Capitalizing on a year with huge audience drivers, including two Olympics and the Super Bowl, NBC heads into the 2021-22 season with a winning year-round programming strategy that highlights dominant dramas in the fall, doubles down on comedies in midseason and pairs powerhouse unscripted shows with big tentpole event programming.
“Our program strategy for NBC is singularly focused on driving growth by capturing audiences with can’t-miss event television and keeping them on the network with immersive scripted series,” said Frances Berwick, Chairman, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We are leaning into pieces of the legacy that work, but not being precious about experimenting with things that can benefit from a change.”
“NBC is the flagship network in our portfolio and we wanted to treat it as such, shining a light on some of our most beloved shows and introducing a broad range of dynamic new programming,” said Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “Honoring our fans is a major focus this year and we’re delivering on favorites with more ‘Law & Order’ and ‘AGT’ as well as big send-offs for award-winning shows ‘This Is Us’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine.’ We have all of our amazing returning shows, and we’re launching what I believe will be fan favorites of the future – strong dramas like ‘La Brea,’ ‘Ordinary Joe,’ and ‘The Thing About Pam,’ laugh-out-loud comedies ‘American Auto’ and Grand Crew,’ and big new unscripted shows such as ‘American Song Contest.’”
Three new dramas join the fall schedule, including “Ordinary Joe” – a heartfelt, uplifting series centered around the idea of how choices made in a single moment can alter the course of life forever; “La Brea,” which follows the aftermath of a massive sinkhole that opens in Los Angeles revealing a mysterious primeval land; and “Law & Order: For the Defense,” a new chapter of the beloved brand that puts lawyers under the microscope. With perennial hit “The Voice” returning for its 21st cycle, featuring first-time coach Ariana Grande, the two new dramas will use the music show’s enviable launch pad on Monday and Tuesday nights.
The success of Wednesday night’s One Chicago lineup -- #1 in total viewers three years running -- will pave the way for the “Law & Order” franchise to dominate on Thursday nights.
This new night of Dick Wolf dramas brings together the iconic, record-breaking 23rd season of “Law & Order: SVU” with newly minted hit “Law & Order: Organized Crime” and the premiere of “Law & Order: For the Defense,” providing the perfect playground for crossover events.
After kicking off with a special post-Olympics send-off for “Brooklyn Nine Nine” this summer, comedy returns to the schedule in midseason. New series “American Auto” and “Grand Crew” will join sophomore successes “Kenan,” “Mr. Mayor” and “Young Rock”for two big nights of funny.From “Superstore” creator Justin Spitzer and starring Ana Gasteyer and Jon Barinholtz, “American Auto” builds on NBC’s legacy as the unrivaled home of the workplace comedy. “Grand Crew” also builds on NBC catalogue, hailing from “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” Phil Augusta Jackson and Dan Goor. Starring Echo Kellum (“Arrow”) and Nicole Byer (“Nailed It!”), “Grand Crew” revolves around a group of friends who unpack the ups and downs of life and love at a wine bar.
Midseason continues with new true-crime limited series “The Thing About Pam,” from Blumhouse Television, starring Renee Zellweger and inspired by episodes of “Dateline NBC,” where it became one of the most popular topics to ever air on the hit franchise. Other marquee midseason dramas include the sixth and final season of Dan Fogelman’s award-winning series “This Is Us,” which will return to its traditional Tuesday night 9 p.m. timeslot to give fans a largely uninterrupted run.
Throughout the year, NBC’s scripted series will be supercharged by huge promotional opportunities, including the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Beijing Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LVI as well as NBC’s hit holiday programming and four-quadrant unscripted series.
NBC’s holiday programming remains a top-audience driver, and this season’s robust lineup of live events and specials includes a return to the network’s storied tradition of live musicals with seven-time Tony Award winner “Annie Live!” In addition, Jimmy Fallon is set produce the animated special “Five More Sleeps ‘Til Christmas,” based on his best-selling children’s book, and a new animated special, “Trolls Holiday in Harmony,” arrives from DreamWorks Animation.
Hit comedies “Kenan,” “Mr. Mayor,” and “Young Rock” will also air special holiday episodes. These special events join perennial favorites that include “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” and “Christmas at Rockefeller Center,” ensuring that audiences stay entertained and engaged all through the holiday season.
Unscripted series continue the family fun with all new shows and returning favorites that kick-off in January and will populate the schedule throughout midseason and summer. These include “AGT: Extreme,” the high-octane, stunt-filled spinoff of hit franchise “America’s Got Talent,” and for the first time, an adaptation of the biggest music competition in the world, Eurovision Song Contest, with “American Song Contest.” This all-live event series features original musical performances, representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and our nation’s capital, competing to win the country's vote for the Best Original Song in a grand spectacle.
New game show “The Wheel,” based on a smash hit UK format, features contestants aiming to win big with the help of celebrity guests playing on a giant, spinning wheel. Jimmy Fallon heads to the primetime schedule as the executive producer and host of “That’s My Jam,” while Dick Wolf enters the unscripted space with the docuseries “LA Fire and Rescue,” following the real-life heroes of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The Emmy Award-winning celebrity genealogy docuseries “Who Do You Think You Are?” returns to NBC from executive producers Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky, while “Home Sweet Home” from Ava DuVernay will see two families embark on a life-changing experience, switching homes to see what life is really like behind closed doors.
NBC will finish the current season with the #1 most-watched alternative program “The Voice,” the #1 comedy with “Saturday Night Live” and the #1 drama with “This Is Us.” The network had two of the most successful comedies of the season in "Young Rock," which scored NBC’s best comedy debut in the 18-49 demo in nearly four years, and “Mr. Mayor,” which premiered as NBC’s best Thursday comedy launch in total viewers in nearly five years.
Returning shows for the 2021-22 schedule include “The Blacklist,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” “Chicago P.D.,” “Dateline NBC,” “Kenan,” “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Mr. Mayor,” “NBC Sunday Night Football,” “New Amsterdam,” “This Is Us,” “The Voice,” “The Wall,” “Transplant,” “Weakest Link” and “Young Rock.”
Decisions are yet to be made on “Debris,” “Ellen’s Game of Games,” “Good Girls,” “Manifest,” and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.”
As part of NBC’s rolling pilot process this year, the following projects have been picked up to pilot with decisions yet to be made on series greenlights: “Dangerous Moms” “Getaway,” “Hungry,” “Night Court” “Someone Out There” and the Untitled Nick Wootton/Jake Coburn Project. With the NBC’s 52-week scheduling strategy,these pilots could be possibilities for later in the 2021-22 season or could roll over to the 2022-23 season.
NBC FALL 2021-22 SCHEDULE (New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET/PT)
- 8-10 P.M. — The Voice
- 10-11 P.M. — ORDINARY JOE
- 8-9 P.M. — The Voice
- 9-10 P.M. — LA BREA
- 10-11 P.M. — New Amsterdam
- 8-9 P.M. — Chicago Med
- 9-10 P.M. — Chicago Fire
- 10-11 P.M. — Chicago P.D.
- 8-9 P.M. — LAW & ORDER: FOR THE DEFENSE
- 9-10 P.M. — Law & Order: SVU
- 10-11 P.M. — Law & Order: Organized Crime
- 8-9 P.M. – The Blacklist
- 9-11 P.M — Dateline NBC
- 8-9 P.M. — Drama Encores
- 9-10 P.M. — Dateline Weekend Mystery
- 10-11 P.M. – SNL Vintage
- 7-8:20 P.M. — Football Night in America
- 8:20-11 P.M. — NBC Sunday Night Football
NEW COMEDY SERIES
From the creator of “Superstore” comes a new workplace comedy that takes the wheels off the automobile industry. Set in Detroit, the corporate executives of Payne Motors are at a crossroads: adapt to the changing times or be sent to the junkyard. Shaking things up is the new CEO, whose leadership, experience and savvy is only slightly offset by her complete lack of knowledge about cars. Luckily, her team has some of the best minds in the business – when they aren’t fighting or trying to outwit each other. From the corporate office to the factory floor, the crew of Payne Motors is driving home the laughs.
The cast includes Ana Gasteyer, Jon Barinholtz, Harriet Dyer, Humphrey Ker, Michael B. Washington, Tye White and X Mayo.
From Phil Augusta Jackson (writer-producer-director, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) and Dan Goor (creator, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) comes a new comedy that proves that life is better with your crew. This group of young professionals are all trying to navigate the ups and downs of life and love in Los Angeles — and they always find time to gather at their favorite bar to “wine down” and unpack it all. There’s Noah, a hopeless romantic too eager to settle down; Nicky, a go-getter in both real estate and romance; Sherm, a low-key genius who plays the dating odds; Anthony, whose true love is his career; and Wyatt, who’s relieved to be married and out of the dating scene. And just like wine, their friendship gets better with time.
The cast includes Nicole Byer, Justin Cunningham, Aaron Jennings, Echo Kellum and Carl Tart.
An epic adventure begins when a massive sinkhole opens in the middle of Los Angeles, pulling hundreds of people and buildings into its depths. Those who fell in find themselves in a mysterious and dangerous primeval land, where they have no choice but to band together to survive. Meanwhile, the rest of the world desperately seeks to understand what happened. In the search for answers, one family torn apart by this disaster will have to unlock the secrets of this inexplicable event to find a way back to each other.
The cast includes Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Jon Seda, Nicholas Gonzalez, Chiké Okonkwo, Karina Logue, Zyra Gorecki, Jack Martin, Veronica St. Clair, Rohan Mirchandaney, Lily Santiago, Josh McKenzie and Chloe De Los Santos.
Life is all about the choices you make – and sometimes what you do in a single moment can change everything. This new heartfelt, life-affirming drama follows Joe Kimbreau, who faces one of these decisions at his college graduation. The three parallel stories that diverge from that night find Joe and the people around him with different careers, relationships and family lives, showing the unexpected ways that things change – and stay the same. But when it comes down to it, there is no “right” choice; no matter what happens, Joe’s life is always messy, exciting, tough, unpredictable … and beautiful.
The cast includes James Wolk, Natalie Martinez, Elizabeth Lail and Charlie Barnett.
In its 30-year history as the most successful brand in television, Law and Order has only ever explored the perspective of its iconic prosecutors … until now. From legendary executive producer Dick Wolf comes “Law & Order: For the Defense,” the newest entry in the beloved franchise that takes an unflinching look inside a criminal defense firm. Every week, the series will put the lawyers – and the criminal justice system – under the microscope like only Law & Order can, delivering hard-hitting, ripped-from-the-headlines stories that provide a new vantage point on justice.
LIMITED DRAMA SERIES
"THE THING ABOUT PAM”
Two-time Academy Award winner Renée Zellweger stars in a riveting true-crime drama inspired by one of the most popular, compelling sagas ever told on “Dateline NBC.” What appeared to be a straightforward murder case would eventually set off a chain of events exposing both a wrongful conviction and a diabolical scheme involving a woman named Pam Hupp. From Blumhouse Television, NBC News Studios and showrunner/executive producer Jessika Borsiczky, this limited series will bring a new perspective to a story that has already captivated millions.
The cast includes Renee Zellweger.
NEW UNSCRIPTED SERIES
Expanding the “America’s Got Talent” franchise from powerhouse producer Simon Cowell and production partner Fremantle, “AGT: Extreme” will showcase the most outrageous and jaw-dropping daredevil acts. Each week extreme contestants will go head-to-head in the most wild, wacky and craziest stunts to vie for the ultimate title. Cowell will serve as a judge.
“AMERICAN SONG CONTEST”
America’s biggest live entertainment event has arrived! Based on the worldwide phenomenon “Eurovision Song Contest,” organized for 65 years by the European Broadcasting Union and watched by 200 million viewers annually, this amazing musical spectacular combines the competitive spirit of rooting for your favorite sports team with the joy of watching a beloved singing performance. In the U.S. version of the international megahit, “American Song Contest” will feature live original musical performances, representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and our nation’s capital, competing to win the country's vote for the Best Original Song. An incredible solo artist, duo, DJ or a band will represent each location and will perform a new, original song, celebrating the different styles and genres across America. The live competition consists of three rounds as the acts compete in a series of Qualifying Rounds, followed by the Semi Finals and the ultimate Grand Final where one state or territory will emerge victorious.
"THAT’S MY JAM”
Jimmy Fallon will make his primetime hosting debut and executive produce “That's My Jam,” a new hourlong music and comedy variety event series that draws its creative DNA from wildly popular “The Tonight Show” games such as “Wheel of Musical Impressions,” “Roots Name That Song” and “Slay It Don’t Spray It.” In each episode, two teams of two celebrities compete for charity in a series of music and dance-based games, performative segments and play-along trivia with Fallon hosting all the action.
“LA FIRE AND RESCUE”
In this new docuseries, Dick Wolf, Universal Television Alternative Studio and 44 Blue Productions have gained unprecedented access within The Los Angeles County Fire Department. The LACoFD is responsible for protecting the lives and property of 4 million residents living in 59 cities across Los Angeles County. From helicopter mountain rescues, lifeguard beach SOS, fireboats, hazmat units, to California’s raging wildfires... they do it all. These fire fighters are true everyday heroes and their compelling stories will be told alongside the heart-pounding action of unpredictable and dangerous circumstances as they face the front lines of life and death. From the producers of NBC’s hit drama Chicago Fire comes Real Heroes. Real Calls. Real Drama.
The series will put viewers into a spin each week as celebrity guests attempt to help contestants win big. Full of edge-of-your seat jeopardy, plenty of laughs, huge stars and a spectacular 42-foot-wide spinning wheel make for one of the most exciting, and unorthodox, game shows to come around in a long time.
“WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”
“Who Do You Think You Are?” returns with new journeys of self-discovery, connection and diversity. A new group of celebrities will set sail on their mission to connect with their family history.
“HOME SWEET HOME”
Following two families who lead very different lives for a life-changing experience, executive producer Ava DuVernay’s “Home Sweet Home” explores what it’s like to walk a mile in another person’s shoes by challenging racial, religious, economic, geographic, gender and identity assumptions as participants exchange homes for a week and experience the life of someone unlike them.