‘Joey’ just OK as Thursday glory fades fast


WHAT WORKED: Well, the Olympics certainly gave NBC a very nice promotional launching pad for its new shows. But ironically, one of the skeins pushed the least during the Games — Friday drama “Medical Investigation” — has actually performed better than any other Peacock frosh, relative to timeslot and expectations. It’s not a smash hit, but it’s a solid performer on a tough night.

Elsewhere, “Las Vegas” remains the unsung hero of the Peacock sked, while Tuesday’s “Law & Order: SVU” has emerged as the top-rated member of the “L&O” trio. “ER” is still plugging away, while “The West Wing” showed a bit of a pulse (at least until “American Idol” returns). And reality skein “The Biggest Loser”? A big winner.

WHAT DIDN’T:With stalwarts such as “Friends” and “Frasier” exiting last May, NBC needed to have a banner development year.

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Didn’t happen.

Peacock execs will tell anyone who’ll listen that “Joey” is the highest-rated new comedy of the year. That’s true, but its ratings have fallen steadily since its much-hyped premiere, and critics who praised the show’s pilot have turned chilly. While by no means a flop, the show hasn’t been the big hit NBC needed to make up for the loss of “Friends.”

Adding to the Thursday hurt: “The Apprentice,” while still a big hit, declined markedly in its second cycle, proving wrong NBC execs who predicted the net would actually do better on Thursdays post-“Friends.”

Meanwhile, big-budget CGI skein “Father of the Pride” started solidly but fizzled. Even Heather Locklear couldn’t save airport drama “LAX,” while “Hawaii” was a belly flop. All three skeins have been canceled.

NBC also got hammered by rising stars on the competish.

While CBS’ “CSI: NY” has cooled down after a lofty bow, the Eye bodybagger (along with ABC’s “Wife Swap”) has put the hurt on the original Wednesday edition of “Law & Order.” And on Sundays, the already-iffy “American Dreams” is getting hammered (and nailed) by ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

WHAT’S AHEAD: Six months after railing against Fox’s reality copycats, NBC rips off UPN’s “Top Model” with the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search” — and will probably do fine. Supposedly scary drama “Medium” opened to good ratings, but may have a tough time holding those numbers opposite “CSI: Miami.” The spring premiere of “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” will either be a much-needed godsend or a sign that the “L&O” franchise is fading. On the comedy front, net has “Committed” on Tuesdays and the much-anticipated remake of “The Office” later in the season.

Dark horses? NBC’s got ’em — as in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — in the end-of-world skein “Revelations.” Reality laffers featuring Kathy Hilton and Tommy Lee could also prove to be out-of-left-field hits.