Network readies big reveal
While a few of NBC’s burning questions were resolved by Sunday night, others won’t be answered until today, when the Peacock reveals its fall primetime strategy.Insiders confirmed that “Scrubs” would indeed return for another season — ending talk of a move to ABC — while “Law & Order” is on the callback sheet as well along with earlier survivor “Friday Night Lights.” With the fate of those shows resolved, rival networks itching for intel on NBC’s plans wondered whether the net would take a huge gamble and relocate frosh smash “Heroes” — perhaps to the all-important Thursday night lineup. Most observers discounted that theory, however, arguing that “Heroes” was more valuable on Monday, where it could possibly help launch a show at 10 p.m. and/or 8 p.m. (Perhaps “Journeyman,” “Chuck” or “The Bionic Woman”?) Even if “Heroes” doesn’t move, NBC could possibly open up the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot to a new show — moving “ER” to a new slot for the first time in its history (possibly Wednesday), or at least resting the show (as the Peacock had originally planned to do this year). There’s also intense speculation that Noah Wyle may return to the long-running medical drama for several episodes to fill out his contractural obligation with the studio. Peacock’s plan for its Thursday night comedy block is coming into focus. “The Office” is expected to get the 9 p.m. tentpole slot, with “My Name Is Earl” at 8, “30 Rock” at 8:30 and “Scrubs” at 9:30. NBC will pick up six one hour eps of “The Office” for a total of 30 segs. The net picked up just 18 eps of “Scrubs”; in the weeks that the medical laffer doesn’t air, net will air a one-hour episode of “The Office.” Then there’s also new comedy “The IT Crowd,” which could potentially fill one of the half-hour spots while “30 Rock” or “Scrubs” take a rest. Laffer, from NBC Universal TV Studio and FremantleMedia, is based on a Britcom about a computer tech crew. David Guarascio, Moses Port, Joe Wiseman, Joe Port, Steve Tao and Graham Linehan exec produce. Also on the scheduling front, now that both “Friday Night Lights,” “Medium” and “Law & Order” have been renewed, where do they go? (It’s probably safe to say those “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” second runs head straight to Saturday.) Sources said that the net will move “Law and Order” off the Friday sked. There’s some sense in putting “Friday Night Lights” on Friday — it’s easy marketing, and a no-pressure zone that could help nurture the show without asking it to do much heavy lifting. (You can also argue that “Lights’ ” target aud is young enough to be nostalgic for Friday night football games, but old enough to be home and not actually at some high school field). On the reality tip, it’s still unclear whether “The Apprentice” will be back, or how many segs of “Deal or No Deal” will be brought into service. Then there’s what to do with NBC’s new dramas. Besides “Journeyman” and “Bionic Woman,” that includes “Chuck” and “Life” (Daily Variety, May 11) — and one late add, “Lipstick Jungle.” That show, based on the Candace Bushnell book, revolves around women in Manhattan (Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price star). NBC Universal TV is behind the series, which is exec produced by DeAnn Heline, Eileen Heisler and Bushnell. (Josef Adalian in Hollywood contributed to this report.)
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