In anticipation of Upfront Week, NBC on Thursday renewed “Parenthood” and placed “short orders” for its Thursday comedies “30 Rock” and “Community,” while an order for “The Office” was all but done at press time. ABC, meanwhile, picked up its comedies “Modern Family,” “Suburgatory” and “The Middle,” as well as dramas “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Revenge,” “Castle” and “Once Upon a Time.”
On Monday, NBC will make the first presentation of Upfront Week — a holdover from the days when it was the No. 1 network and would proudly unveil its schedule, after which the other networks would scurry to adjust their prime-time plans accordingly. These days, NBC barely beats ABC for fourth place among the young viewers it sells to these advertisers, even though it broadcast the biggest televised event of the year, the Super Bowl.
While the other networks are looking for companion shows for their hit comedies — CBS needs one for “The Big Bang Theory,” ABC for “Modern Family” and Fox for “New Girl” — NBC is still looking for that comedy hit.
To that end, the network has ordered six new comedies for next season:
●Dysfunctional-first-family comedy “1600 Penn.”
●Gay-couple comedy “The New Normal.”
●Anne Heche-talks-to-God comedy “Save Me.”
●Matthew Perry-needs-therapy comedy “Go On.”
●Irascible-veterinarian laugher, “Animal Practice.”
●Guys-with-kids comedy “Guys with Kids.”
They will join “30 Rock” — the award-winning-est of NBC’s Thursday comedy lineup, once famously known as Must See TV but now better known as Self-Referential TV. The Tina Fey vehicle, as well as “Community,” got 13-episode-season orders. The short orders mean the two comedies will share their time slots with other programming, as they have the past several seasons.
At Radio City Music Hall late Monday morning, NBC execs also will announce that they’ve renewed “Law & Order: SVU” for a 14th season, ordered a new Dick Wolf drama series “Chicago Fire” about well, Chicago and fire, and a new Wolf reality series called “Stars Earn Stripes,” in which celebrities try to do exercises practiced by all five Armed Services branches.
NBC has also ordered an apocalyptic drama series from J.J. Abrams called “Revolution,” about people living without technology, as well as “Do No Harm,” about a brilliant neurosurgeon with a dubious alter ego. And for fans of campy soaps about rich people, NBC has “Infamous.”