The rumored complete comedy revamp at NBC is happening. After a slew of cancellations yesterday, (Whitney, Guys With Kids, 1600 Penn, Up All Night), the network just pulled the plug on freshman Go On. So far, only one NBC comedy series, Parks And Recreation, has been renewed. Only two others are still alive — freshman The New Normal and veteran Community, whose fate is being determined in a complex multi-show negotiation between NBC and Sony but is looking good. Go On, which marked Friends star Matthew Perry’s return to NBC, started off strong, buoyed by a Voice lead-in. But it gradually started to slip, lost its rating footing once The Voice went to hiatus and never regained it. Rumors that NBC may discard almost all of its existing comedy series began surfacing early this month when word started to get out that the network is very happy with its comedy pilots.
NBC just made several scheduling changes, with low-rated Smash moving to Saturdays, and Go On getting a tryout on Thursday following the last episodes of the The Office. There is still some good news for loyal Smash fans — NBC is committed to airing all 17 episodes of the series’ second (and certain to be final) season. New reality series Ready For Love is getting a major upgrade. The two-hour show was originally slated to premiere on March 31 and air from 8-10 PM on Sundays, leading into The Apprentice. The dating series executive produced by Eva Longoria, which NBC brass have very high hopes for, is now getting the plum Tuesday 9-11 berth behind The Voice as of April 9. It will take over NBC’s Tuesday comedy block of Go On and The New Normal and drama Smash, which will all still get two airings on Tuesday with The Voice as 8 PM anchor. With Ready For Love relocating, NBC will air reruns of the Monday and Tuesday episodes of The Voice on Sunday, followed by Celebrity Apprentice, which will expand to two hours beginning April 14. We started the season with a three-way comedy face-off in the Tuesday 9 PM hour as Fox, ABC and NBC all scheduled single-camera half-hours in the slot. As of next month, only Fox will air comedies in the hour. Starting next week, Fox also is scaling back its comedy presence on the night from two to one hour (9-10 PM) but I hear the network brass remains committed to keeping comedies on Tuesday next season. Here are all the NBC changes:
READY FOR LOVE
- Will now air Tuesdays, beginning April 9 (9-11 p.m. ET) following “The Voice.”
- Beginning April 14 (9-11 p.m ET) will be expanded to two hours through the end of May.
NBC has made the first back orders this fall, giving full-season orders to drama Revolution and comedies Go On and The New Normal. “We’re impressed with the imagination and creative direction of the entire team on Revolution, not to mention the immediately strong response we got from the audience,” said NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “We’re also very proud of our new comedy block of Go On and The New Normal.”
The news comes on the heels of NBC logging its first outright premiere-week win among adults 18-49 in nine years, fueled by the early success of Revolution as well as The Voice‘s expansion to fall and the ongoing strength of Sunday Night Football. “We’re very pleased with early results of the last three weeks of our fall season roll-out,” said NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt. “The strategy for this season was to draft off the promotional platform of the Olympics and then begin our season early and strong. I think we’ve accomplished both of those goals, yet we know it’s a long season and there’s much work ahead of us.”
The pickups of Revolution, Go On and The New Normal had been considered no-brainers as the three have been NBC’s strongest new series so far this season. The forecast is cloudier for underperforming new comedies Animal Practice and Guys With Kids.
UPDATE, 1:23 PM: The final tally is in and for last night’s XXX Summer Games (16.8/28) it was truly a Gold medal spike worthy of Beach Volleyball winners Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. With 29.1 million viewers on average tuning in, last night was the most watched second Wednesday of any Summer Olympics in 36 years. That includes the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, which pulled in 28.9 million on its second Wednesday. While the London Games has often topped all other non-U.S. Summer Games since 1976, it has rarely done better than Games that were held in the United States. Of course, as it has in the final numbers for 12 of the 13 nights of the London Games, NBC’s primetime 8 – 11 PM coverage of the Olympics once again bested the 2008 Beijing Games. The Summer Olympics four years ago got 24.8 million on its second Wednesday, that’s 17% less than last night. Last night’s coverage was also up 11% in the ratings from Beijing’s 15.2/26 on the comparable night back in 2008. The 32.6 million viewers that NBC has had on average in primetime over the first 13 day s of the London Games is 3.6 million more than the average of 29.0 million that watched the first 13 nights of the Beijing Games.
PREVIOUS UPDATE: NBC released “fast official” ratings for the preview of Go On, which actually aired from 11:06-11:30 PM. It averaged a 5.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 16.1 million viewers and posted a 84% retention from the first to second half, according to NBC.
PREVIOUS: Last night’s Olympics coverage on NBC, punctuated by an all-American beach volleyball women’s final won by three-time champions Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor, and a track & field gold rush, delivered a 9.2/27 among adults 18-49 from 8-11 PM and 28.7 million viewers in the fast nationals. That was up 14% from the same night during the Beijing games and down 5% from last Wednesday as Olympics ratings tend to taper off in Week 2. A commercial-free preview of NBC’s new comedy Go On starring Matthew Perry aired from 11:04-11:30 PM. NBC’s 11-11:30 PM fast national average was 18.6 million viewers and a 6.4/20 in 18-49. Extrapolating the numbers, Go On pulled in about 5.8 demo rating and 16.6 million viewers. While that is only a little more than half of the show’s lead-in (NBC’s Olympics coverage scored 10.4 and 30.6 million viewers from 10:30-11 PM), it is still good sampling for the new series.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Matthew Perry’s last shot at sitcom stardom, ABC’s Mr. Sunshine in 2011, didn’t work out so well, lasting less than a season. Undaunted, he’s back again — and at the scene of his greatest success, NBC — for Go On, produced by Friends writer-producer Scott Silveri and starring Perry as a sports talk radio host and recent widower who reluctantly joins a grief counseling support group. “I gravitate toward broken characters who try to be better people”, Perry said this afternoon at TCA. He added that Mr. Sunshine, too, was about such a character but believes, “This is a much better setup”. He added of his Mr. Sunshine character, “That guy was sort of in a bad mood and no one really knew why”. When it was pointed that a lot of people in the room liked Mr. Sunshine, Perry was befuddled. “This is the room”? he quipped. I wish I’d just stayed in this room all year”. He even tried today to stress, clearly in jest, that this new role is the best he’s ever had. “It’s either this or The Whole Ten Yards”, he concluded. But Perry later reflected on what made Friends such a blockbuster success. “Friends was just great chemistry, great writing, great lighting, great acting — and a little bit of magic thrown in”.
Damon Wayans Jr is heading to the Tuesday 9 PM slot after all. The actor starred in the pilot for Fox’s New Girl but had to pull out because his series in first position, ABC’s Happy Endings, was surprisingly renewed for a second season last May. Now he will face New Girl as ABC is slotting Happy Endings in the Thursday 9 PM slot this fall. ABC opening a 9-10 PM comedy block on Tuesday is surprising given the fact that the network last May said it would expand its new Last Man Standing-anchored Tuesday 8-9 PM comedy block to 10 PM in January with the younger-skewing Cougar Town and Don’t Trust The B—- in the 9 PM hour. But the network abandoned the idea, with ABC topper Paul Lee citing the strength of New Girl for the decision. Now the network is pitting Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B— against New Girl and Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project.
NEW COMEDIES & DRAMAS FOR 2012-13 NBC PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
Sitcoms expand to four nights this fall including Tuesday and Friday nights. New dramas from Dick Wolf and JJ Abrams. Here’s your first look:
NBC’s Save Me - Comedy
Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Original Film. Novelist John Scott Shepherd is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Scott Winant and executive producers Neal H. Moritz, Vivian Cannon, and Alexa Junge:
NBC’s 1600 Penn - Comedy
Produced by 20th Century Fox. From executive producer/director Jason Winer. The executive producers are Winer (who also directed the pilot), Gad and former White House speechwriter Jon Lovett: