This past weekend saw a flurry of activity in the television industry, as the major broadcast networks announced which pilots would be going to series and revealed scheduling plans for the 2013-14 season. The excitement continues this week with the upfront presentations, where networks introduce the fall lineup in front of the press and major advertisers.
First in line late Monday morning, NBC kicked off upfronts week from Radio City Music Hall in New York City with a warmup performance from The Roots, NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon house band that will be following Fallon to the Tonight Show next year. Of course, there was the obligatory Tonight Show joke from NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, who claimed he would be leaving his current job to host the venerable late-night institution in 2014 while Jay Leno takes his job.
Greenblatt acknowledged that NBC suffered some midseason setbacks after finishing on top in the fall season for the first time in nine years. "It was a bit of a roller coaster season for us but I think we made really good progress," said the executive. He added that NBC was second only to FOX in the coveted Adults 18–49 demographic, and ended the season flat while the other networks saw losses.
New shows pushed the hardest were The Blacklist and The Michael J. Fox Show, with Ironside also getting its share of promotion during the presentation. Greenblatt noted that Blacklist will benefit from its Monday 10:00 PM timeslot following ratings juggernaut The Voice, just as Revolution did when it launched in the same slot last fall. Once again, there will be two cycles of The Voice, with the first premiering on September 23 and the second immediately after the network's coverage of the Winter Olympics in February.
NBC entertainment president Jen Salke took the stage to discuss the new emphasis on family comedies on Thursdays, a lineup that includes The Michael J. Fox Show, Welcome To The Family, Sean Saves The World, and About A Boy. Looking ahead to midseason, the Peacock's drama initiative will see new series Believe and Crisis take over Sunday nights once Sunday Night Football wraps up.
Turning to the rebooted Ironside, Salke countered any comparisons to the original series, which starred Raymond Burr and ran on NBC from 1967 until 1975. "For those of you who remember the old series about a detective in a wheelchair, forget about it because this is an edgy cop drama," she stated.
The presentation opened and closed with a focus on The Blacklist, showing how high NBC is on the new drama starring James Spader as a notorious criminal mastermind. In Greenblatt's opening comments, he bragged that the pilot had scored higher than all 125 other NBC pilots over the last ten years, and the presentation ended with a well-received trailer for the new series.
For a look at some of the trailers unveiled during NBC's upfront, click here!