NBC says One Chicago returns this fall, but will that actually happen?
That would keep the shows on their regular schedule, even though film and television production has been shut down for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, there are reasons to take this big announcement with a dose of caution, too.
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NBC may have announced their fall 2020 schedule, but what they didn’t do was give specific premiere dates for any of the One Chicago shows.
Normally when a network unveils its schedule, that comes with concrete dates as to when most, if not all, series are going to premiere. NBC not doing that this week suggests that they don’t have a complete handle on their schedule yet.
So “fall 2020” could be in late September as usual, or it could be delayed until early October, or even sometime after that. NBC isn’t providing anything definite—just a general announcement.
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What also has to be considered is the challenges that production might face as the One Chicago casts and crews go back to work. TV and film shoots have changed for the safety of everyone involved, as the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, and we don’t know if that will slow shooting down or require changes in filming.
The Chicago Film Office also started issuing filming permits this week, so filming should be getting underway relatively soon, but that’s just over three months before the usual season premiere period. Is that going to be enough time to not only get the premiere episodes done, but have enough other episodes filmed and edited to proceed with the season?
Particularly for Chicago Fire, which does massive fire and rescue setpieces every week, all it takes is one filming speed bump and they could have a huge setback.
Fans will probably not be understanding if the network starts a new season and then has to push pause to let production catch up—this is a fan base that has been vocal in their complaints about reruns. If there’s any doubt about being able to stay on schedule, it’d be better to wait and start up when there’s a series of uninterrupted episodes that can air, rather than starting in September and then having to break for a week or two.
It’s fantastic that NBC isn’t delaying its seasons to spring 2021 like The CW and FOX are, but those networks are doing that for a reason. They don’t feel that they’ll have good product ready as usual. NBC is doing its best to support fans by ensuring they don’t have to wait for their shows, but that will only work if they can actually deliver.
So One Chicago fans should keep September open on their calendars, but don’t get comfortable until there are actual premiere dates and we know that new Chicago Med, Chicago PD and Chicago Fire episodes are definitely on the way.
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