NBC renews 'Office' and '30 Rock'

Net says 'Heroes' has 'very secure' future

NBC announced early renewals for a trio of returning shows while providing reassurance that weakened powerhouse "Heroes" has a "very secure" future.

Solid performers "The Office," "30 Rock" and "The Biggest Loser" will be back for another season, while the final verdict on underperformer "Lipstick Jungle" still isn't in. NBC also set premiere dates for its untitled Amy Poehler comedy (8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9, the current "Kath & Kim" slot) and confirmed John Wells' new police drama "Southland" will take over for "ER" at Thursdays at 10 p.m.  April 9, while "Kings" will air at 8 p.m. Sundays starting March 15. New cooking competition series "The Chopping Block" will premiere at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, filling the "Knight Rider" slot.

New primetime entertainment president Angela Bromstad said the previously announced additional three "ER" episodes were ordered to ensure Wells had enough time to get "Southland" ready before taking over the Thursday slot and that "Kings" showrunner Michael Green was fine with the switch.

"We feel so strongly about both of theses shows (that) instead of waiting until fall, we wanted to launch both of those shows this spring," she said when asked about schedule shift.

The news was part of a flurry of announcements made by the broadcast network at its Television Critics Assn. press tour day. The network's executive session introduced critics to Bromstad and executive vp alternative programming Paul Telegdy, both of whom recently stepped into their roles as part of an executive shakeup at NBC.

Bromstad assured that despite Jay Leno taking over NBC's 10 p.m. spot that the network would not cut back on scripted development. The network is looking for six dramas and four comedies this fall and hopes to have long-awaited action series "The Philanthropist" on the air as early as this spring.

"We have to have the quality and have to have the ratings," Bromstad said. "We have to strive for that. But we won't replace shows that are loved by fans and are good quality shows just to put another show on."

Veteran "Heroes," which has gone from one of the network's top-rated programs to approaching worrisome ratings territory during the past few months, was given a vote of confidence.

" 'Heroes' is very secure," she says. "We have a great relationship with Tim Kring. ... What's important is we never lose sight of being responsible in production."

However, "Kath & Kim" and "Knight Rider" are "shows that may or may not come back" she said.