A thumbnail sketch of NBC's plans for fall season
Some highlights of NBC's moves in its schedule for next season, released on Sunday.
WHAT'S NEW: A lot. The long-struggling network invested heavily in new programming, and has ordered 17 new series for next season. John Malkovich as Blackbeard. James Spader as a wanted fugitive. Dracula brought to life. A cops drama from the guy who made "Law & Order." More supernatural stuff from J.J. Abrams. A cooking show. A quiz show. A home renovation show. If a couple of these make an impression on viewers, NBC will be thrilled.
WHAT'S GONE: The newsmagazine "Rock Center," in a move sure to cause bad blood between NBC's news and entertainment divisions. Matthew Perry's star vehicle "Go On," failing to recreate that "Friends" magic. And about two dozen other sitcoms you never watched.
LIFE SUPPORT: The serial killer drama "Hannibal" has terrible ratings, but NBC had such high hopes for it this spring that executives can't bear to pull the plug. Maybe it's their livers on the line.
STAR POWER: Michael J. Fox is a beloved sitcom actor, respected even more for his dignity in handling Parkinson's Disease. Now he's essentially turning those real-life experiences into a sitcom, where he will play a sportscaster going back to work. Interestingly, NBC gave Sean Hayes a more prominent spot on a Thursday night schedule geared to broad-appeal comedies, perhaps so Fox won't feel the pressure to save the network.
WHAT THEY NEED: Somebody to save the network.
BIG MOVE: "Revolution" to Wednesday nights, where it will no longer have the advantage of a big audience tuning in for "The Voice." ''Chicago Fire" moves to Tuesday. Moving successful shows to new nights is always risky, perhaps even more so for programs at an early stage in their development.
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