NBC shifts sked, benches ‘Coupling’

'Watch' moves to Fridays, 'Joe' slides into Mondays

HOLLYWOOD — With the November sweeps not far off, NBC is revamping its Monday and Friday lineups, adding an extra dose of “Friends” — and benching “Coupling” until December.

In an unexpected move, Peacock said Friday it will shift vet drama “Third Watch” to Fridays at 10 p.m. starting Oct. 31, replacing the on-hiatus “Boomtown.” Net is sliding long-delayed reality skein “Average Joe” into the 10 p.m. Monday slot, bowing Nov. 3.

Peacock has also told affils it will move “Miss Match” back to 8 p.m. Fridays, with “Dateline” once again at 9 p.m., though an NBC exec said no final decision has been made regarding when “Miss” will air. Confusing matters even more, NBC on Friday aired promos touting back-to-back original episodes of “Miss Match” from 8-10 p.m. this Friday.

Industry insiders said NBC will shelve frosh laffer “Coupling” for the November sweep, having previously bumped the skein for one week of the all-important ratings frame. “Scrubs,” which now airs at 8:30 p.m., will air an hour later at 9:30 Thursday for the month.

To fill the gap left by “Coupling’s” absence, NBC will air “Friends” repeats at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, starting Nov. 6.

As for “Boomtown,” skein is still on an extended production hiatus, with Peacock execs expected to decide its fate this week. Industry insiders believe the prognosis is bleak, though no decision has been made.

Finally, on Saturday nights during November, NBC will repeat frosh skeins like “Las Vegas” at 8 p.m., with repeats of various “Law & Order” skeins from 9-11.

NBC Entertainment prexy Jeff Zucker said the “Third Watch” shift is designed to fill the ratings gap left by the shift of “Law & Order: SVU” from Fridays to Tuesdays at the start of the season.

“Fridays at 10 is a big hole for us,” he said. “This is a real opportunity for ‘Third Watch,’ which has performed well for us wherever we’ve put it, to go into a time period where there’s nothing going on (competitively).”

NBC has two cycles of “Joe” spread over roughly a dozen episodes, so in success, it’s possible the skein could stay in the slot for a few months. “Joe,” hosted by Kathy Griffin, features a former beauty queen who dates ordinary guys (Daily Variety, April 23).

As for another problem spot on the Peacock sked — Sundays at 10 –Zucker said he plans to give slot occupant “The Lyon’s Den” some breathing room.

“We’re going to let it find its audience,” he said.

Meanwhile, in other scheduling news, Fox will bump this week’s episodes of Friday laffers “Luis” and “Wanda at Large” to make room for an extra play of new drama “Skin.” Latter skein will air Oct. 24 at 9 p.m., pushing “Boston Public” to 8 p.m. for a week.

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