Update, May 20: NBC announced the Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 8 premiere date today. The show’s final season will debut on Thursday, August 12 and air two back-to-back episodes at 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. The season will continue to air in both timeslots every Thursday.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine finally has an exit strategy: The NBC comedy is set to return in August for its final run of ten episodes, the network announced today. While no precise scheduling was announced, NBC said the show will debut right after the end of the Tokyo Olympics (assuming, of course, said Olympics happen). But after Nine-Nine completes its season in late September or early October, NBC will kick off a fall schedule with zero new or returning comedies — the first time the Peacock network has been without autumn laughs in prime time since the dawn of the sitcom in the 1950s.
While TV historians will note the milestone, in reality, NBC’s decision isn’t that big a deal. For one, the network only had two comedies during fall 2015, and both shows — Undateable and Truth Be Told — were buried on Fridays and barely noticed by viewers. And NBC isn’t getting out of the comedy business at all. During a press briefing Friday, execs noted the network had renewed three new comedies for second seasons, and ordered two more, and that all five will return early in 2022 as part of planned comedy blocks on two nights. Saving the laughs for later will allow NBC to launch new dramas behind The Voice on Mondays and Tuesdays, while also letting it create a whole night of Law & Order shows on Thursdays. Comedies tend to be harder to launch these days, too, so it makes sense to do it in a less crowded environment than fall.
As for other notable NBC fall developments:
• The Voice will only air one cycle during the 2021–22 TV season, making it the first time the show won’t have a spring edition since its launch. It’s a move many industry insiders had expected for years, since doing two cycles has somewhat hastened the show’s ratings decline.
• The final season of This Is Us will air in early 2022, rather than start in the fall. The network (and, likely, producers) didn’t want to split up the last episodes, so this means the show’s final run will be over mostly consecutive weeks.
• As expected, the network confirmed it won’t launch a new talk show in the 1:37 a.m. time slot once A Little Late With Lilly Singh ends later this year. The network says it has other plans for the slot, but didn’t get specific.