NBC shows coming in Fall 2009

What's coming on NBC in the Fall

It’s upfronts time at NBC, the time of the year in which the network shows off to advertisers all the new programmes it has planned for the Fall – so they can decide if they’d like to advertise during them and save NBC from bankruptcy.

So after the jump, rundowns on all the new shows, virtually all of which seem to have been made by members of the Friday Night Lights staff. Previews include Trauma, Parenthood, Mercy, Day One, Community and 100 Questions, complete with videos. Don’t say I don’t spoil you.

One-hour drama
Like an adrenaline shot to the heart, Trauma is an intense, action-packed look at one of the most dangerous medical professions in the world: first responder paramedics. When emergencies occur, the trauma team from San Francisco General is first on the scene, traveling by land, by sea or by air to reach their victims in time. From the heights of the Transamerica Pyramid to the depths of the S.F. Bay, our heroes must face the most extreme conditions to save lives, and give meaning to their own existence in the process.

From executive producer Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights), Trauma is the first high-octane medical franchise to live exclusively in the field, where the real action is.

Cast and credits
Derek Luke (BOONE)
Cliff Curtis (“RABBIT”)
Anastasia Griffith (NANCY)
Kevin Rankin (TYLER)
Aimee Garcia (MARISSA)
Billy Lush (SAM)
Jamey Sheridan (DR. JOE)

Executive Producer/Writer Dario Scardapane
Executive Producers Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights), Sarah Aubrey (Friday Night Lights)
Executive Producer/Director Jeff Reiner (Friday Night Lights)

NBC web site

Rob’s initial impression: Looks dumber than a sack of hammers, but I think that’s probably because they’ve included every special effect from the first episode in the trailer. It’s from the guys behind Friday Night Lights, so I’m expecting it to be considerably smarter than that, although there’s some truly atrocious acting going on in the quiet bits, which aren’t as bad as the rest. I’m suspecting it’ll die quite quickly, though.

One-hour drama
This is the story of the Bravermans – Sarah, Adam, Crosby and Julia – four grown siblings sharing the headaches, heartaches and unexpected joys of being a parent. From Imagine Entertainment’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, writer/executive producer Jason Katims (
Friday Night Lights), and Emmy Award-winning director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing) comes this contemporary re-imagining of the blockbuster film Parenthood, focusing on the everyday challenges that modern families face while raising children and starting over.

Cast and credits
Peter Krause (ADAM)
Maura Tierney (SARAH)
Dax Shepard (CROSBY)
Monica Potter (KRISTINA)
Erika Christensen (JULIA)
Sam Jaeger (JOEL)
Craig T. Nelson (ZEEK)
Bonnie Bedelia (CAMILLE)
Mae Whitman (AMBER)
Sarah Ramos (HADDIE)
Miles Heizer (DREW)
Max Burkholder (MAX)
Savannah Argenti (SYDNEY)

Executive Producers Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon, The DaVinci Code, A Beautiful Mind) Brian Grazer (Friday Night Lights, 24, A Beautiful Mind)
Executive Producer/Writer Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights)
Director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing)

NBC web site

Rob’s initial impression: Raised a couple of smiles, but doesn’t look great although it may appeal more to parents. I’ll probably still watch it for Monica Potter (of course) and BrianPeter Krause, who’s good in just about everything. I don’t imagine it having a very long lifespan though.

One-hour drama
You haven’t seen inside a hospital until you’ve seen it through the eyes of those who know it best: its nurses. Veronica Callahan is one of those nurses. She just returned to Mercy Hospital from a tour in Iraq and knows more about medicine than all of the residents combined. Together with fellow nurses Sonia and Chloe, she navigates the daily traumas and social landmines of life and love both inside the hospital and out in the real world. From executive producers/writers Liz Heldens (
Friday Night Lights), Gretchen Berg & Aaron Harberts (Pushing Daisies), executive producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun, and Emmy Award-winning director Adam Bernstein (30 Rock, Rescue Me) comes a medical drama with a totally unique point of view.

Cast and credits
Taylor Schilling (VERONICA FLANAGAN)
Michelle Trachtenberg (CHLOE PAYNE)
Jamie Lee Kirchner (SONIA JIMENEZ)
James Tupper (DR. CHRIS SANDS)
Diego Klattenhoff (MIKE CALLAHAN)
James LeGros (DR. DAN HARRIS)
Delroy Lindo (DR. ALFRED PARKS)
Guillermo Diaz (ANGEL GARCIA)

Executive Producers Gail Berman Lloyd Braun
Executive Producers/Writers Liz Heldens (Friday Night Lights) Gretchen Berg & Aaron Harberts (Pushing Daisies, Pepper Dennis)
Director Adam Bernstein (Rescue Me, 30 Rock, Scrubs)

NBC web site

Rob’s initial impression: Of the two medical dramas NBC has coming, this is far the more promising, even if it does look a bit daft in places. Quite funny, nice to see women front and centre, it’s like a less stupid version of Scrubs, so probably worth watching. Will it set the world on fire though? I’m not sure.

Day One
One-hour drama
In the aftermath of a global event that devastates the world’s infrastructures, a small band of survivors strives to rebuild society and unravel the mysteries of why the event took place and what the future has in store. Told from the point of view of an eclectic group of neighbors in a Van Nuys, California apartment building, this journey of survival will show us that hope is found in the smallest of victories and heroes are born every day. From executive producer/writer Jesse Alexander (Heroes, Lost, Alias) and director Alex Graves (Fringe) comes this epic adventure that starts on Day One.

Cast and credits
David Lyons (SAM)
Julie Gonzalo (KELLY)
Adam Campbell (ZACH)
Carly Pope (BONNIE)
Thekla Reuten (LYNNE)
Derek Mio (JOHNNY)
Addison J. Timlin (HUNTER)
Catherine Dent (JENNIFER)
April Grace (MAX)
Xander Berkeley (CLARKE)

Executive Producer/Writer Jesse Alexander (Heroes, Lost, Alias)
Director Alex Graves (Fringe)

NBC web site

Rob’s initial impression: Obviously a bit hard to tell from a simple interview whether this is going to be any good, but given NBC hasn’t even provided a clip and someone I know who’s read the script tells me it’s rubbish, I’m prepared to believe that one of the guys who (allegedly) messed up Heroes might not have produced a good follow-up show, even though it pretty much follows the same blueprints as all the shows he’s worked on previously. Still, it’s got Xander Berkeley in it, and he’s always good.

Half-hour comedy
It’s been said that community college is a “halfway school” for losers, a self esteem workshop for newly divorced housewives, and a place where old people go to keep their minds active as they circle the drain of eternity. Well, at Greendale Community College…that’s all true. Community focuses on a band of misfits, at the center of which is a fast-talkin’ lawyer whose degree has been revoked (Joel McHale, The Soup). They form a study group and, in “Breakfast Club” fashion, end up learning a lot more about themselves than they do about their course work. From Emmy Award-winning directors Joe and Anthony Russo (Arrested Development) comes a smart comedy about higher education…and lower expectations.

Cast and credits
Joel McHale (JEFF)
Chevy Chase (PIERCE)
Danny Pudi (ABED)
Gillian Jacobs (BRITTA)
John Oliver (DUNCAN)
Donald Glover (TROY)
Yvette Nicole Brown (SHIRLEY)
Alison Brie (ANNIE)

Executive Producers Russ Krasnoff, Gary Foster
Executive Producer/Writer Dan Harmon (The Sarah Silverman Project)
Director Joe and Anthony Russo (Arrested Development)

NBC web site

Rob’s initial impression: Despite occasionally veering into “touching moral” territory and having way too many pop culture references for its own good, this one looks quite good and reasonably amusing, even if John Oliver appears to be doing something weird. I suspect it’ll struggle to find an audience but could go far with nurturing by NBC.

100 Questions
Half-hour comedy
Charlotte Payne is looking for love. She’s dated lots of men and has been proposed to ten times, but has yet to meet Mr. Right. So Charlotte decides to join a popular online dating site, where she has to take a 100-question compatibility test. The questions aren’t easy for Charlotte to answer, and each one requires her to recount a poignant and humorous time in her life with friends Leslie, Jill, Mike and Wayne. The test becomes a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte and helps her realize what she truly wants in a relationship. From Emmy Award-winning director James Burrows (Will & Grace, Friends) comes one hundred hilarious answers to the ultimate questions of love.

Cast and credits
Sophie Winkleman (CHARLOTTE)
Elizabeth Ho (LESLIE)
Joy Suprano (JILL)
David Walton (WAYNE)
Christopher Moynihan (MIKE)
Amir Talai (ANDREW)

Executive Producer/Writer Christopher Moynihan
Executive Producers Ron West (Psych) Kelly Kulchak (Psych)
Director Jim Burrows (Will & Grace, Friends)

NBC web site

Rob’s initial impression: Reasonably average. Very conventional as comedies go, although it’s nice to see Sophie Winkleman from Peep Show getting her own show and being allowed to keep her own accent while doing it. Still, if you’ve seen any ensemble US sitcom about various friends in dating hell, you’ll know pretty much what to expect, although it’s not bad by those standards and did make me laugh a bit (although that was only during the Featurette. The preview clips showed the longer versions of scenes and there was some bad stuff in there).

So a couple of reasonably promising shows in there and at least one that looks like death warmed up. That’s not very thrilling. Poor old NBC – it doesn’t look like it’s going to be lifted from its doldrums by anything here. Just have to rely on Heroes and maybe Chuck when they get back. Or maybe Anthony Robbins will fix them with his new show.

It’s all a worrying prospect: with Jay Leno’s daily show now filling in big chunks of the schedules and cutbacks on existing shows, it looks like NBC is finding the going tough and might be backing out of drama and comedy in favour of non-scripted shows. Fingers crossed, it’ll change its mind once the economy picks up.

Full schedule will be up on May 19th, apparently. Let’s see if there’s anything else in that worth looking at.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.