Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

NBC Adds Jimmy Smits Drama, 2 New Comedies For Fall

Jake Giles Netter/NBC
Courtesy NBCUniversal
Jimmy Smits returns to his NBC roots, playing a lawyer on 'Bluff City Law' this fall.

Only three new shows will debut this fall in NBC's new "year-round lineup," as the network saves The Good Place, Manifest, Will & Grace, Blindspot and a new sitcom starring Saturday Night Live veteran Kenan Thompson for later in the 2019-2020 TV season.

Expect to see a lot of familiar faces on NBC in the next 12 months.

Smits, who won an Emmy for NBC's L.A. Law in 1990, plays a Memphis lawyer in Bluff City Law, the network's only new drama.

Cincinnati native Diana Maria Riva, whose credits range from The West Wing and Everybody Loves Raymond to Man With A Plan and Dead To Me, will be a series regular in NBC's Sunnyside sitcom. Kal Penn plays a former New York councilman busted for public intoxication who moves in with his sister.

Credit Courtesy NBCUniversal
NBC's 'Sunnyside' sitcom stars (from left) Joel Kim Booster, Poppy Liu, Samba Schutte, Kal Penn, Cincinnati native Diana Marie Riva and Moses Storm.

The West Wing veteran Bradley Whitford plays a Princeton music professor overseeing a small-town church choir filled with "singers that are out of tune in more ways than one" in a sitcom called Perfect Harmony.

Appearing in midseason series are Fran Drescher and Steven Weber (Indebted), Russell Hornsby and Michael Imperioli (Lincoln), Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) hosting Little Big Shots instead of Steve Harvey; and Thompson, a SNL cast member since 2003.

This Is Us fans will see plenty of their favorite show, with NBC giving the drama a three-year renewal.

ABC will announce its schedule Tuesday, and CBS on Wednesday. Here's a link to my "Countdown To TV Cancellations" listing shows on the bubble.

Credit Courtesy NBCUniversal
NBC's publicity photo for Bradley Whitford's 'Perfect Harmony.'

CANCELED:  I Feel Bad, Marlon, Midnight Texas, Timeless, Reverie and Trial & Error.

BACK FOR MORE: NBC Sunday Night Football with Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels, American Ninja Warrior, The Blacklist, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D., Ellen's Game of Games, Good Girls, The Good Place, Law & Order: SVU, Making It; Manifest, New Amsterdam, Superstore, The Voice, Will & Grace; America’s Got Talent: The Champions, Dateline NBC, Hollywood Game Night, The Wall, World of Dance, Little Big Shots and This Is Us.

Six shows are still on the bubble. NBC announced that "decisions are yet to be made" on Abby’s, A.P. Bio, The Enemy Within, The InBetween, Titan Games and The Village.

Credit Ron Batzdorff/NBC / Courtesy NBCUniversal
Courtesy NBCUniversal
'SNL' veteran Kenan Thompson plays the father of two daughters (Dani Lockett, left and Dannah Lockett) on 'The Kenan Show.'

MIDSEASON: Dramas include Council of Dads, about a dying man (Tom Everett Scott) who asks his friends to be role models for his four children; Russell Hornsby (Grimm) as a forensics expert based on the best-selling book The Bone Collector; and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist starring Jane Levy as a computer expert who can hear people's thoughts and desires through songs.

The midseason comedies are The Kenan Show and Indebted, with Drescher playing the broke mother who moves in with her son (Adam Pally).

THE LINEUP (New programs in bold caps):

SUNDAY: 7 p.m., Football Night In America; 8:20 p.m., NBC Sunday Night Football.

MONDAY: 8 p.m., The Voice; 10 p.m., BLUFF CITY LAW.

TUESDAY: 8 p.m., The Voice; 9 p.m., This Is Us; 10 p.m., New Amsterdam.

WEDNESDAY: 8 p.m., Chicago Med; 9 p.m., Chicago Fire; 10 p.m., Chicago P.D.

THURSDAY: 8 p.m., Superstore; PERFECT HARMONY; 9 p.m., The Good Place; 9:30 p.m., SUNNYSIDE; 10 p.m., Law & Order: SVU.

FRIDAY: 8 p.m.,The Blacklist; 9 p.m., Dateline NBC.

SATURDAY: 8 p.m., Dateline Saturday Night Mystery; 10 p.m., Saturday Night Live reruns.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.