NBC has revealed that a special one-hour episode of The Voice is set to air Thursday, November 7th at 9:00. In the episode, America’s vote will put through the top two artists on each team and the coaches will each save one additional artist.
More importantly, the scheduling makes clear that the network knows its comedy lineup isn’t in the best condition right now and stood to lose even more ground during an important sweeps Thursday. Bringing The Voice on could get some pre-tune in for struggling Welcome to the Family and give Parenthood the type of boost that Sean Saves the World and The Michael J. Fox Show aren’t able to provide. Additionally, the move will put a serious damper on the rest of the competition in the time slot: Reign, which already had a soft premiere; Grey’s Anatomy, which has slid since a moderately-rated season premiere; and The Crazy Ones and Two and a Half Men, both not nearly as strong as they could be.
NBC did something similar last season when they used a special episode of The Voice to dull the impact of the season premiere of The X Factor, which was boasting a panel that included Britney Spears. The fact that they made the move at this time indicates that they’re not happy with how Sean and Michael J. Fox are performing, though neither one is their most pressing scheduling concern, not when Welcome to the Family and Ironside are still airing new episodes. In the coming weeks, the networks will be repositioning themselves for midseason and that means that fans of NBC comedy should expect Thursdays to look quite different going forward.
The most likely scenario would be putting Community on Thursdays at 8:00, bumping Parks and Recreation back to 8:30, and leaving the 9:00 hour alone, though there’s the possibility of expanding The Voice on Tuesdays, cutting an hour of Thursday comedy, and using The Biggest Loser as a means to steady the night. Since The Michael J. Fox show has been growing from its lead-in, there’s also a chance that the network could flip it and Sean Saves the World; however, both would need a stronger lead-in in order for the move to make much of a difference.
How do you think NBC should schedule its Thursday nights? Would you cut an hour of comedy or would you reshuffle the deck with the addition of Community? Will this move permanently damage any of the shows The Voice will be facing off with?