Peacock goes further off script

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STRIKE ZONE: LATEST NEWS AND UPDATES

With its scripted series running out of original episodes because of the writers strike, NBC is adding three more hours of reality programming in January for a schedule that will include at least six hours of unscripted fare.

The network's updated version of "American Gladiators" will launch with a two-hour premiere Jan. 6 before moving into its regular Monday 8 p.m. time slot the next day.

"Gladiators," hosted by Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, will replace freshman dramedy "Chuck," which recently was picked up for a full season but only has a few more episodes in the can because of the strike. "Chuck" is scheduled to air original episodes through Dec. 3. No decision has been made when and where the show's remaining couple of new segments will run.

Quiz show "1 vs. 100" will return Jan. 4 and will air in its old Friday 8 p.m. slot, replacing "Deal or No Deal." ("Deal" will continue to run on Wednesdays.) The game show hosted by Bob Saget will kick off its second season with a "battle of the sexes" premiere episode that will feature one woman competing against 100 men and one man versus 100 women and a contestant winning the show's top prize of $1 million for the first time.

It's going to be a short break for "The Biggest Loser," whose current cycle wraps Dec. 18. The weight loss competition series hosted by Alison Sweeney will return Jan. 1 for a fifth installment featuring couples. The two-hour episodes will continue to air Tuesdays 8 p.m.

"Gladiators" and "1 vs. 100" join "The Celebrity Apprentice," which will premiere Jan. 3 and will run in its original Thursday 9-10 p.m. slot. The 8-9 p.m. hour is expected to feature a mix of NBC's four Thursday comedies.

"We're kicking off the New Year with a bang," NBC's reality chief Craig Plestis said. "With the adrenaline rush of 'Gladiators,' a brand-new twist on 'Biggest Loser,' the first million dollar winner on '1 vs 100' and the wildest boardrooms ever seen on 'Celebrity Apprentice,' NBC has a lot of excitement in store for reality fans in 2008."
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