NBC 2018 Schedule: Bob Greenblatt Talks ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ Dick Wolf Wednesday and NBC’s Comedy Profile
Now the truth can be told. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” was never in danger of cancellation even after Fox dropped the comedy series because NBC had been eyeing it for some time.
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt spoke Sunday about the decision to bring “Brooklyn” into the Peacock network fold, the revamp of Wednesdays into a three-stack of Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” dramas and the decision to expand the presence of summer reality hits “America’s Got Talent” and “World of Dance” with new winter editions.
Greenblatt held a conference call with reporters after NBC released its 2018-2019 primetime schedule, a lineup that brings only two new dramas and one new comedy to the fall roster. That decision reflects the stability of NBC’s underlying drama-heavy schedule and the importance of holding big bets for winter and spring launches, Greenblatt said.
“As the business has changed the winter and the spring and the summer seasons are as important for us as anything,” Greenblatt said. “We have a really strong, stable fall with many returning shows that are just great anchors, great lead-ins for us.”
On “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” produced by NBCUniversal’s Universal TV arm, Greenblatt said he had regretted selling the project to Fox as soon as Andy Samberg was cast in the lead role of the ensembler set in a New York Police Department precinct.
“We’re thrilled to have it. We think it fits into our brand of comedy in many ways better than it ever fit into the Fox brand of comedy,” Greenblatt said. He noted that Samberg “grew up on ‘SNL’ ” and “Brooklyn” co-creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur both have long NBC associations. “Brooklyn” adds to Schur’s comedy stable that includes NBC’s “The Good Place” and new comedy set for midseason, “Abby’s,” an ensembler set in a San Diego bar.
The outpouring from “Brooklyn” fans (including none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda) after Fox’s decision to drop it after five seasons was significant, Greenblatt said, but he emphasized that NBC was ready to “jump” on the show regardless. He noted that “Brooklyn” has earned some of the strongest reviews of its run in season five, which was another reason to continue Universal’s investment. The show has also performed well by comedy standards in syndication and international sales.
“We love it when the fans yell and scream. We love it even more when they watch the show,” Greenblatt said.
NBC’s decision to turn Wednesday into all “Chicago” night was an idea considered for some time but this fall the stars aligned.
“We have moved things around and looked at different configurations (of the ‘Chicago’ shows). We’d flirted with doing it in the past. We just looked at the landscape and saw it as a chance to try them together. We’re happy that our research department also liked this idea.”
Greenblatt addd that having the trio of “Chicago” shows all on Wednesday makes it easier and hopefully more effective for the shows to “overlap and crossover,” he said. “We thought it was a fun way to energize Wednesday.” He also noted that the shuffle sends the venerable “Law & Order: SVU” back to a 10 p.m. berth, this time on Thursday following NBC’s only comedy block.
“We love the idea of ‘Law & Order’ back at 10 o’clock,” Greenblatt said.
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