NBC announces 2009-10 schedule

'Parenthood,' 'Trauma' new to net

NBC on Tuesday presented a 2009-10 schedule that included a new shared time-period strategy as well as two high-profile cancellations that sparked controversy.

With "The Jay Leno Show" occupying the 10 p.m. hour five nights a week, all eyes were on how NBC would manage to reconfigure the rest of its returning lineup and new shows into a tighter schedule.

The answer is having more series than ever share time periods, with the shows' half-season runs separated by the network's coverage of the Winter Olympics.

The strategy involves abbreviated orders and will allow for fewer repeats, though if serialized shows are given longer hiatuses to make way for new content, it could also cause waning in audience interest and ratings erosion. (On the flip side, ABC's "Lost" is an example that shorter runs for serialized drama could still work.)

"NBC has picked up more scripted shows than last season even with 'The Jay Leno Show' at 10 p.m.," NBC co-chair Ben Silverman said, singling out two of the network's new series, drama "Parenthood" and comedy "Community."

To make room for the new crop, NBC canceled two long-running series, comedy "My Name Is Earl" and drama "Medium," while officially renewing veteran "Law & Order" and sophomore "Chuck."

The dismissal of "Earl" and "Medium," accompanied by Silverman's comments that each of them was "an aging franchise, without a single fan letter, with no passion," didn't sit well with the producers of both series.

CBS Studios, which is behind "Medium," came out with a sternly worded statement.

"NBC's cancellation of 'Medium' is inexplicable to us," the statement said. "The ratings don't lie: 'Medium' outperforms many of NBC's renewed shows... We believe the show has a significant future and await developments."

Those developments are said to involve a pickup by sister network CBS, which is awaiting the official release of "Medium" by NBC that would come by end of day Wednesday.

Meanwhile, "Earl" creator Greg Garcia didn't spare harsh words for NBC either, telling the Los Angeles Times: "It's hard to be too upset about being thrown off the Titanic."

"Earl" producer 20th TV is in talks with Fox and ABC about a potential pickup for the four-year-old series.

On NBC next season, Mondays held the most dramatic change and the most series turnover.

"Heroes" will shift from its signature 9 p.m. spot to 8 p.m. to help launch medical action-drama "Trauma."

"Heroes" is also operating with a shortened order next season, 19 episodes, and will run only in the fall, making room for "Chuck" in midseason, back from the brink with a 13-episode pickup backed by Subway. After inadvertently becoming part of fans' save "Chuck campaign, the fast-food chain has come on board as a sponsor for the series next season. Meanwhile, apocalyptic thriller "Day One" will take over for "Trauma" after the Olympics.

Campbell Mithun's John Rash liked the slot sharing. "Any innovation that reduces repeats is audience and advertiser friendly," he said.

On Tuesdays, NBC decided to keep "Biggest Loser" at two hours.

That means that three nets, NBC, ABC ("Shark Tank," "Dancing with the Stars" results) and Fox ("So You think You Can Dance") will air unscripted fare from 8-10 p.m., leaving CBS (and the CW) as the scripted alternative.

Wednesdays, where the network has really struggled this season, NBC plans new dramedy "Parenthood" ("Mercy" in midseason) leading into "Law & Order: SVU."

Thursdays keeps "Parks & Recreation" at 8:30 and "The Office" at nine, but other two comedy block slots will see some shifting. The network will start the fall leading off with "Saturday Night Live" specials at 8 p.m. for several weeks with new comedy "Community" at 9:30 p.m., then shift "30 Rock" into its usual 9:30 slot and put "Community" to the test as the night's new anchor at 8 p.m.

On Fridays the record-tying 20th season of "Law & Order" will be followed by the return of "Southland," whose ratings started solid and have since declined on Thursday nights.

The network has ordered 16 episodes from "L&O" but said may extend the order to 22.

For video clips of new fall shows, next season's schedule charts and live-blogging from the upfronts in New York, check out The Live Feed blog.

NBC 2009-10 schedule on next page



NBC 2009-10 SCHEDULE

FALL
*New programs in UPPER CASE

MONDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Heroes" (new time slot)
9-10 p.m. - "TRAUMA"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

TUESDAY
8-10 p.m. - "The Biggest Loser"
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. - "PARENTHOOD"
9-10 p.m. - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (new time slot)
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

THURSDAY
8- 8:30 p.m. - "SNL WEEKEND UPDATE THURSDAY"/COMMUNITY
8:30-9 p.m. - "Parks and Recreation"
9- 9:30 p.m. - "The Office"
9:30-10 p.m. - "COMMUNITY"/30 Rock
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Law & Order" (new time slot)
9-10 p.m. - "Southland" (new time slot)
10-11 p.m. - "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

SATURDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Dateline NBC"
9-10 p.m. - Trauma repeats
10-11 p.m. - "Law & Order: SVU" repests

SUNDAY
7- 8:20 p.m. "Football Night in America"
8:20-11 p.m. "NBC Sunday Night Football"


MIDSEASON following the Winter Olympics

MONDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Chuck"
9-10 p.m. - "DAY ONE"
10-11 p.m. - "The Jay Leno Show

TUESDAY
8-9:30 p.m. - "The Biggest Loser"
9:30-10 p.m. - "100 QUESTIONS"
10-11 p.m. - "The Jay Leno Show

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. - "MERCY"
9-10 p.m. - "Law & Order: SVU"
10-11 p.m. - The Jay Leno Show

THURSDAY
8- 8:30 p.m. - "Community"
8:30-9 p.m. - "Parks and Recreation"
9- 9:30 p.m. - "The Office"
9:30-10 p.m. - "30 Rock"
10-11 p.m. - The Jay Leno Show
"

FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Law & Order"
9-10 p.m. - "Southland"
10-11 p.m. - The Jay Leno Show

SATURDAY
8-9 p.m. - "Dateline NBC"
9-10 p.m. - "Southland" repeat
10-11 p.m. - "Law & Order: SVU" repeat

SUNDAY
7-8 p.m. - "Dateline NBC"
8-9 p.m. - THE MARRIAGE REF
9-11 p.m. - "The Celebrity Apprentice"
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