The broadcast networks reveal their schedules for 2017-18 the week of May 15. TV by the Numbers offers help to harried scheduling execs with some suggestions of our own.

The ground rules, once again:

  • The schedule presented here and in future posts is an attempt to be as realistic as possible about what the network needs. It’s less a fantasy lineup and more an educated-guess lineup.
  • Whenever possible, we’ll try to stick to our colleague the Masked Scheduler‘s mantra that putting more than 2 1/2 hours of new material on the schedule invites diminishing returns.
  • Any new shows are based on what, as of posting time, has already been ordered to series or seems most likely to be. Similarly, returning shows are based on what’s already renewed and The Cancel Bear’s predictions for what will come back.

NBC’s fall schedule has one big thing to work around: The final weeks of the “Thursday Night Football” schedule. It’s a high-class problem, given the NFL’s ratings, but it does make working out a regular schedule a little tougher. Here’s what we’d do:

7 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 8 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 9 p.m. 9:30 p.m. 10 p.m. 10:30 p.m.
Monday The Voice The Brave
Tuesday The Voice This Is Us Rise
Wednesday Law & Order: SVU (new time) Chicago Fire (new night) Chicago PD
Thursday (through Nov. 2) Will & Grace Superstore Chicago Med Law & Order: True Crime
Thursday (starting Nov. 9) Thursday Night Football
Friday Blindspot (new night) The Blacklist (new night) Dateline
Saturday Dateline/drama repeats SNL Vintage
Sunday Football Night in America Sunday Night Football


What stays: “The Voice” remains in place on Mondays and Tuesdays, and this season’s breakout “This Is Us” also stays home on Tuesday night. Moving it to help another night is tempting, but it can also be used to help launch a new show at 10 on Tuesdays. The two NFL packages obviously aren’t going anywhere, and “Chicago PD,” “Superstore” and “Chicago Med” are staying home as well.

What’s new: Military drama “The Brave” gets the post-“Voice” spot on Monday. “Rise,” a Jason Katims-produced show about a high school drama teacher and the students he works with, should be a nice fit with “This Is Us.”

On Thursdays, a pair of shorter-run shows with history at NBC fill the fall before “Thursday Night Football” takes over: The “Will & Grace” revival kicks off the night, and “Law & Order: True Crime” closes it at 10. “Superstore” and “Chicago Med” aren’t heavily serialized and may be reasonably well equipped to survive a seven- or eight-week hiatus for football.

What moves: “Chicago Fire” moves from Tuesday to Wednesday to give the network an all-Dick Wolf night, with “Law & Order: SVU” moving to the leadoff spot. “Blindspot” and “The Blacklist” head to Fridays where their marginal ratings are less of a liability.

What else: “The Good Place” and either “Great News” or new show “AP Bio” can join the Thursday comedy block for sustained runs after football season. The current Sunday lineup of “Little Big Shots,” “Chicago Justice” and “Shades of Blue” could come back intact in the spring. New drama “Good Girls” and second-year show “Taken” are also available for later in the season.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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