With the Olympics fast approaching NBC is looking to start solidifying its post Winter Games plans and today they did just that by announcing premieres for five new midseason series, including two of the season’s most high profile debuts.
Back in May, NBC announced they were planning on filling their “Sunday Night Football” timeslot with a one-two punch of dramas featuring big name talent. Today, they revealed that would go into effect starting Sunday March 16.
The first of the two to get exposure though will be “Believe,” which comes from J.J. Abrams (“Revolution”) and Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity”). The drama will get a preview airing on Monday March 10, following “The Voice” before heading to Sundays. The series revolves around Bo, a young girl with special powers (Johnny Sequoyah) who is entrusted into the care of Tate (Jake McLaughlin), a wrongly convicted death row inmate who is broken out of jail by a group known as "True Believers.” The more well-known trio of Delroy Lindo, Kyle MacLachlan and Jamie Chung will round out the cast.
Following “Believe” will be “Crisis” which is a large ensemble drama toplined by Gillian Anderson, Dermot Mulroney and Rachel Taylor. The series centers on the kidnapping of a group of students all from an elite school for the privileged.
The biggest issue that both dramas will run into is going to be asking for audiences to give them a two-hour time commitment each week. These are two HIGHLY serialized series and it may be too much to ask for viewers to keep coming back, especially if the numbers don’t start off strong. This isn’t about quality, as both have good pedigrees and a good cast, but more about this age we are in of trigger-happy networks and gun-shy audiences…and the fact the shows will bow right around the same time as the final episodes of this season’s “The Walking Dead” and the eventual debut of the new season of “Game of Thrones.” Uncertainty paired with heavy competition doesn’t usually translate to hits.
“Believe” & “Crisis” will air back-to-back at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. EST and have “American Dream Builders” as its lead-in at 8 p.m. EST. “Builders” will be hosted by Nate Burkus and is a reality competition series that pits 12 of the country’s most accomplished designers and builders against each other as they tackle massive home renovation projects. Former NFL star turned accomplished landscape architect Eddie George and interior design expert Monica Pedersen will join Burkus on the judging panel.
On the comedy side, NBC will devote a full hour on Tuesday nights to a pair of new comedies including the highly anticipated “About A Boy” and the buzzy “Growing Up Fisher.” “Boy” is based on the popular book/movie and stars Minnie Driver (who reprises her film role) as a woman who unexpectedly bonds with her new next door neighbor (David Walton) over her charming young son (Benjamin Stockham). Comedian Al Madrigal co-stars in this comedy which is being developed by “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood” alum Jason Katims.
Following “Boy” is “Growing Up Fisher,” which centers on the Fisher family, headed up by Mel (JK Simmons), a proud but well-intentioned lawyer who believes he can do ANYTHING (including woodworking and teaching his daughter to drive) even though he’s blind. The pilot picks up after Mel and his wife (Jenna Elfman) get a divorce and their 11 year old son Henry (Eli Baker) begins to feel left out when Mel starts to rely more on a guide dog for support. Jason Bateman narrates the show as an older version of Henry, ala “The Wonder Years.”
Both “Boy” and “Fisher” will get a Olympic try-out of their own as “Boy” will sneak on Friday February 21 at 10:30 and “Fisher” will do the same two nights later at the same time. While this will give the shows extra exposure, this strategy was not met with high marks by audiences who hated that NBC truncated coverage of the Olympics for their own programming back in 2012. It’s also worth noting all three shows NBC tried this with prior (“Go On,” “The New Normal” and “Animal Practice”) were all cancelled after one season.
NBC has still yet to reveal an exact date for its bigger budget event series “Crossbones,” which stars John Malkovich as the legendary pirate Blackbeard.
The full list of changes is below:
FRIDAY, FEB. 21
10:30 p.m. About a Boy (Debut following Olympics coverage)
SUNDAY, FEB. 23
10:30 p.m. Growing Up Fisher (Debut following Olympics closing ceremonies)
TUESDAY, FEB. 25
9 p.m. About a Boy (Timeslot Premiere)
9: 30 p.m. Growing Up Fisher (Timeslot Premiere)
MONDAY, MARCH 10
10 p.m. Believe (Series premiere sneak preview following “The Voice”)
SUNDAY, MARCH 16
8 p.m. American Dream Builders (Timeslot Premiere)
9 pm Believe (Timeslot Premiere)
10 p.m. Crisis (Timeslot Premiere)