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NBC cancels two shows, plans 'Community' return

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Two new NBC shows were cancelled Friday as part of a dramatic shakeup of the network’s fall lineup.

Wednesday night cop drama Ironside will air its last episode next week; Thursday night sitcom Welcome to the Family is gone ASAP. NBC will use a mixture of Dateline episodes and specials to fill the Ironside hole for the remainder of the year. Starting Jan. 8, Chicago Fire spin-off Chicago P.D. will take the 10 p.m. slot. On Thursdays, NBC will likewise use a rotating mix of content for the 8:30 p.m. slot for the rest of the year, including extra episodes of Parks and Recreation, The Voice (both live and an encore) and its The Sound of Music Live telecast. Fan favorite Community will return for its fifth season on Jan. 2.

Of these two changes, the big issue is Thursdays. The Wednesday 10 p.m. hole is one hour at the end of one night. NBC’s Thursday lineup is in such a crisis that even the guys at Chicago Fire wouldn’t know how to put it out. Last night’s three-hour block averaged only a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49, just barely edging out The CW overall. NBC’s two-hour once-signature comedy block has fallen 17 percent since last year, and 57 percent since 2009.

Dumping Welcome to the Family will certainly help. The sitcom about two families who come together because of their teenage kids’ unplanned pregnancy has averaged only 2.7 million viewers and a 1.0 rating. Yet the rest of the lineup isn’t doing much better: Parks and Recreation is averaging only a 1.6 so far, Sean Saves the World is at a 1.2 and The Michael J. Fox Show has a 2.3, a number inflated by its strong premiere week. The Michael J. Fox Show was also given a pre-pilot full-season commitment in order for the network to land the show.

Here’s the full list of NBC scheduling changes, more details and analysis to come…refresh for updates:

Starting in two weeks, NBC Wednesday 10 p.m. timeslot: READ FULL STORY

Fall TV: Six toughest time slot battles (and which show will win)

It’s war! Next week broadcasters shove the bulk of their new shows into the spotlight and anxiously count how many viewers show up to watch. Even in this era of heavy DVR use, a show’s time slot still matters plenty — just ask NBC’s Revolution, which was hugely boosted whenever it ran behind original episodes of The Voice last season (or any show that runs against The Voice, for that matter). Here are six of the most interesting new top time-period battles this fall — and who we think will win.

NBC's Fall Schedule Announcement: A snap judgement

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You know that a network has stopped taking risks when they start billing Michael J. Fox as their biggest, buzziest star. Yes, the artist formerly known as Alex P. Keaton (and currently know as an Emmy-magnet guest star) will return to NBC this fall, right back where he started with Family Ties, to star in his new sitcom, The Michael J. Fox Show, which kicks off a whole new family-themed Thursday night. That means no more witty, career-minded single ladies and cult-movie-referencing twentysomethings on Must-See TV. (Parks and Recreation is still around, but it’s been moved to the 8:00 PM sudden-death time slot, opposite The Big Bang Theory.) Instead, we get Fox, alongside the blended-family comedy Welcome to the Family, and Sean Hayes starring as a divorced gay dad on Sean Saves the World, all capped off with an hour of Parenthood. Aiming squarely down the middle of American brows this year, NBC is also bringing back some recognizable faces from decades past (Fox! Blair Underwood for Ironside! James Spader for The Blacklist!), along with a certain brand of comedy that hasn’t changed much since that time. You want jokes about parents tricking their kids into eating vegetables? You’ve got it! You want something a little edgier? Go watch AMC.


THE MICHAEL J FOX SHOW
The good news? Michael J. Fox’s new show comes from writer/executive producer Sam Laybourne (Cougar Town) and co-stars the great Betsy Brandt, who brings such sad and funny suffering-wife pathos to the role of Marie on Breaking Bad. The bad news? Despite the fact that it was inspired by Fox’s real-life battle with Parkinson’s, it looks like any other bland, what-is-this-family-coming-to-if-we-can’t-sit-down-to-eat-dinner-together? comedy, and the teaser clip just isn’t that funny. Be warned: there will be kale jokes.

READ FULL STORY

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