NBC said it would shift its freshman hit "The Blacklist' from its Monday-night roost to Thursdays as part of its plan for the 2014-15 TV season, a bid to bring new life to an evening the Peacock once dominated but on which it has fallen short in recent years.
The James Spader-led drama is one of the few hits of the 2013-14 season and in moving it to Thursday, NBC hopes to reinvigorate a night once known for such TV-ratings juggernauts as "The Cosby Show," 'Seinfeld" and "Cheers." Thursdays are one of the most important nights of the week for advertisers, particularly retailers and movie studios who want to pitch weekend sales events and Friday-night movie openings.
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NBC's weakness on the evening has stuck out, even as the network has seen its viewership among people between 18 and 49, the demographic most coveted by advertisers, soar thanks to "Sunday Night Football," "The Voice" and its 2014 broadcast of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Indeed, NBC expects to wrap the current season leading in the 18-49 rankings, the first time it has done so in a decade. Even without the Olympics broadcasts, NBC said it would still lead the category for the programming year, trumping Fox, the nearest contender in the category.
To broaden its base, NBC said it would take "The Blacklist" off the air in mid-November, then relaunch it on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. in February after giving it a berth after its February 1, 2015, broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX.
""The multi-pronged strategy behind moving 'The Blacklist,' which has shown enormous linear ratings and record time-shifting, is to not only enliven our Thursday night lineup but also create two desirable timeslots -- lead-outs from 'The Voice' (8-10 p.m. Monday) and 'The Blacklist' (9-10 p.m. Thursday)," said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, in a prepared statement.
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NBC said it would unveil five new dramas and seven new comedies as part of its new programming. Among those series not returning are cult-favorite comedy "Community," sci-fi drama "Revolution," and freshman series "Growing Up Fisher," "Crisis" and "Believe." The network also said critical favorites "Parks and Recreation" and "Parenthood" would each enter their final season in the 2014-2015 programming year.
The strongest of those candidates would appear to be "State of Affairs," which will get the Monday 10 p.m. slot after "The Voice" after "The Blacklist" is taken off the schedule in the first half of the season; and "Marry Me," which will air after "The Voice" at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. NBC may also bring more of a spotlight to what it said would be the final season of Thursday-night drama "Parenthood" by moving "The Blacklist" to Thursday nights at 9 p.m..
Monday night's "State of Affairs" has the makings of a glitzy hit. Katherine Heigl, best known from her days on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and her turn in several successful romantic comedies, plays a CIA analyst who assembles a daily briefing of international crises for the U.S. President, played by Alfre Woodard. The character was also once engaged to the Commander-in-Chief's son, killed in a terrorist incident. Writer-director Joe Carnahan serves as executive producer with Katherine Heigl, Nancy Heigl, Robert Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton, Rodney Faraon and Julia Franz. "State of Affairs" is a production of Universal Television, Bob Simonds Company and Abishag Productions.
Tuesday night's "Marry Me" centers on a couple played by Casey Wilson and Ken Marino who only want to get engaged after they can put together the most perfect proposal for a scenario. Writer David Caspe and director Seth Gordon serve as executive producer with Jamie Tarses. "Marry Me" is a production of Sony Pictures Television and FanFare Productions.
Mondays on NBC will otherwise look much the same, with "The Voice" continuing to air between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday's lineup will consist of returning unscripted series "The Biggest Loser" airing at 8 p.m, followed by "Marry Me" at 9 p.m. , returning comedy "About a Boy" at 9: 30 p.m., and returning crime drama "Chicago Fire" at 10 p.m.
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'Laura' on Wednesdays
NBC said it would kick off Wednesdays with a new drama, "The Mysteries of Laura." The series stars Debra Messing as a brilliant NYPD homicide detective who must balance her job with a hectic family life that includes twin boys and a soon-to-be-ex husband. Writer Jeff Rake and director McG serve as executive producer with Greg Berlanti, Aaron Kaplan, Todd Lituchy and Sarah Schechter. "The Mysteries of Laura" is a production of Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti Productions and Kapital Entertainment.
The hour-long program will be followed at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays by returning veteran "Law & Order: SVU" at 9 p.m. and returning drama "Chicago P.D." at 10 p.m.