Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NBC’s 2009 Schedule – Part II

Here's NBC's final schedule for the coming season. The Olympics mean that, like FOX NBC will have an extensive mid-season shake-up, marked with an "O". Since all of NBC's new series were announced previously I won't be giving an overview of those shows. You can find my descriptions in an earlier post. (I'm really late getting this and the ABC announcements done thanks to what turned out to be an ill-advised visit to the casino Tuesday afternoon.)

Cancelled: Lipstick Jungle, America's Toughest Jobs, Chopping Block, Crusoe, ER, Momma's Boys, My Own Worst Enemy, Kath & Kim, Kings, Knight Rider, Deal Or No Deal, Medium, My Name is Earl, Superstars of Dance, Howie Do It.

Renewed: The Biggest Loser, Celebrity Apprentice, Dateline NBC.

Chuck, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, Parks and Recreation, Southland, 30 Rock, The Office, Heroes,

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

Scheduled for summer: Friday Night Lights,

Complete Schedule (Changes after the Olympics as noted) Times are Eastern, adjust accordingly.

8:00-9:00 p.m. Heroes, Chuck (O)

9:00-10:00 p.m. TRAUMA, DAY ONE (O)
10:00-11:00 p.m. THE JAY LENO SHOW

8:00-10:00 p.m. The Biggest Loser

8:00-9:30 p.m. The Biggest Loser (O)
9:30-10:00 p.m. 100 QUESTIONS (O)
10:00-11:00 p.m. THE JAY LENO SHOW

8:00-9:00 p.m. PARENTHOOD, MERCY (O)

9:00-10:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU
10:00-11:00 p.m. THE JAY LENO SHOW

8:00-8:30 p.m. Weekend Update (short run), COMMUNITY
8:30-9:00 p.m. Parks and Recreation
9:00-9:30 p.m. The Office
9:30-10:00 p.m. COMMUNITY (short run), 30 Rockv
10:00-11:00 p.m. THE JAY LENO SHOW

8:00-9:00 p.m. Law & Order
9:00-10:00 p.m. Southland
10:00-11:00 p.m. THE JAY LENO SHOW

7:00-8:20 p.m. Football Night In America
8:20-10:00 p.m. Sunday Night Football

After Football
7:00-8:00 p.m. Dateline NBC
8:00-9:00 p.m. THE MARRIAGE REF
9:00-11:00 p.m. Celebrity Apprentice


NBC is engaged in a rather risky strategy in more than one area. Obviously the decision to offer the Jay Leno Show on week nights is a big risk. Not only does the network run the risk of not being competitive in the timeslot but they also restrict their programming options. There are shows in the NBC line-up that would probably benefit from being aired in the third hour of primetime, notably Southland.

A second potential trap that the network faces is the decision to start a large number of their shows after the Olympics. While it approximates the European model of broadcasting – limited runs of series – history has shown that American audiences don't react well to shows that debut at mid-season. They also don't like long breaks between new episodes of a show. One proof of this was the ratings of the ABC series that weren't brought back after the 2008 Writers Strike but which were renewed for the 2008-09 season. Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money all suffered massive drops in ratings after the strike. It's one thing to put shows on after Sunday Night Football ends its season – although it's worth noting that what they're replacing Football with is cheap to make reality shows – but it's an entirely different thing to use a vaguely artificial break to start new, continuing, scripted shows. One interesting thing though is the choice to scale Biggest Loser back to 90 minutes after the Olympics. Just my opinion but I think it could, and probably should have been done for both cycles of the show.

Medium has been cancelled by NBC, but has been picked up by CBS, the company that produces it. There appears to be a war of words developing over the issue, but the key point is that NBC only wanted 13 episodes, CBS wanted to do 16, and star Patricia Arquette's contract calls for 22 episodes.

Just for the record, after the debacle that was this past season of Celebrity Apprentice in which the person who raised the most money, was the more successful project manager and was the most efficient player, lost to as nasty creature who quit the show at one point, accused all "pokah playahs" of being in the mob and whose great contribution to one of her challenges was "cluck cluck cluck SPLASH" I won't be watching Donald Trump's show again.

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