Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Lisa's Favorite Sites

NBC Series Must Learn To Share


Monday is for "Heroes;" Tuesday is "The Biggest Loser;" Wednesday it's "Law & Order: SVU;" Thursday is comedy night; Friday is for "Law & Order: The Mothership;" Saturday is Rerun Theater; and Sunday is football night in America on NBC.

And yes, "Law & Order" is back for its 20th season, which means it technically ties "Gunsmoke" as the longest running prime-time drama ever. And yet, "My Name is Earl" and "Medium" are cancelled because they were "aging, as we were getting younger," NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman told The Reporters Who Cover Television during a phone Q&A.

"Chuck" is back because its small band of loyal viewers went out and bought Subway sandwiches to protest its uncertain future, some TV critics did same, and all that inspired Subway suits to insist the show come to produce more episodes in which one character sings the Subway jingle while another character eats a Subway foot-long.

"Earl" and "Medium" "did not get that kind of attention," Silverman said.

"Chuck is back because of you!" Silverman shrieked at one TV critic when that critic posed a question on the phoner. The critic, an ardent fan of the show, simpered modestly.

In case you didn't get the memo: Bailing out of original scripted programming at 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, in favor of a Jay Leno talk show, will no longer be discussed as a way for NBC to slash costs. From here on out it's "the best comedy show" on TV, "the only comedy alternative" at 10, the show that's going to deliver the most compatible show to TV station's local newscasts of any broadcast network, and part of a careful strategy to program the network 52 weeks a year with original programming.

"NBC has picked up more scripted shows than last season even with 'The Jay Leno Show' at 10 p.m.," Silverman gushed.

But a lot of these original scripted shows are sharing time slots because NBC has so little prime-time real estate available.

On Mondays, for instance, struggling "Heroes" will get the 8 p.m. time slot in the fall and struggling "Chuck" gets it after NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics. Likewise, new paramedics drama "Trauma" gets the Monday 9 p.m. slot in the fall and new "Day One" gets it after the Games. "Day One" is about a global event in which millions of mysterious thinggummies from outer space rocket into earth and pretty much nuke everything except an apartment in Van Nuys, Calif., whose hot young residents are now trying to rebuild society.

Tuesdays "Biggest Loser" will straddle NBC's entire available prime time -- 8 - 10 p.m. -- but get trimmed down to 90 minutes after the Games so NBC can try to launch new comedy "100 Questions" in the opened-up half hour. "100 Questions" is about a bunch of 20-something BFFs and an online dating service -- think "Friends" if Rachel had been using an online dating service because despite being she's so hot she's having trouble finding guys.

On Wednesdays, NBC will try to launch two new drama series in the fall: "Parenthood" -- a remake of the flick -- and "Mercy," about a nurse just back from a tour of duty in Iraq. "Law & Order: SVU" takes over at 8 after the Games, followed by "Parenthood."

Thursdays will kickoff with "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday" at 8, followed by Amy Poehler's "Parks and Recreation," "The Office," and new "Community."

"Community" is about a study group that perfectly reflects the student body at a community college -- community colleges being a gathering ground for losers, newly divorced housewives and old people trying to keep their minds active as they circle the drain of eternity, NBC said when it picked up this show a few weeks back. The old-person role has gone to Chevy Chase, while Joel McHale of "The Soup" is our hero/loser -- a lawyer stripped of his law degree because he lied about graduating from college.

This leaves "30 Rock" sitting on the bench -- for how long, NBC suits declined repeatedly to say, while insisting it won't be as long as we think. Seriously.

Fridays in the fall, "Law & Order" will return. This season's freshman drama "Southland" follows at 9.

Sunday is football night on NBC. But when football's over, Jerry Seinfeld is back on the network -- only this time as executive producer of "The Marriage Ref." It's a reality series in which NBC comics, sports figures ,and celebrities advise average Joe couples in the throes of "classic marital disputes." Seinfeld, you'll remember, is the guy who famously met, wooed, and won his wife after she returned to New York from her honeymoon with her new husband, Eric Nederlander. It's the perfect pairing with those two-hour editions of "Celebrity Apprentice."

And, NBC noted, over the summer of 2010 NBC will have original episodes of "The Jay Leno Show" as well as "Friday Night Lights" "originals" (which will already have run on DirecTV), "America's Got Talent," "Breakthrough with Tony Robbins" and "Dateline."

Here's the NBC schedule; new shows are in upper case:

MONDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Heroes"
9-10 p.m.-"TRAUMA"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

TUESDAY
8-10 p.m. - "The Biggest Loser" (two-hour edition)
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. - "PARENTHOOD"
9-10 p.m. - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

THURSDAY
8- 8:30 p.m. - "SNL WEEKEND UPDATE THURSDAY" (multi-episode run)
8:30-9 p.m. - "Parks and Recreation"
9- 9:30 p.m. - "The Office"
9:30-10 p.m. - "COMMUNITY" (moves to Thursdays 8-8:30 p.m. after multi-episode run "30 Rock" returns)
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Law & Order"
9-10 p.m. - "Southland"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

SATURDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Dateline NBC"
9-10 p.m. - "TRAUMA" (encore broadcast)
10-11 p.m. - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (encore broadcast)

SUNDAY
7- 8:20 p.m. "Football Night in America"
8:20-11 p.m. "NBC Sunday Night Football"

And, here's the schedule after the Games:

MONDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Chuck" (season premiere)
9-10 p.m.-"DAY ONE"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

TUESDAY
8-9:30 p.m. - "The Biggest Loser" (90-minute edition)
9:30-10 p.m. - "100 QUESTIONS"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. - "MERCY"
9-10 p.m. - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

THURSDAY
8- 8:30 p.m. - "COMMUNITY"
8:30-9 p.m. - "Parks and Recreation"
9- 9:30 p.m. - "The Office"
9:30-10 p.m. - "30 Rock"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Law & Order"
9-10 p.m. - "Southland"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

SATURDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Dateline NBC"
9-10 p.m. - "Southland" (encore broadcast)
10-11 p.m. - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (encore broadcast)

SUNDAY
7-8 p.m. - "Dateline NBC"
8-9 p.m. - THE MARRIAGE REF
9-11 p.m. - "The Celebrity Apprentice" (season premiere; two-hour edition)

By Lisa de Moraes  |  May 19, 2009; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Broadcast TV Upfronts 2009  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: ABC Starting From Scratch on Wednesdays
Next: "American Idol" Final Performance Night

Comments

Wait, what? Friday Night Lights was renewed for two years, only to be aired in the traditional burn-off months? How exactly does that make sense? I sincerely hope this Jay Leno experiment flames out as quickly as possible so that we can get back to some sense of normalcy.

Posted by: jburksva | May 19, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

JBukrsVA, you may not have to wait for long. Rosie was canned after ONE episode.

Posted by: bs2004 | May 19, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Even though I never watched it I am a bit surprised by this Friday Night Lights news.

I can't believe SVU is going to be on at 8! Talk about inappropriate for "family hour"

Posted by: fedssocr | May 19, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

They replace "My Name is Early" with the stale franchise of SNL's Weekend Update? I heartily anticipate its cancellation. Jay Leno is actually funnny, but Weekend Update without Amy Pohler (and actually without Colin Quinn, Norm MacDonald or Kevin Nealon) is a lame combination of Jon Stewart, Joel McHale and The Onion. Don't people realize SNL is a lot funnier when no one watches it?

Posted by: InspectorOh | May 20, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company