NBC tweaking three nights

'Lights' moving amid sked changes

Three nights — Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday — will get a makeover on NBC this midseason.

The network's post-NFL Sunday lineup will feature previously announced "The Apprentice" at 9 p.m., joined by the new reality series "Grease: You're the One That I Want" at 8 p.m. and "Crossing Jordan" in its previous 10 p.m. slot.

Meanwhile, the new drama "Friday Night Lights" will move to 8 p.m. Wednesday, followed by "Deal or No Deal."

"We have a focused effort in January to get Sunday going and to continue the progress we've seen on the other nights, most notably Monday and Friday, where we're up substantially," NBC head of scheduling Mitch Metcalf said.

NBC's Monday lineup of "Deal," the hit new drama "Heroes" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" will stay intact despite speculation about a possible move of Aaron Sorkin's critically praised "Studio 60," which regularly loses a large chunk of the "Heroes" audience.

"Studio 60's" creative strength and strengthened focus on characters was behind the network's decision to keep the series in the cushy post-"Heroes" time slot, Metcalf said.

"I think we're going to see numbers that are even stronger," he said of the Matthew Perry-starring show.

To stay primarily in originals, "Studio 60" will share its 10 p.m. slot with midseason drama "The Black Donnellys."

After struggling to gain traction with viewers in the 8 p.m. Tuesday slot, "Lights" is being taken out of "American Idol's" cross hairs with a move to Wednesdays as of Jan. 10. On its new night, the high school football drama will continue to air in the 8 p.m. hour, which the network has been looking to make a scripted-free zone. An unscripted show, the hit game show "Deal," will run at 9 p.m. beginning Jan. 3, when it will face the results show of Fox's "Idol." "Medium" is staying put at 10 p.m.

Beginning Dec. 26, a second edition of "Dateline NBC" will take over "Lights' " Tuesday slot, leading into "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Law & Order: SVU" (HR 11/22).

NBC is sticking with its current lineups on Thursdays ("My Name Is Earl," "The Office," "Scrubs," "30 Rock" and "ER") and Fridays ("1 vs. 100," "Las Vegas" and "Law & Order").

"Las Vegas," which has been airing predominantly original episodes, will end its fourth season early, making room for the midseason drama "Raines," which will take over the 9 p.m. period.

"Dateline NBC," which has been airing on Saturdays, will move to its prefootball slot of 7 p.m. Sunday beginning Feb. 11, with three episodes of "Deal" and one of "1 vs. 100" filling in during the time period in January.

"Grease," a talent search for the next Sandy and Danny to star in a new Broadway production of the hit musical, will premiere Jan. 7 along with the sixth-cycle premiere of "Apprentice." For the first two weeks, the two reality shows will run 90-minute episodes each from 8-11 p.m. before settling into their 8 and 9 p.m. time periods, respectively.

NBC will use the final games of its football coverage to heavily promote its new Sunday lineup.

"We're putting together a great night of reality with 'Deal,' 'Grease' and 'Apprentice,' and we have the means of getting the message out," Metcalf said.

Veteran crime drama "Crossing Jordan" will return to its 10 p.m. Sunday slot for a sixth season Jan. 21.

NBC's midseason schedule does not include the network's midseason comedies "Andy Barker, P.I." and "The Singles Table." One of them is expected to air in the spring in NBC's new two-hour comedy block on Thursday.

As for "America's Got Talent," originally slated to return for a second cycle in the 8 p.m. Sunday slot in January, the reality competition is now expected to air in the summer, where it launched this year.
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