NBC and Fox offer fall TV plans, up to a point amid change

NEW YORK (AP) — Something was missing when Fox announced its plans for the fall television season: a schedule.

It was one of many signs of how the business has changed since the networks resumed their annual glitzy presentations for advertisers, which had been put on hold due to the pandemic. NBC and Fox, which kicked off the week on Monday, pointed out that the flagship networks are now part of big media companies.

The networks can always boast of being stars. Susan Sarandon, George Lopez, Raymond Lee, Camila Cabello and Trace Adkins will be presented in new contexts. Kelly Clarkson sang to open the NBC show and Miley Cyrus performed to end it.

Traditional presentations usually reveal new shows coming up, old shows leaving, and when they will air during the week and year. Although fixed schedules remain, they are obsolete for many viewers, who are getting used to deciding for themselves when they want to watch or stream programs.

That wasn’t part of Fox’s reasoning for not revealing a timeline. Fox Entertainment CEO Charles Collier said the network is trying a “new approach” to give equal weight to its Tubi streaming service.

Holding back gives Fox the ability to adjust its schedule based on what competitors are doing. It may also have reflected Fox’s unresolved discussions with the producers of “911” and “The Resident,” but the network announced later Monday that the dramas had been renewed for the upcoming season.

NBC executives insisted advertisers could work with the broadcast network, streaming service Peacock and cable outlets like Bravo, USA, CNBC and NBC. NBC has announced that all of its shows will be available on Peacock the day after they air, and that many Universal movies will also be available to stream soon.

“It’s not an extension of our core business or a pivot,” said NBCUniversal chief executive Jeff Shell. “It’s our core business.”

In another illustration of changing times, Bravo used its time during Monday’s presentation to celebrate the upcoming BravoCon fanfest, as opposed to individual programs.

NBC’s core lineup comes courtesy of veteran producer Dick Wolf. His shows “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire,” and “Chicago PD” occupy the network’s Wednesday night schedule, while “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime” fill Thursday prime time.

NBC is opening the door to more diversity with a new offering, “Lopez vs. Lopez,” a sitcom about a working-class family starring Lopez and her real-life daughter, Mayan Lopez.

Lee stars in “Quantum Leap,” which NBC described as a “reimagining” of the network’s 1989-1993 sci-fi drama starring Scott Bakula. Lee, whose credits include Fox’s “Prodigal Son” and the upcoming sequel to Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” joins the handful of Asian Americans as the show’s leads.

That’s not the only offer that will sound familiar. The network is also bringing back John Larroquette to star in a “Night Court” sequel, Wolf revived the original “Law & Order,” and Peacock is airing a remake of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

“I’m pretty confident that I’ll be here in two years to announce the ‘This is Us’ reboot,” joked comedian Seth Meyers of the NBC drama, which will have its series finale next week.

The pandemic was always the focus. Meyers told the audience watching at Radio City Music Hall: “What a historic venue to tell people you got COVID.”

Pop star Cabello will join “The Voice” singing competition next season. Meanwhile, fellow ‘The Voice’ star Blake Shelton has joined Carson Daly and professional wrestler Nikki Bella to host a new US series, ‘Barmageddon’, in which contestants will play bar games. There was a distinct lack of public enthusiasm.

“We have no idea when it will air in the United States,” Bella said.

“Or so,” Daly added quietly.

Among the plans Fox announced on Monday is the expansion of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s empire. His “MasterChef” continues to roll, and Fox has announced that Ramsey’s “Next Level Chef” series will get the coveted time slot after the Super Bowl next February, which exposes a program to millions of new viewers. Fox will also launch the competition show “Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars” next season.

Fox will also go country with “Monarch,” described as a “Texas-sized, multi-generational musical drama about America’s first country music family.” Sarandon and musician Adkins are the headliners.

Actor Jamie Foxx will be behind the camera for the missing persons drama “Alert.” The network will also launch an “Accused” crime anthology series that begins with someone on trial and audiences learning through flashbacks of what they’ve been accused of.

When will the new shows air? Stay tuned.


Media writer David Bauder reported from New York and television writer Lynn Elber from Los Angeles.

Karl M. Bailey