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NBC Unveils Fall and Spring Schedules, "Chuck," "Day One," and "Mercy" to Midseason, "Friday Night Lights" to Summer

Day Two of the 2009 network upfronts continues as NBC (finally!) announced their 2009-10 primetime schedule.

"NBC has picked up more scripted shows than last season even with The Jay Leno Show at 10 pm," said Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. "We're incredibly excited about our new and returning series and have more comedy programming than anyone else, as well as two of the most buzzed about new shows, Community and Parenthood. We can't wait for the fall."

"We are extremely proud to introduce these strong new series to NBC's schedule next season in strategic timeslots that position them for success," said Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios. "They join some of the highest quality returning shows on television, which will serve as a strong foundation to the new schedule. I think viewers are going to be happy to see this lineup of great new shows that will truly fit the NBC legacy of quality, culturally defining shows."

As previously reported, NBC ordered several new series including Mercy, Trauma, Day One, Parenthood, 100 Questions, and Community and renewed dramas Heroes and Southland and comedy Parks and Recreation back on May 4th, when it also ordered six new installments of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday. (The pickups and renewals joined The Office, 30 Rock, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Biggest Loser, Celebrity Apprentice, and Friday Night Lights, all of which received early pickups a few months back.)

NBC made news earlier today when it officially announced, via press release, that it would be bringing back Chuck for a third season, although it would hold off on returning the series until after the Winter Olympics, when it would rejoin the schedule in its Monday nights at 8 pm timeslot. Also joining Chuck in midseason are dramas Day One and Mercy and unscripted series The Marriage Ref, all of which will turn up following the Olympics.

Heroes will wrap its season in the fall, vacating the Mondays at 8 pm timeslot for Chuck. My Name is Earl has been officially canceled by NBC, as has Medium. It's unclear at the moment whether CBS will pick up Medium for their own schedule.

Also left off of the midseason schedule: Friday Night Lights, which will instead return to NBC in Summer 2010 after its run on DirecTV's Channel 101.

UPDATED: NBC's full fall and midseason schedules can be found below, along with the official press release from the network.

NBC FALL 2009 SCHEDULE

MONDAY
8-9 pm: Heroes
9-10 pm: Trauma (new drama)
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

TUESDAY
8-10 pm: The Biggest Loser
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

WEDNESDAY
8-9 pm: Parenthood (new drama)
9-10 pm: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

THURSDAY
8-8:30 pm: SNL Weekend Update Thursday
8:30-9 pm: Parks and Recreation
9-9:30 pm: The Office
9:30-10 pm: Community
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

THURSDAY (after SNL ends)
8-8:30 pm: Community
8:30-9 pm: Parks and Recreation
9-9:30 pm: The Office
9:30- 10 pm: 30 Rock
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

FRIDAY
8-9 pm: Law & Order
9-10 pm: Southland
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

SATURDAY
8-9 pm: Dateline NBC
9-10 pm: Trauma repeats
10-11 pm: Law & Order: SVU repeats

SUNDAY
7-8:20 pm: Football Night in America
8:20-11 pm:Sunday Night Football

NBC MID-SEASON 2010 SCHEDULE
(N.B.: 2010 WINTER OLYMPICS preempt regularly scheduled programming from February 12-28, 2010)

MONDAY
8-9 pm: Chuck
9-10 pm: Day One (new drama)
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

TUESDAY
8-9:30 pm: The Biggest Loser
9:30-10 pm: 100 Questions (new comedy)
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

WEDNESDAY
8-9 pm: Mercy (new drama)
9-10 pm: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

THURSDAY
8-8:30 pm: Community
8:30-9 pm: Parks and Recreation
9-9:30 pm: The Office
9:30- 10 pm: 30 Rock
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

FRIDAY
8-9 pm: Law & Order
9-10 pm: Southland
10-11 pm: Jay Leno

SATURDAY
8-9 pm: Dateline NBC
9-10 pm: Southland repeats
10-11 pm: Law & Order: SVU repeats

SUNDAY
7-8 pm: Dateline NBC
8-9 pm: The Marriage Ref (new reality)
9-11 pm: Celebrity Apprentice

For those of you keeping track of such things, here's how the NBC schedule stacks up.

Returning Series:
30 Rock, The Apprentice, The Biggest Loser, Chuck, Football Night in America, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Southland, Sunday Night Football

New Series:
100 Questions, Breakthrough with Tony Robbins, Community, Day One, The Jay Leno Show, The Marriage Ref, Mercy, Parenthood, The Sing Off, Trauma, Who Do You Think You Are?

New Timeslots for Returning Series:
Heroes, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Southland

Midseason Launches/Returns:
Chuck, Day One, Friday Night Lights (Summer 2010), Mercy, The Marriage Ref

Cancelled/Ended:
America's Toughest Jobs, Chopping Block, Crusoe, ER, Kath & Kim, Kings, Knight Rider, Life, Lipstick Jungle, Momma's Boys, My Name is Earl, My Own Worst Enemy

Reactions:
I've gone into enough detail in the past about what I think of the decision to air Jay Leno five nights a week at 10 pm, so I won't say anything more about it here other than I think it's a sad state of the industry when we're seeing a major broadcast net give up the 10 pm hour to a daily talk show rather than schedule scripted programming. Sigh. Will NBC's gambit pay off? We'll see this fall and we'll see just how happy the advertisers are versus their spending on scripted first-run programming in the same timeslot last year.

I think it's a good decision to program shorter runs of scripted drama series, with Heroes and Trauma set to air their full seasons before the start of the Olympics, after which we'll see Mondays turned over to Chuck (yay!) and Jesse Alexander's sci-fi drama Day One. With the reduction of available real estate (thanks to the Jay Leno deal), I think it's a smart decision and will hopefully produce a higher concentration of quality episodes than in a typical 22-episode season.

I am, however, a little concerned about yet another huge hiatus between seasons for Chuck, which saw significant downturn in the ratings when it wasn't returned quickly enough to the schedule after the WGA strike. Given its current momentum and fan and critical support, I would have thought that NBC would have wanted to rush this back on air as quickly as possible. Hmmmm.

No surprise that NBC would keep reality competition series The Biggest Loser in a two-hour edition on Tuesdays, though I do think that the combination on Wednesdays of Parenthood and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is an odd one, to say the least. Will the same audience really stick around for SVU after watching a family drama? I don't know. The same applies to Mercy in midseason as well.

SNL Weekend Update Thursday is a no brainer. It worked quite well for NBC in the lead-up to the presidential election last fall and gives the net more of a lead-in cushion for floundering comedy Parks and Recreation at 8:30 pm and allow Community to get some sampling after The Office for a few weeks before it kicks off the night roughly six weeks later. Happy to see that NBC didn't mess around with its 9 pm combo of The Office and 30 Rock, which will join the schedule after SNL Weekend Update Thursday wraps its run.

Friday nights will either be a blessing or a curse for NBC, with their new lineup of veteran drama Law & Order and newbie Southland taking over the graveyard shift. Given Southland's plummeting ratings on Thursdays at 10 pm this season, I fully anticipate the series' viewers to flee once it moves to a less desirable Friday evening locale.

The full press release from NBC, announcing their lineup can be found below. Photos and video promos for the new NBC series, including Mercy, Trauma, Day One, Parenthood, 100 Questions, and Community, can be found here.

NBC ANNOUNCES 2009-2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE BOLSTERED BY MORE ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING THAN EVER BEFORE

Shared Time Period Strategy Around NBC's Broadcast of 2010 Winter Olympics Along with Jay Leno at 10 p.m. Enables Network to Broadcast Original Programming Year-Round

Network Renews Returning Series "Law & Order" and "Chuck"

NEW YORK CITY -- May 19, 2009 – NBC announced today its 2009-2010 schedule featuring more original programming than ever before and a shared time-period strategy around NBC's Olympics platform that, along with "The Jay Leno Show" (Mondays-Fridays 10-11 p.m. ET), allows the network to broadcast all-new content year-round.

In addition, NBC issued renewals to "Law & Order" and "Chuck" (see accompanying release) as part of its strong slate of new and returning shows announced recently at the network's highly successful Infront.

"NBC has picked up more scripted shows than last season even with "The Jay Leno Show" at 10 p.m.," said Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. "We're incredibly excited about our new and returning series and have more comedy programming than anyone else, as well as two of the most buzzed about new shows, 'Community' and 'Parenthood.' We can't wait for the fall."

"We are extremely proud to introduce these strong new series to NBC's schedule next season in strategic timeslots that position them for success," said Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios. "They join some of the highest quality returning shows on television, which will serve as a strong foundation to the new schedule. I think viewers are going to be happy to see this lineup of great new shows that will truly fit the NBC legacy of quality, culturally defining shows."

NBC's shared time period strategy will kick off this fall on Mondays with the premiere of "Heroes" (8-9 p.m. ET) continuing with all originals before "Chuck" assumes the time period after the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, which will be a powerful launching platform with its broad, female appeal and strong ratings as the most-watched event of the year. Using "NBC Sunday Night Football's" potent promotional platform, the new high-octane drama "Trauma" will debut Mondays (9-10 p.m. ET) with the epic event series "Day One" taking over the time period following the Olympics.

NBC's successful "The Biggest Loser" series continues Tuesdays (8-10 p.m.) and will help launch the new Wednesday lineup this fall, with the new family drama "Parenthood" debuting (8-9 p.m. ET) and the new hospital drama "Mercy" assuming the time period post-Olympics. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" will air 9-10 p.m. ET following "Parenthood."

NBC's Thursday marquee comedy night will begin with the only live comedy between 8-10 p.m. on any network, "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday" (8-8:30 p.m. ET), followed by "Parks and Recreation" (8:30-9 p.m. ET), "The Office" (9-9:30 p.m. ET) and the new comedy "Community" (9:30-10 p.m. ET). After "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday" completes its multi-week run, "Community" will move to 8 p.m. and "30 Rock" will debut at 9:30 p.m., enabling NBC to feature more original comedy than ever before.

On Fridays in the fall, the enduring drama "Law & Order" will return for its record 20th season (tying "Gunsmoke" as the longest running drama series in primetime) and will lead off at 8-9 p.m. (ET) while "Southland" follows at 9-10 p.m. (ET), building a great crime block.

Saturdays will be a showcase for "Dateline NBC" (8-9 p.m. ET) and encore episodes of "Trauma" (9-10 p.m. ET) and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (10-11 p.m. ET).

"Football Night in America" (7-8:20 p.m. ET) and " NBC Sunday Night Football" (8:20-11 p.m. ET) – the number one show of the fall -- will return on Sundays in the fall with a fan-pleasing schedule of games to round out the fall season.

Utilizing the compatible demographics provided by the Olympics, NBC will launch the premieres of "The Marriage Ref" from executive producers Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen Rakieten ("Oprah") on Sundays (8-9 p.m. ET) and the third season premiere of "The Celebrity Apprentice" on Sundays with two-hour editions (9-11 p.m. ET). In addition, the new comedy "100 Questions" will debut on Tuesdays (9:30-10 p.m. ET) following a 90-minute edition of "The Biggest Loser" (8-9:30 p.m. ET).

And coming in the summer 2010, NBC will telecast all original episodes of "The Jay Leno Show," "Friday Night Lights," "America's Got Talent," "Breakthrough with Tony Robbins," "Dateline NBC," with additional programs to be announced later.

Photos and video promos for the new NBC series, including Mercy, Trauma, Day One, Parenthood, 100 Questions, and Community, can be found here.

Tomorrow: CBS.

Comments

norks said…
I'm ecstatic that Chuck is back but frustrated that it's going to be midseason. This show has really gotten the runaround in terms of scheduling and I would have liked to have seen it back on the air sooner rather than later.
Anonymous said…
WTF? No Chuck until midseason? ARGH NBC WHY????????
Mazza said…
Was really hoping we'd see Chuck this fall, even if it was on Fri nights. But midseason??? That's way too far off for me to wait. DVD's here I come.

Heroes should have been canceled 2 yrs ago. Do people still watch that show?
Brad said…
How is Weekend Update Thursday a no-brainer? There's little reason to think that there will be huge political news this fall, and the Thursday show wasn't really that great last fall. Starting 30 Rock so late last season failed to capitalize on Tina Fey's constant guest-stars on SNL.
If Fey and Poehler both do Weekend Update Thursdays, that could help their shows, but that seems like an awful lot of work for them.
Jace Lacob said…
Brad,

It's a no-brainer because they don't have another comedy that can kick off the night. Parks and Rec can't be the 8 pm hour because it doesn't have the ratings or profile, Community is too wet behind the ears to start off its run at 8 pm and they don't want to move The Office. SNL Weekend Update Thursday is inexpensive to produce, topical, and will likely be viral as well, sending viewers to NBC.com, Hulu, widgets, etc. Thus, no brainer.
Unknown said…
While I don't find the idea of five hours of Leno in primetime at all appealing, I still think it's a smart business move for NBC.

Even with the reduced number of hours for shows in the 8-11 period, I'm still looking at watching four to five hours of NBC shows a week. And that's not really any less than I'll be watching on the other networks.

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