NBC Execs Defend Blacklist Hiatus, Talk Constantine Recast, Hannibal Season 3, State of Heigl's 'Momager' and More

Fall TV The Blacklist Schedule Change

Red Reddington will have a new place to hang his hat come February, regardless of how The Blacklist‘s Monday night replacement performs.

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NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told TVLine on Sunday at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour that even if State of Affairs — NBC’s new Katherine Heigl-fronted drama — fails to perform well in the Mondays-at-10 time slot starting in mid-November, “The Blacklist isn’t going to go back in there.”

Rather, The Blacklist is set to launch Season 2 on Monday, Sept. 22, make way for State of Affairs starting Nov. 17, and then return from its 10-week hiatus in early February — first with an aprés-Super Bowl showcase, then with a second new episode just days later, christening its new Thursdays-at-9 home.

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Greenblatt explained that The Blacklist would only have delivered eight or nine new episodes this fall regardless, due to the show’s “enormous” production demands. By moving last season’s No. 1 new series to a new night, Greenblatt hopes to “change the game” for NBC on Thursdays.

For good measure, The Blacklist‘s pre-hiatus finale will deliver a “big hook” to pique and hold viewers’ interest over the break, before the drama returns with a “big two-parter” during Super Bowl week.

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Other topics covered by Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke and alternative programming boss Paul Telegdy during NBC’s TCA executive session:

* Asked to account for Katherine Heigl’s mother Nancy’s role as a producer on the aforementioned State of Affairs, Salke said the “momager” is “someone who has a strong opinion…. We found her to be nothing but additive to the process [and is] not disruptive in any way I can think of.”

* The freshman supernatural drama Constantine is replacing female lead Lucy Griffiths with an “authentic Latina actress” whose deal has not yet officially closed.

* While The Night Shift has already been renewed for Season 2, Greenblatt said a decision on summer comedies such as Undateable will come “in the nest few weeks.”

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* Early scripts for Hannibal Season 3 “blew us away,” Salke raved. Greenblatt added that while the Bryan Fuller-helmed drama is “one of the best shows we have creatively and one of the best reviewed shows… We still struggle to find an audience for it.”

* Though Maya Rudolph’s inaugural variety special was “imperfect,” Telegdy admitted, NBC is “very much in discussions with Maya… about what the show would look like” if it returned for an encore at midseason.

* Greenblatt sees an “opportunity” for NBC’s Thursday line-up — The Biggest Loser leading into two new comedies and then Parenthood — opposite CBS’ six in-season weeks of Thursday Night Football. Of CBS’ new football foray, he suggested, “I don’t think you’re going to see the ratings we see on Sunday night.”

* The multigenerational family comedy Bill Cosby is developing for NBC “is not going to be on before this coming season is over,” Greenblatt said.

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71 Comments
  1. Martina says:

    I applaud NBC for sticking with Hannibal even though the ratings aren’t stellar, I’m sorry they didn’t do the same with Dracula, but I guess you can’t carry too many shows that are genuinely good although not ratings winners. I wish other networks would do the same & then we’d have more variety & not just the same old dross spun in a different way.

    • Rose says:

      So glad they chose to continue with Hannibal! I hope they get to finish the entire story arc, that would be awesome :)

    • Tom says:

      I agree. Hannibal is the most intelligent program nbc has and now without drac being renewed it’s the only filmed series they have on the schedule that is actually must see tv. They are lucky to have football since the rest of the schedule is mostly mindless drivel.

  2. Polly says:

    SARCASM ON
    it’ll work great!
    as it did for Revolution on NBC and for V on ABC!
    it’ll be a success!
    SARCASM OFF

    • JJM says:

      Sure, scheduling is a real issue, but it really comes back to the fans of the show to keep up to date with it. NBC isn’t exactly known for their scheduling perfection, but as a fan of any TV show with a long hiatus, meet the network half way.

      • johnhelvete says:

        I also think part of the issue is how invested the viewers are with a show. Are viewers only watching a show because it is the best thing on at that night and at that time, and when the show goes on hiatus they forget about the show because it is mediocre and the viewers move on to something else. Those are timeslot hits and not actual hits. Seems NBC believes The Blacklist is an actual hit and we will find out in February if NBC is correct.

        • Moment says:

          We don’t need to wait until Feb to see if its a hit, the show had a minor drop on Monday for a few weeks without The Voice lead in. But episode 13 pulled 10.17 million viewers, 2.5 without The Voices help. I think that says it all.

      • Keith says:

        If someone is really a fan of a show they will watch it at anytime or after any length of hiatus.Just set your dvr and it will find it.

        • Boiler says:

          Don’t watch Blacklist personally but your comment is perfect.

        • tp says:

          This is exactly how I figured out I wasn’t really a fan of Revolution. When it went on that 4 month hiatus I was really interested in coming back. I will follow, or rather my dvr will, Blacklist anywhere.

        • canadian ninja says:

          And advertisers TOTALLY love dvr ratings cuz it makes it easier for viewers to rewind and enjoy commercials!!!

    • Simon Jester says:

      BLACKLIST is a better show than either REVOLUTION or V, no matter how long the hiatus.

    • Moment says:

      Part of the problem with Revolution was the writing. That and people lost interest. Also when the show returned for its second half of Season 1, it pulled a 2.6 with 7.03 million viewers. The following week it pulled 6.36 with a 2.2, and things went downhill from there, the hiatus didn’t kill the show.

      The Blacklist doesn’t have this problem, it has great writing and is superbly acted, if anything this hiatus will get the show a third season.

      • Melora says:

        Agreed. Revolution was cancelled because it was an incoherent mess. I felt sorry for the actors. Its obvious the show tried to be too many things by mixing genres and failed miserably.

        • Moment says:

          It’s a shame some fans blame the scheduling, when if you look overall at the shows ratings, they were on a slow but consistent decline. People simply lost interest.

  3. JJM says:

    Not sure why he needs to defend anything to anybody… He’s the head of the network…

  4. David says:

    I love Hannibal and it’s quite possibly the best show on network TV. It pushes the boundaries and is miles above anything I thought it would be. However he’s right when it says it hasn’t found an audience. While I love the show, and obviously I would want it back as soon as possible at mid season I think it’s a show that would do very well to start at the end of the normal season. Perhaps more people would tune in if it wasn’t up against a ton of competition during summer. Even the Friday at 10pm slot is up against Blue Bloods which is the highest rated show on Fridays. I am happy they have stuck with it this long and I hope they see the series through to the end. However with the financing being foreign and the series having a cable model if they end up not moving forward after season 3 it would probably be a quick no brainer for someone like Amazon or Hulu or Netflix to pick up in a heartbeat. I’m so curious to see what will happen to the Hannibal character once he gets caught and how he plays the character vs. what Anthony Hopkins did with it.

    Blacklist on Thursdays is an interesting choice. Comedies on Thursdays wasn’t really working well anymore so they had to do something and I think it’s better to move something with an audience instead of putting something new there. I do think it’s possible that some of their existing audience probably watches Scandal so not sure how well that’s going to work out.

    • Teag says:

      Season 2 didn’t air during the summer, it finaled in late May.

      • David says:

        And it had some reasons issues. If it aired later with less competition it might have found a larger audience.

        • chloe says:

          i don’t know if airing during the summer would be better, the issue is that it’s on fridays at 10pm (which can either be good for a show, since blue bloods being in that same time slot isn’t affected, or it can be bad for a show) and i think a lot of people forget that for the first few episode during season one hannibal was on mondays at 10 and the ratings were great, but people were complaining because it was so gore-y, so nbc moved it to fridays at 10. i’ve always felt hannibal belonged on a cable channel since it can be a little much for network tv.

    • jouiie says:

      The Blue Bloods audience does not overlap in the slightest with Hannibal’s; if CBS showed nothing but dead air at 10pm, Hannibal’s ratings would still not rise from addition of BB viewers.

      If NBC does think that Hannibal is one of their best shows, they are not promoting it as such. They are still stuck in trying to advertise it as “it has that Hannibal character from SotL you all watched”, as it has mass appeal. It doesnt. They need to go after the cable audiences. They need to show it as edgy, not flashy. Dark, not gore. Complicated, not criminalminds-alike.

      But, yeah, keep renewing it, and I will be happy.

      • Beckstle says:

        They’d have a hard time selling dark, not gore. :D

        • jouiie says:

          Ok, ok, dark & gore :)
          but you know, cable audiences fall for that “dark” shtick. I mean seriously, some shows are nowhere near Hannibal in most everything, and still get more recognition.

          Just look at promos NBC makes, or “next week on Hannibal” – some of those slogans and the way they are cut, it is obvious they are going for horror/thriller cliches, which is exactly what Hannibal isnt.

          I guess if Hannibal was set in Otherness of the American South, it would instantly classify as “deep”.

      • Anne says:

        You’re wrong. I watch both Blue Bloods and Hannibal. Why do you think they could not possibly overlap? Makes no sense.

        • jouiie says:

          I watch both too, though BB is really just something that goes on tv while i do chores.
          Anyways, I am sure there is an overlap, but it is statistically insignificant. Hannibal skewers very young, BB skewers very old – in fact i am pretty sure they were the top youngest (H) and the top oldest audience (BB) drama shows of 2013.
          So, you and I might be watching both for whatever reasons, but I would bet with certainty that we are an exception, not the rule.

  5. DirgeNovak says:

    “We still struggle to find an audience for [Hannibal]”
    Maybe you’d have been able to find one if you gave it a proper timeslot. Nobody watches TV on Friday night.

  6. Cam says:

    That’s a long hiatus. that hook has better be damn good if they want viewers to give a damn after 2 months of nothing.

    • John says:

      I find most “hooks”, or rather the clichéd cliffhanger, off putting and more an expression of a lack of faith in the show than anything else. A solid show attracts viewers without such, IMHO, gimmicks.

    • TV Gord says:

      Yet, we’re in a four-month hiatus now, and nobody’s whining about this one. ;-)

  7. Tran says:

    Is NBC’s planning to air the first eight episodes of The Blacklist heading into Season Two before the series moves to Thursdays at 9 p.m. come February 5th after the post Super Bowl episode on February 1st? The Blacklist has been one of my favorite TV shows to put it on my “watch list”.

  8. Tran says:

    The Blacklist going up against Scandal in the 9 p.m. Thursday night time slot come February 2015 is “tough competition”. Don’t know if State of Affairs is going to be a hit or a miss when it takes over The Blacklist time slot on November 17th but it still got a lot of “mixed reactions” from people whether it’s the series or Katherine Heigl’s return to TV or both. I’ll watch State of Affairs if viewers really don’t care about it.

    • Lena says:

      Scandal is tough competition, but I think some of the viewership will be different. There are people who actually don’t watch Scandal. I don’t care for a raunchy primetime soap opera about an adulterous president and his mistress.

    • allie says:

      Castle is probably tougher competition than Scandal.

  9. Boiler says:

    I sort of find it hard to match up opportunity on Thursday with The Biggest Loser. Ah well who am I??

  10. DarkDefender says:

    So Matt, is Lucy Griffiths role significant in the pilot? And how will that effect the pilot screening at SDCC next week? Will they revamp (no pun intended) the character or bring in a different character from the comic for the new actress? Kinda changes the actor chemistry of the show and wouldn’t that negate any feedback they may/may not get at the viewing at SDCC?

  11. Asta says:

    How much is James Spader paid per episode? He is the only people watch it.

  12. 4103 says:

    nest few weeks?

  13. Kissan says:

    I think Blacklist will do just fine against Scandal on Thursdays. The networks that should be worried at that time should be CBS, FOX and CW. If State Of Affairs comes back in January when Voice is on hiatus, NBC should put Emerald City or The Slap on Mondays 8-10 and Maya Rudolph Variety Show on Tuesdays.

    NBC should also think about putting a special premiere of Mysteries Of Laura after the season finale of Got Talent in September.

  14. Belle says:

    Has NBC learned anything by messing with the #1 new show two years running? First was “Revolution” (changed from 10pm slot on Monday nights, to Wednesday at 8pm) and that show died in Season 2. The long hiatus’ and messing with scheduling always sends awesome new shows to their early demise!!!!

    • mona grail says:

      Belle How correct you are. NBC wonders why they are always behind in the ratings. Long hiatus, moving shows to different nights, never giving new shows the “chance” to catch on, and last but not least, not correctly promoting and advertising new shows. I have quit watching NBC, after shows like the bloody Hannibal get renewed and a superbly written show, great sets, and classically trained actors, Dracula, got cancelled. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry, most people hadn’t, unless they “fell” over it. NBC does not promote, advertise or give decent shows a chance. It’s all about “Instant” profits with NBC. I like the Black List, but they will figure out a way for people to lose interest. Usually if things aren’t broke, you don’t try to fix them. But that’s not NBC’s way. So, good luck Blacklist, you’ll need it!

    • allie says:

      Agree. People slam Revolution but for those of us that stuck with it, it got better. It was actually pretty interesting by the end but with all the breaks and moves & a rough start it never had a chance. Also, Revolution had a science fiction factor that many don’t get into so it wouldn’t have the same size fan base as Blacklist. I hope Blacklist will do better regardless of NBC’s poor management. It is a really good show for the most part.

  15. Liz says:

    Isn’t there a delay because Spader is off filming Avengers 2? I love The Blacklist and was bummed to hear about the delay – but if it’s cause were getting *more* Spader in the MCU no less, than I’m okay to wait.

  16. brandon says:

    Please renew Undateable!!!

  17. Tee says:

    It’s shrewd decisions like this that make me want to hug my DVR.

  18. Renee says:

    I don’t have a problem with moving Blacklist to Thursday, but it should be done at the beginning of the season with no hiatus. Greenblatt is an idiot if he thinks starting the season on Mondays, removing it from the air for months and then returning on Thursday won’t have major repercussions for people who watch LIVE which is all they care about anyway. Those of us who DVR don’t count and those who watch live…they’re screwing with. Real smart.

    • herman1959 says:

      EXACTLY! Thanks, Renee.

    • Moment says:

      The Blacklist airing on Mondays is a good thing, the first 8 episodes will likely rate near enough what it did during Season 1. Then the following airing should ensure an audience on Thursday.

  19. Mari says:

    Hannibal is such an amazing show!

  20. Toni says:

    Please renew Undateable!

  21. allie says:

    I’ll follow Blacklist whenever it is on. Great show.

  22. chocolatfrog says:

    Remember when they were airing rerun?!? yuck! well thank god they dont do that anymore, I think we complaint enough so they had to make a change about that. I see the “hiatus” the same way, I guess if we tell them often enough they will find new stragegies for the schedule…

    I dont know when they will realize that tv is not as it was, they dont need “season” anymore, tv need to become a continous flow all year long, with different series starting/finishing at different dates regardless of seasons.
    Anyway its how I see it’s gong to be and how it need to be.

  23. sarah says:

    I think Blacklist was perfect where it was! Now moving in to Thursdays and then an hour earlier will not bode well at all for the show. I love the show and hope it does but I have a feeling this will be a huge mistake!
    It will be up against Scandal and Two and Half Men. I do not watch either of those shows BUT there will be competition.

  24. Mikael says:

    I am so grateful to NBC for not canceling Hannibal. Sure, it can get pretty gory and it may be better-suited for FX or AMC, but as long as NBC realizes that the show is amazing, that’s great. It is so well-written and well-acted. I hope they can finish their entire plan.

  25. Robin Cohen says:

    NBC has not been a favorite station of mine for many years. These shenanigans with Blacklist will not help. I finally find a great program on NBC and they are going to ruin it. They cancelled Crossing Lines, too, another mistake. Not good, NBC.

  26. There are only two things keeping me watching NBC – The Blacklist and Parks and Rec. Should NBC drop the ball with either of those, like they did with Revolution, I can’t say I will tune in to any new programming. Nothing new they have offered so far this summer compares to the amazingness that was Revolution.

  27. yoli says:

    So glad that Hannibal and The Blacklist are coming back. They’re excellent shows…..great stories and amazing acting. I’m totally in love with James Spader aka Red and Maks Mikkleson aka Hannibal.

    • Jean Alica says:

      I think the Blacklist is the best show on Sky Living in the UK. The first series ran on Fridays with reruns on Tuesday. I do not know when we will get the new series over here but have always liked James Spader and the whole Red/Liz thing is unique. Never seen a pairing like it.

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