Danson returns to NBC schedule with a Thursday night comedy

AP News
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Posted: May 15, 2016 3:48 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Ted Danson returns to NBC's Thursday night lineup this fall as part of a conservative scheduling strategy announced Sunday for a network that is holding off much of its new material for other times in the year.

NBC also reached a last-minute deal with producers of the popular comedy "The Carmichael Show" to bring it back next season. The network released its scheduling plans Sunday in advance of Monday's presentation to advertisers in New York, the first of the broadcasters that will do so this week.

Danson, the memorable barkeep in "Cheers" on NBC more than two decades ago, will star in "The Good Place." He plays Kristen Bell's guide to the afterlife in a comedy produced by Michael Schur, whose credits include "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Parks and Recreation."

"It's basically a redemptive story about a young woman who hasn't made the best choices in life finding herself with a chance to course correct," said Jennifer Salke, NBC Entertainment president.

The network is doing some schedule shuffling, moving the sophomore thriller "Blindspot" from Monday to Wednesday, the drama "Chicago Med" from Tuesday to Thursday and "The Blacklist" back an hour to 10 p.m. on Thursday nights.

But of the 12 new series NBC plans to introduce next season, only three are on the fall schedule. Besides "The Good Place," the other two are the dramas "Timeless," about a criminal who steals a secret time machine with the goal of destroying America by changing its past, and "This is Us," a drama-comedy starring Mandy Moore about three strangers whose lives intersect in odd ways.

Among the shows NBC plans to roll out later in the year are "Chicago Justice," the fourth in Dick Wolf's series of Chicago dramas, a spinoff of "The Blacklist," a remake of the movie "Taken," a "Wizard of Oz" reimagining, a comedy based on Marlon Wayans' life and another comedy that will return John Lithgow to NBC's schedule. Also returning later is Steve Harvey's kids' show "Little Big Shots" and "Celebrity Apprentice" with Arnold Schwarzenegger, which won't be on the air until the electoral fate of the show's original host, Donald Trump, is known.

The strategy illustrates the changing nature of TV, when new shows premiere year-round, and NBC touts its stability. But the conservative fall lineup is noticeable in a year where NBC has the powerful platform of the Summer Olympics in August to promote its programming.

"For the first time in a long time we're not running around throwing shows up against the wall and hoping for the best," said Robert Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment chairman.

NBC will take advantage of the Olympics attention by airing an episode of the comedy "Superstore" during the Games, and when they conclude in late August will air a new reality show that follows Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman on a trip across Asia.

NBC executives and Twentieth Century Fox Television were haggling over the number of episodes of "The Carmichael Show" that would be ordered for next season. They settled on 13, announcing the show's pickup three hours after the network had released next season's schedule. It's unclear when the show will be back on the air.

NBC said it still is discussing whether one of its high-profile pilots, a remake of the movie "Cruel Intentions" starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, will find a place on its schedule.