‘Just Shoot Me’ in lead for Thursday

'Friends', 'Frasier' still in hunt for 'Seinfeld' slot

As NBC gets closer to setting its fall schedule more signs are pointing to Brillstein-Grey’s “Just Shoot Me” as the heir to “Seinfeld’s” Thursday 9 p.m. time period. NBC has made no final decision, and “Friends” and “Frasier” are certainly still in the mix.

However, NBC has given execs close to “Just Shoot Me” “strong smoke signals” that they will be happy with the show’s destination. NBC also was pressed hard to make sure “Just Shoot Me’s” David Spade, the subject of a spate of recent magazine profiles, will be on hand for a performance at the upfront presentation Monday in New York. Meanwhile, it’s unclear whether any of the “Friends” cast or “Frasier” stars Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce will be there.

“Just Shoot Me” might seem a risky bet for 9 p.m., given that it has always aired in a protected timeslot, and Fox could move “King of the Hill,” “Ally McBeal” or “The X-Files” to blunt it. But “Seinfeld” wasn’t a sure bet either when it first moved to Thursday. Sources close to “Friends” say they believe NBC will want to keep that show at 8 p.m. in order to cast a wide net for the night with a proven series at 8 p.m. and another at 10 p.m., “ER.” Even though 9 p.m. is a more important slot than 8 p.m., there could be an advantage in having a newer series, like “Just Shoot Me,” with more long-term potential in that 9 p.m. slot.

Another consideration: “Frasier” is doing great on Tuesday, and NBC may be reluctant to move it. If “Frasier” does stay, there’s a good chance ABC will move “Drew Carey” to Tuesday at 9 p.m. to challenge it — a risky bet that will anger “Drew Carey” producer Warner Bros. and could backfire for ABC’s newest hit and damage its strong Wednesday night sked.