Now, both “This Is Us” and “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” will be on Tuesdays, effectively ending a marketing scheme before it started. “Will & Grace” will remain on Thursdays and move to 9 p.m. It will be surrounded by other comedies like “Superstore,” “The Good Place” and “Great News,” followed by “Chicago Fire” at 10 p.m.
It is not unusual for broadcast networks to tinker with a schedule after it has been announced. But NBC opted for a highly publicized rollout for its “Must See TV” revival — evoking its powerhouse Thursday lineups of two decades ago, built around shows like “Seinfeld” and “E.R.” — making this move all the more surprising.
NBC’s initial decision to shift “This Is Us” to Thursdays was a bold one. It was effectively announcing that it was going after ABC’s three-hour lineup of Shonda Rhimes shows. Perhaps more significantly, it would also be going head-to-head against the National Football League, a valued business partner, in the first half of the season when CBS airs Thursday night games.
There were plenty of signs that it could be a risky decision. Many recent shows that have had strong freshman seasons have seen their ratings nose-dive in their second seasons, making executives extra careful about how to preserve something as fragile as a hit. And when NBC takes over Thursday Night Football rights in November, “This Is Us” would have faced pre-emptions and been off the air for a couple of months, potentially blunting its momentum.
Further, there was some concern within the ranks at 20th Century Fox Television, which produces the show, that the schedule change could hurt it.
But these concerns were all evident a few weeks ago. Mr. Greenblatt said then that the network was considering a special Christmas episode in order to keep “This Is Us” on the air for at least one week when…