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Upfronts 2018: NBC beefs up content targeting 18-to-49 demo

Wielding an edge in such key demos as adults 18 to 49 and adults 25 to 54 as the current TV season nears its conclusion, NBC (US) will add five first-year dramas and three new comedies over the course of the 2018-19 season.

The network will launch medical drama “New Amsterdam,” based on New York’s Bellevue Hospital, out of multi-generational hit series "This Is Us" on Tuesdays. The programmer holds a 38% advantage among the 18-to-49 set and is poised to win the demo for a fifth consecutive year, even when contributions from coverage of Super Bowl LII and the 2018 Winter Olympics are backed out of the equation.

Music competition stalwart "The Voice" will serve as the Monday launching pad for "Manifest," a mystery journey emanating from a seemingly routine flight. Dramas ticketed for mid-season bows are spy-hunting thriller: "The Enemy Within,” "The InBetween" and "The Village."

NBC is turning over Wednesdays this fall to Dick Wolf and his Second City franchises: "Chicago Med," "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago P.D." NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt on a May 13 call with reporters ahead of NBCUniversal Media LLC's upfront presentation May 14 said the combination had been considered in the past, but the stars aligned for the upcoming fall season.

“We just looked at the landscape and saw it as a chance to try them together. We’re happy that our research department also liked this idea,” said Greenblatt, who added the schedule connection will facilitate more effective "overlap and crossover" for the shows.

The peacock network’s Thursday night comedy lineup, highlighted by returnees "Superstore," "The Good Place," and "Will & Grace" will welcome "I Feel Bad," in which Sarayu Blue stars as Emet, who balances her roles as mother, daughter, wife, friend and boss.

The other new comedies will arrive in mid-season: "Abby," which centers around the title character played by Natalie Morales (“Parks and Recreation") and a bar in San Diego, and the sixth season of FOX (US) transplant, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," which is produced by NBCU’ Universal TV. Greenblatt said NBC lamented letting the series go, when "Saturday Night Live" alum, Andy Samberg joined the cast in the lead role, after FOX made the original pick-up.

Greenblatt said the fifth season was one of the show’s strongest from a creative standpoint. Asked if he anticipated the series would extend beyond a sixth campaign, Greenblatt demurred, saying NBC would make one decision at a time, although he did point out the series has upside relative to syndication and generates "robust international numbers."