While the nets don’t start unveiling their fall schedules until next week, and webheads remained tightlipped about their plans, there already are several scenarios for NBC’s fall grid floating around town.
NBC is set to announce its lineup Monday. Only then — and in later days with the announcements from other webs — will it become clear whether the current speculation is correct, or if instead the nets have floated decoy skeds in order to gauge reaction from rival webs and producers.
One scenario has NBC looking to make Wednesday night a female comedy night. Shows that could fit into that plan include “Suddenly Susan,” which has been renewed, “Caroline in the City,” which is entering its third season this fall, and midseason comedies “The Naked Truth” and “Just Shoot Me.”
Assuming “Seinfeld” comes back —- and renewing that hit is still the biggest task facing the Peacock web — the big Thursday question is who will get the hammock slots after “Friends” and “Seinfeld.” New candidates for those slots include Paramount’s “Jenny McCarthy Show” and Warner Bros.’ Kirstie Alley show.
Monday and Tuesday may also get some tweaking. One possibility for NBC’s Monday includes making it a family comedy night, with a new Tony Danza comedy in the lead-off slot.
While putting an untested show in a lead-off slot always is risky, the web might figure that the Danza name will at least bring in some initial sampling. Freshman comedy “Something So Right” could move from 8:30 p.m. Tuesday to 8:30 p.m. Monday.
Of course, there’s always a remote chance the web may decide to bring back “Jeff Foxworthy” for 8 p.m. Monday, in which case all bets are off.
Veteran comedies “Mad About You” and “Frasier” are considered strong bets to remain in their 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday slots, respectively.
Shows said to be in the running for the hammock slots include “NewsRadio” and “Fired Up.” While the latter may seem an unusual choice, considering that its numbers have fallen since its premiere a few weeks ago, “Frasier” star Kelsey Grammer’s production company is involved in “Fired Up” and Grammer is an executive producer.
While such scheduling moves make sense to many industry observers, there are negatives as well. For starters, many are anticipating the network wanting to program more shows it has an ownership stake in, such as “Union Square,” a comedy from NBC Studios. Also, acclaimed director Jim Burrows, who has a deal at NBC, is directing a couple of shows that one might assume could end up getting a shot.
The rest of the week on NBC is not expected to undergo major changes. On Friday, there has been some discussion about trying out a drama in the 8 p.m. slot in place of the reality show “Unsolved Mysteries.” One show that may be candidate is “Players,” an action drama from Universal and NBC Studios whose cast includes rapper Ice T.
Saturday will remain relatively intact. “The Pretender” is expected to move from 9 p.m. to 8 p.m., “Profiler” will stay at 10 p.m. and a new drama will go into the 9-10 p.m. slot. One candidate is said to be “Sleepwalkers” from Columbia and NBC Studios.
The only move on Sunday may be replacing “Boston Common” with “Men Behaving Badly” in the post- “Third Rock From the Sun” timeslot at 8:30 p.m. However, “Men Behaving Badly” was conceived as a 9:30 p.m. show when it was launched and is expected to undergo major changes if it comes back this fall.
Worth noting is that the trial scenario being floated is very light on new shows, with NBC showing patience with some of this year’s frosh comedies that are marginal performers. As the top network this season, NBC doesn’t need to launch as many new shows.
Speculation already is swirling around ABC’s schedule too, which will be announced in detail May 19. Hottest rumor: David Kelley’s “The Practice” will make it back onto the fall schedule, perhaps on Wednesday night.