NBC announces fall schedule (with just one new show), but the real question is, 'When'?

Gary Levin
USA TODAY
Christopher Meloni, with Mariska Hargitay on "Law & Order: SVU," will star in a new spinoff, "Law & Order: Organized Crime," part of NBC's planned fall schedule.

NBC unveiled plans Tuesday for a fall schedule that looks a lot like last fall's, despite a COVID-19 pandemic that has left TV production at a standstill, at least for now.

The main unanswered question is when the "fall season" will actually begin.

The network says it will air nine dramas this fall, including top-rated "This Is Us" and new spinoff "Law & Order: Organized Crime," along with Sunday Night Football, "The Voice" (with Gwen Stefani returning) and just two comedies, "Superstore" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." 

None of them have begun filming yet; ordinarily, that wouldn't begin until July. But early signs of reopening Hollywood – CBS soap "The Bold and the Beautiful" is expected to resume taping Wednesday, the first broadcast series to do so – signal the potential for some sense of stability.  CBS has also announced a traditional fall schedule, but CW and Fox have scheduled fill-in programming, and have benched their regular lineups until January.  

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“Thanks to the ingenuity of our creative teams and our partner studios, NBC has assembled a remarkably stable schedule at a time when stability is called for,” said Paul Telegdy, chairman of NBC Entertainment, in a statement. “With the reopening of the Universal lot for select productions this week, we are confident that our schedule will premiere intact later this fall."

The new season of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," which aired last winter, is expected on NBC's fall schedule, starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher.

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Also on tap at NBC: Three hours of "Dateline," "Saturday Night Live" repeats and "Sunday Night Football," assuming it's safe to play. 

"Organized Crime," the lone new series, stars Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler, his former "SVU" character, who "returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss," but must "adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning," NBC says, reflecting a reaction to the protests of police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death last month.

Also due later next season: The previously announced "Kenan," starring Kenan Thompson as a widowed dad; "Mr. Mayor," from producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, starring Ted Danson as a wealthy businessman who runs for Los Angeles mayor; and "Young Rock," a semi-autobiographical story of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson featuring a young actor playing the star and Johnson's narration.

Also returning later next season are "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist," "Good Girls," "Making It" and "Ellen's Game of Games." 

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NBC's "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" will return for a second season next year.

NBC's fall schedule

Monday: 8, The Voice; 10, Manifest

Tuesday: 8, The Voice; 9, This Is Us; 10, New Amsterdam

Wednesday: 8, Chicago Med; 9, Chicago Fire; 10, Chicago P.D.

Thursday: 8, Superstore; 8:30, Brooklyn Nine-Nine; 9, Law & Order: SVU; 10, Law & Order: Organized Crime

Friday: 8, The Blacklist; 9, Dateline NBC

Saturday: 8, Dateline Saturday Night Mystery; 10, Saturday Night Live (repeats)

Sunday: 7, Football Night in America; 8:20, Sunday Night Football.

(all times EDT/PDT; new shows in bold; new time slots in italics)