'Medium' cool as anchor of NBC makeover

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NBC on Thursday put the final touches on its strike-affected schedule for the first quarter, setting premiere dates for the midseason drama "Medium" and the new reality series "The Baby Borrowers."

The two series join the network's other midseason series — "American Gladiators," "1 vs. 100," "Celebrity Apprentice," "Lipstick Jungle," "Law & Order" and the repurposed "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" — for a reality-heavy schedule that will feature as many as 11 hours of unscripted programming, specials or movies a week.

The fourth season of "Medium," which will feature Anjelica Huston in a six-episode arc, will premiere in the show's original 10 p.m. Monday slot on Jan. 7, exactly three years after the supernatural drama starring Patricia Arquette emerged as a breakout hit for NBC in its Jan. 3, 2005, debut.

This is the same scheduling strategy NBC is using for "The Apprentice," which also is returning to the Thursday time period where it exploded in the ratings four years ago. Both shows have lost some of their luster since, hurt in part by frequent scheduling moves.

In another comeback, "Deal or No Deal" returns to Mondays where it was a staple at 8 p.m. This time, it will air at 9 p.m. starting Jan. 7. It's taking over the time slot of "Heroes," which wrapped its second "volume" this week.

NBC's Monday lineup will undergo the most dramatic makeover in January, when all three serialized series that now air on the night — "Chuck," "Heroes" and "Journeyman" — run out of original episodes. (Freshman "Journeyman" also hasn't been picked up for a full season.)

Beginning Jan. 7, NBC will air "Gladiators," "Deal" and "Medium" on Mondays. After "Gladiators" ends its run, it will be replaced Feb. 18 by "Baby Borrowers," a show based on a British format that puts five teenage couples on a "fast track to adulthood" as they set up a home, get a job and become parents over the course of three weeks.

Starting in January, "Deal" will air twice a week — on Monday and at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The Howie Mandel-hosted game show also has been airing at 8 p.m. Fridays, but "1 vs. 100" will take that slot starting Jan. 4.

Following the end of "Sunday Night Football," NBC plans to air a mix of specials and theatrical movies, including the Golden Globe Awards (Jan. 13), "The Guinness Book of World Records — Live!" (featuring a countdown of world records leading up to a live "death-defying stunt") on Jan. 27 and "Top 100 Most Outrageous Moments" on Feb. 10.
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