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NBC to focus on dramas

MUMBAI: US broadcaster NBC has made its upfront presentation for 2015-16 to advertisers. This includes new dramas. It has also created a comedy block for Fridays in the fall 8-9 pm.

Highlights of the schedule include several new dramas. ‘Blindspot’ will air at the coveted 10 pm slot on Mondays.

The broadcaster is looking to add spice to Thursdays. ‘The Blacklist’ returns for a new season and is being paired with two new shows. ‘Heroes Reborn’ is the return of the supernatural phenomenon from ‘Heroes’ creator Tim Kring that examines a new group of ordinary citizens with extraordinary abilities.

‘The Player’ is a thriller starring Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester as a former military operative turned security agent drawn into a high-stakes game in a Las Vegas-set thriller.

NBC is also betting big on medical dramas. One of them is ‘Heartbreaker’, starring Melissa George as a fearless doctor inspired by real-life renowned surgeon Dr. Kathy Magliato, who always fights authority to ensure the best for her patients. This will air on Tuesdays, a day which has variety in it for NBC.

Other new dramas include ‘Chicago Med’, the newest installment of the ‘Chicago’ franchise from Dick Wolf. ‘Game of Silence’ comes from ‘CSI’ veteran Carol Mendelsohn and David Hudgins, in which three childhood friends reunite 25 years later to right the wrongs of the past.

On the comedy side, the cast from ‘Undateable’ will return for a new season, but with a twist: Every episode will be shot live. Also for fall is a new show, ‘People Are Talking’; it is about two diverse couples who talk and share their sometimes surprising, but relatable, everyday experiences. NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said that this show deals with topics which rarely make it into the average sitcom.

Meanwhile, ‘Crowded’ looks at a couple who are truly enjoying their empty nest after the kids have moved away, only to have them move back home again.

‘Superstore’ stars America Ferrera ‘Ugly Betty’ as a supervisor in a big-box megastore who works with a rag-tag crew that doesn’t always put the customer first. There’s also the one-hour ‘You, Me and the End of the World’, with Rob Lowe, Megan Mullally and Jenna Fischer, about an unlikely group of unconnected characters trying to find shelter when an apocalyptic event is threatening the existence of Earth.

Two stars of previous series are top lining new NBC comedies: Eva Longoria ‘Desperate Housewives’ now stars in ‘Hot And Bothered’ as the lead in a telenovela in which she plays a woman grappling with life and romance. Craig T. Nelson reprises his role as Hayden Fox in ‘Coach’, this time to help his son with a fledgling Ivy League football team.

On the alternative side, inspired by the UK format is a unique live variety show titled ‘Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris’. It will include stunts, skits, pranks, audience interaction, musical numbers, giveaways and unlimited surprises. Harris has described his show as a high-energy grab bag where anything can happen. Also ordered to series is ‘Little Big Shots’, which is hosted by Steve Harvey and features extraordinarily talented kids. The show is executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Harvey.

For event programming, in a deal previously announced, country music singer Dolly Parton will be executive producing a selected number of movies, the first of which is ‘Coat of Many Colors’, based on her remarkable upbringing.

Shows that will return include ‘The Blacklist’, ‘Grimm’, ‘The Mysteries of Laura’ and ‘The Night Shift’.