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‘Big Bro 2’ finale to face ‘Friends’ season preem

NBC's 'Inside Schwartz' debut also joins fray

HOLLYWOOD — Those nasty housemates on “Big Brother 2” will reunite one last time to fight a common enemy: NBC’s “Friends.”

CBS has scheduled the one-hour “Big Brother 2” finale on the first Thursday of the fall TV season, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. That puts the show smack up against the season premiere of “Friends” and series debut of frosh Peacock laffer “Inside Schwartz.”

“Big Brother 2’s” $500,000 winner will be revealed that night, as chosen by contestants previously voted off the show. That means the return of banished houseguests including saucy mom Sheryl, whiny Autumn, sexpot Shannon, goofy Mike and cranky Kent.

“Big Brother 2’s” second-to-last episode will air the previous Thursday, Sept. 13. The show’s producers requested that CBS preempt the following Saturday and Tuesday episodes.

CBS execs had been waiting to review “Big Brother 2’s” performance before deciding whether to end the summertime skein the week before premiere week.

But the reality series has benefited from a house full of lying, deceitful, backstabbing roommates in recent weeks — a stark contrast from last year’s original “BB,” which generated little excitement.

“Once we saw the numbers growing and performing respectably, it was a good option,” said one Eye exec.

The “Big Brother 2” broadcast last Thursday, which featured Kent’s dismissal, attracted a season-high 9.7 million viewers. Series, which airs Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, has averaged 7.6 million viewers this summer.

The Eye has been searching for programming to fill the Thursday 8 p.m. timeslot until Oct. 11, when “Survivor: Africa” debuts. Net execs are still mulling a variety of strategies to fill the hour with specials or series.

Meanwhile, the Peacock has finalized plans to air an NBC News White House special the first Wednesday of the season (Daily Variety, Aug. 9). The tentatively titled “A Day in the Life of President Bush: Inside the Real West Wing” will air Sept. 19 before the season premiere of “The West Wing.”

The third installment of reality gamer “Lost,” originally slated for that timeslot, will instead air Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 10 p.m. (in “Dateline NBC’s” slot).

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