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‘Apprentice’ gets ‘Chuck’ bookends

NBC schedules new show around Trump

NBC is whipping up a Chuck-Trump sandwich in order to solve a scheduling dilemma.

Peacock began 2008 with two original pre-strike segs of frosh hit “Chuck” in the can. The problem: “Chuck’s” regular 8 p.m. Monday timeslot is now being filled by “American Gladiators,” the NBC reality skein that’s proven to be an early ratings winner.

So now, NBC has decided to turn what could be the last two “Chuck” episodes of the season into an event. It will air the two segs on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 8 and 10 p.m. In-between, at 9 p.m., NBC will air an episode of the Donald Trump starrer “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Thursday broadcasts of “Chuck” give the show exposure on a high-profile night. It will also let NBC schedulers see how the skein performs in a later, 10 p.m. timeslot.

NBC has ordered a full season of the Warner Bros. TV-produced skein, but those back-nine episodes won’t be produced until after the strike is resolved.