NBC's sked gets a major reality check

NBC has set a summer slate boasting at least six new reality skeins, including an unscripted parental switch laffer dubbed “Meet Mister Mom.”

Peacock plans to roll out its fresh fare in short bursts throughout the summer, with at least two skeins bowing in June, July and August. New fare will air primarily on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, keeping the lights on during two nights likely to feature significant changes come fall.

Summer sked includes several celeb-fronted reality skeins, with Tommy Lee, Kathy Hilton and attorney Roy Black all headlining series. Lineup also includes the return of Peacock hits “The Biggest Loser” and “Average Joe.”

NBC scheduling topper Mitch Metcalf said the net’s strategy is to make sure there’s new programming rolling out every few weeks during the season.

“We have six shows, and we want to roll them out in a logical way and not put everything on too early or too late,” he said. “We don’t want to tax our promotional resources. We also want to have some promising series start later and carry through” until the 2005-06 fall season starts in late September.

“The important thing is to treat all three months seriously,” Metcalf added.

‘Keeping it light’

Exec said the overall theme of NBC’s summer fare this year “is having fun and keeping it light. In that respect, all of them are going to fit together.”

Metcalf plans to keep NBC’s Monday lineup in tact, with repeats of “Law & Order”-branded skeins set to remain Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 p.m. On Thursdays, a double run of “Will & Grace” will air from 9-10 p.m., with more comedy set to air from 8-9 p.m.

Two-hour “Datelines” will fill most of Friday nights, while plans for Sunday are still in flux. And on the specials front, NBC airs the Miss Universe pageant on May 30.

As for new series, barring any additional entries, NBC’s summer slate is scheduled to bow Tuesday, June 21, with “I Want to Be a Hilton.” Previously announced skein features 14 young contestants who want the chance to live the high life, with Paris’ mom serving as mentor.

“Hilton” will have a two-hour premiere from 8-10 p.m. before settling into its regular 9-10 p.m. slot the following week.

Hey, ‘Joe’

On June 28 at 8 p.m., NBC premieres “Average Joe 4: The Joes Strike Back.” Latest incarnation of the dating skein is expected to have a twist, though the net isn’t saying just yet what that is.

A month later, on Wednesday, June 27, David E. Kelley’s first reality skein, “The Law Firm,” will have a two-hour premiere in a timeslot to be determined. Black guides the competish-based skein pitting real lawyers against each other.

It’s expected “Law Firm” — a Renegade 83, Kelley and 20th Century Fox TV production — will move to 9 p.m. Wednesdays the next week, making room for “Meet Mister Mom” to bow on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 8 p.m.

Latter skein features two superbusy families headed by “superstar” moms, who at the start of the show are sent to a spa. The dads then get the task of running the home for a week, competing to see who can best handle the stress — though, in the end, all is not as it seems. (In other words, there’s a secret twist.)

Final two NBC originals are expected to launch on Tuesday, Aug. 9, with “Biggest Loser 2″ kicking off the night with a 90-minute premiere. It’s possible, but not yet certain, that “Loser” could air regularly as a 90-minute skein during the summer.

New installment of “Loser” will pit men against women, with teams once again competing to shed the most pounds.

At 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 9, “Tommy Lee Goes to College” premieres (Daily Variety, Aug. 25, 2004). Skein has the Motley Crue star crackin’ the books and cruising co-eds at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

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