At its infront, NBC leaves 'em hanging

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NBC gave advertisers a partial look at its fall plans Monday in New York, announcing the pickup of six new series and three renewals at its second annual "infront" presentation. But the network did not unveil a fall schedule and left a couple of key shows in limbo.

After going down to the wire on its new series pickups and "bubble" series renewals, NBC said next season's lineup will include two medical dramas, "Trauma" and "Mercy"; the one-hour dramedy "Parenthood," starring Peter Krause and Maura Tierney; and the apocalyptic series "Day One," which will premiere midseason out of the network's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

On the comedy side, "100 Questions" and Chevy Chase's "Community" received orders.

"We are thrilled to be announcing such an awesome slate of new series that builds on our existing quality brand and delivers emotional, human stories," said Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.

David E. Kelley's "Legally Mad" and the Dick Wolf- produced "Lost and Found" were left off the list of drama-pilot pickups but remain in contention for midseason.

NBC also announced six new "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update" primetime specials, which performed well in the fall when tied to the presidential election.

As for renewals, two midseason series, the John Wells- produced cop drama "Southland" and the Amy Poehler- starring comedy "Parks and Recreation," became the only freshman scripted shows NBC will bring back next season.

Veteran procedural "Medium" is inching closer to an official pickup, probably as a midseason backup, and the network postponed the verdict on three of its remaining bubble series: sophomore fan favorite "Chuck," veteran procedural "Law & Order" and Thursday comedy "My Name Is Earl." "Chuck" and "Law & Order" appear likely to return, but NBC brass on Monday indicated that "Earl" is not in high demand with the pickup of "Weekend Update," slated to air on Thursdays.

There were no surprise saves for "Life," or "Howie Do It," with NBC executives confirming that "Life" is dead.

Silverman said NBC will discuss "Medium," "Law & Order," "Earl" and "Chuck" with advertisers before making final decisions. "We want their feedback," he said.

As expected, NBC announced a renewal for "Heroes," which looks good to remain in the 9 p.m. Monday hour. (Jay Leno's new talk show is taking over the 10 p.m. hour Monday-Friday in the fall.)

"The Biggest Loser" will continue to anchor Tuesday, but Silverman noted that the network had not decided whether to keep the current two-hour format or trim the length of the episodes. Recently renewed "Law & Order: SVU" will air on Wednesday, likely at 9 p.m., but the future of series stars Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay remains up in the air as they continue talks with the network for new contracts.

Thursday 8-10 p.m. will remain a comedy block, and Friday will consist of two scripted dramas leading into Leno.

Despite having fewer slots to fill with the stripped Leno talker, the network didn't present a fall schedule to advertisers at its infront, deferring that to its May 19 upfront even when it also plans to announce some additional series pickups.

In addition to "Loser" and "SVU," previously announced series pickups include "The Office," "30 Rock," "The Celebrity Apprentice," "Friday Night Lights" and new reality series "The Marriage Ref," "Breakthrough With Tony Robbins" and "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Steve McClellan of Adweek and Marc Berman of Mediaweek in New York contributed to this report.
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