’Deal or No Deal’ is a show that we get asked most often about coming back,” Bader said. “The twist of mashing it up with a competition show on an island, it’s fun. Rather than being on a stage where there’s briefcases to choose from, you and your team have to go and find them out on the island. The banker messes things up, just like he does on the regular show.”
Here is NBC’s fall 2023 schedule:
8 p.m. “The Voice”
10 p.m. “The Irrational” (NEW DRAMA)
8 p.m. “Night Court”
8:30 p.m. “Extended Family” (NEW COMEDY)
9 p.m. “The Voice”
10 p.m. “Quantum Leap”
8 p.m. “Chicago Med”
9 p.m. “Chicago Fire”
10 p.m. “Chicago P.D.”
8 p.m. “Law & Order”
9 p.m. “Law & Order: SVU”
10 p.m. “Found” (NEW DRAMA)
8 p.m. “The Wall”
9 p.m. “Dateline NBC”
7 p.m. “Big Ten Countdown”
7:30 p.m. “Big Ten Saturday Night”
7 p.m. “Football Night in America”
8:20 p.m. “NBC Sunday Night Football”
“America’s Got Talent”
“Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge”
“American Ninja Warrior”
“LA Fire and Rescue”
Untitled “America’s Got Talent” series
“Deal or No Deal Island”
“Law & Order: Organized Crime”
“Lopez vs. Lopez”
“The Americas” (NEW EVENT SERIES)
STILL ON THE BUBBLE
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