NBC Won't Move 'This Is Us' to Thursday Nights

By Joe FlintFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

NBC has gotten cold feet about moving one of its biggest hits to a new night.

Just two weeks ago, NBC unveiled its 2017-18 prime time schedule to advertisers that included moving the popular family drama "This Is Us" to Thursdays at 9 p.m. from Tuesdays at the same time. But now, the network has said "This Is Us" will stay put on Tuesdays. NBC is a unit of Comcast Corp.

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It isn't unprecedented for a network to tinker with its schedule after it has been shown to advertisers. However, NBC made moving "This Is Us" to Thursday the centerpiece of its presentation earlier this month at Radio City Music Hall. NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in detailing the move that, "we wanted to go after Thursday in a big way."

Because Thursday is closer to the weekend, it is seen as a more important night for many advertisers to reach consumers, particularly movie studios and car companies. For decades, NBC dominated Thursday nights, but now it often trails CBS and ABC, which air some of their most popular shows at that time.

NBC declined to comment on the decision. An executive at the network said after further evaluation, it was decided that the show would be best served if it remained on Tuesday. One reason was if it moved to Thursday, it would have been pre-empted for five weeks by National Football League games. And when NBC didn't have football, "This Is Us" would have been competing with CBS's Thursday football programming.

All that was known to NBC when it initially said it would move the show. At that time, Mr. Greenblatt played down the interruptions, noting that all networks have to deal with schedule disruptions and "This Is Us" was strong enough to withstand CBS football. The move, he said, was well reasoned and not a case of "just throw it in there and hope for the best."

One company that will be happy with NBC's backtracking is Twentieth Century Fox Television, the production company that makes "This Is Us." It is a unit of 21st Century Fox Inc. Executives there weren't happy with NBC's plan to move the show, people familiar with the matter said. Although NBC has already committed to two more seasons and episodes have been sold to the online streaming service Hulu, producers often fear that moving a show that is working on one night can be an unnecessary risk.

"This Is Us" isn't the only show being pulled from Thursday. NBC is also moving its newest crime drama "Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders" to Tuesday at 10 p.m. from Thursday. "Chicago Fire," a drama, and comedies "Superstore" and "The Good Place" will move to Thursday.

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 31, 2017 02:10 ET (06:10 GMT)