Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NBC announces January schedule: Friday Night Lights is back on Fridays; Chuck, Life and Heroes take siestas

Who knew when the day began that I'd have an opportunity to do two different posts with "Friday Night Lights" pictures? In this case, the reason is to say that NBC announced its January schedule -- which is different from its mid-season schedule, which I'll explain after the jump -- and "FNL" has a new/old timeslot. I'm not going to run through the entire schedule, so go look at the official press release if you like and I'll hit you with the relevant bullet points just as soon as I marvel at Ben Silverman's continued career arc...

So, here's what you need to know:

"Friday Night Lights" will be airing Fridays at 9, starting on January 16. Makes sense. NBC seems convinced the show belongs on Fridays because of the title, ratings will almost certainly be depressed because of the DirecTV experiment, and it's a timeslot with low expectations.

• As NBC announced back at its "in-front" schedule thing last April, "Chuck" and "Heroes" will both be sitting out January because they don't repeat well. But instead of being replaced by "American Gladiators" and "Deal or No Deal" as originally planned, the fill-in programming will be a one-month dance competition show called "Superstars of Dance." At 10 in January will be "Momma's Boys," another reality show (produced by Ryan Seacrest). And while the press release makes it clear that "Heroes" and "Chuck" will be back in February, "My Own Worst Enemy" is unsurprisingly left off the list, what with NBC refusing to give it a back nine order and all.

"Life" also gets the no-repeats plan, as it will be replaced in January by reruns of "Law & Order: SVU." (The "L&O"s don't rerun as well as they used to, but they still perform better than "Life" would do in repeats -- or, for that matter, better than it's been doing in first-run.)

• The Thursday schedule remains unchanged, thanks to Silverman's love of "Kath & Kim" -- which, in a total coincidence, comes from Silverman's production company.

• Like "My Own Worst Enemy," "Lipstick Jungle" isn't mentioned anywhere, suggesting that after all the back-and-forth over whether to cancel it, NBC may have finally given up the ghost.

Again, this is just for January. The resting shows will be coming back in February, plus NBC has the Super Bowl this year to use as a launching pad to promote still more shows (though I wouldn't expect to see the Amy Poehler sitcom from "The Office" producers until late March at the earliest).

But since I'll have already seen all the "FNL" eps already (season three wraps on DirecTV two nights before it debuts on NBC), for at least those four weeks I'll only be watching one night of NBC programming for the first time I can remember. Wow. Even the low points of the Littlefield/Sassa/Ancier/Zucker transitions had stuff of interest sprinkled throughout the week.

22 comments:

gc said...

I look at that schedule at not only do I see no sense of audience flow or identity (except on Thursday, even with the horrid-ness of Kath and Kim), but I also cannot understand what sandwiching FNL between those two shows accomplishes. Clearly, Silverman has no love for the show, and only brought it back because of the DirecTV deal and the critical response (ironically, its ratings last year exceed most of NBC's shows this year, which I just think is karma).

I cannot wait to see this man fired. I don't understand what the wait is, but he has single-handedly helped destroy this network, more than the previous executives.

What a shame.

Anonymous said...

There was a time when I would have been a happy man just watching NBC. Now, it it wasn't for Life, I wouldn't watch at all. Nice work fellas.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I can think of is that Ben Silverman is working overtime to get promoted. Oh, sure, the network is in the crapper, but that seemed to work out okay for Jeff Zucker, didn't it?

Anonymous said...

Is that NBC's schedule or UPN?

Do they even have one show worth watching?

Andrew said...

When they come back in February, how about flipping Chuck (to 9) and Heroes (to 8) which gets Chuck out of the same timeslot as HIMYM and House? Please?

Is there anyway that Silverman is still in this job by upfronts?

Nicole said...

I think that networks are missing the boat by not playing reruns. Some people, like my parents, who have a DVR but don't use it obsessively, will watch a show that is new for them when the show they normally watch is on a rerun. For instance, I am trying to get them to watch Chuck, but it is on as the same time as Dancing with the Stars, and so they don't watch Chuck. (They could use their DVR, but that is another story) Heroes is more serialized, but Chuck isn't that complicated and it would pick up new people. Sure the people who tend to watch reruns skew older, but they are also more likely to watch network shows instead of cable, and be more loyal viewers.

Personally, I only watch 4 NBC shows: Chuck, Life, Office and 30 Rock. At one time, I was probably watching something on NBC every day of the week.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Rumor has it that NBC's trying to sign Silverman to a contract extension.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Matt said...

this sked stinks.

i'm guessing Medium will come back and take the Mon at 10 spot alongside Chuck and Heroes. I've always liked that Medium...so i'll be happy to see it again...it prob should've gotten that timeslot to begin with but whatever. (why isn't it back in Jan tho? not enough eps or what?)

Also Alan's right...when i was in high school and even into college there was a bounty of sitcoms and dramas on NBC every night of the week including Saturdays!!! Hell even after college (which would be '04, and '05) there were still various sitcoms and dramas on the various nights (nbc's only reality hit being fear factor at the time)...what i wouldn't give to have scrubs back to back on tuesdays at 9 again...oh wait a minute it will? at abc? huh, screwy. (esp since abc used to beat it with According to Jim and George Lopez)

the upside tho is Law and Order should live long past its 20th season next fall. At least that show has actually come back strong and re-energized thanks to its new cast.

Factor in those Friday Night Lights eps i wasn't able to catch thanks to lack of direct tv...and nbc is up to three nights with me..and isn't it nice how Friday Night Lights will be sandwiched in between CBS's Ghost Whisperer and Numbers???

Seriously tho---three nights a week isn't half bad, but with two of those nights only watching literally 1/3rd of their line-up...and this is from someone who watches TV 24-7 obsessively, i'm someone who would run around the college campus like a madman looking for a tv just so i could catch ED on Wed nights....that's quite a letdown....

Forget Zucker...these might be the worst days since the fabled early 80's Silverman years. (and from what i've read of them they had at least had some weird curios like Pink Lady and Jeff compared to the nothingness they got today.)

Joe said...

Momma's Boys actually premieres in December. Lipstick was always scheduled to end its run Jan. 9 or 16; nothing's changed. And Medium will go Mondays at 10 starting Feb. 2.

Pamela Jaye said...

I'll go back and read the comments in a minute, but first I have just this one question (or two)

When is House moving to Monday?
How long, if at all, are we going to have triple overlap?

I actually haven't had this problem since they moved either Scrubs or Veronica Mars (did they ever move her) out of the Tuesday 9 to 10 trainwreck back whenever (it started November 16, 2004. I know, cause that's when we needed the third tuner card (that we didn't get for two more years))

Pamela Jaye said...

okay, so if Medium comes back, i'll be recording that (i'm still in season 2. storing up) and then what's left? Chuck, 30 Rock, ER...

we didn't even mark off the fall schedule this year (and i missed one ep of Chuck because of that and a Saturday rerun that did not happen)

I'm not watching as many shows this year. i'd sit down with a chart, but I don't have the energy to try to find one that will stay current for more than five minutes. Half my shows air Mondays from 8-9 and I'll get to Boston Legal sooner or later.

Andrew said...

the upside tho is Law and Order should live long past its 20th season next fall. At least that show has actually come back strong and re-energized thanks to its new cast.

ER and Law & Order are probably the biggest beneficiaries of NBC's current pathetic slate. Their ratings are quite mediocre compared to their heydays, but thanks to NBC's miserable performance, they're still among their best performing scripted shows.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is one competent move NBC is making here: they're keeping Heroes out of 24's way, at least until the latter airs its usually explosive intro and then settles into its much lower mid-season tempo.

zodin2008 said...

For you sports fans out there, Ben Silverman is to NBC as Matt Millen was to the Detroit Lions.

In fact, the parallel works well because once NBC pulls its head out of its collective a--es, the network will be left a broken shell of itself and even once Silverman will be gone finally, the network will be left a last placed team.

Like Nicole, I too only watch 30 Rock, Office, Life and Chuck. I watch SNL, too, but not sure if that counts.

Even when they have some quality together on a night like Thursday, they combine it with dreck like "Earl" (which stopped being funny 2 years ago) and the truly awful, "Kath & Kim".

I am at least happy I'll finally be able to watch FNL. Any chance, Alan, you'll do "re-posts" for those that deliberately skipped your DirectTV posts since many of us just have Cable?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Any chance, Alan, you'll do "re-posts" for those that deliberately skipped your DirectTV posts since many of us just have Cable?

That's been the plan all along.

jcpdiesel21 said...

I don't understand why so many networks are afraid of reruns these days. Sure, they don't pull in big numbers, but it's an easy way to get curious viewers to watch a different show. Nowadays it's either watch it the first time it's run, or wait until it's on DVD. That doesn't make any sense to me.

While FNL is sandwiched between two shows that don't relate to it in the slightest, seeming like Ben Silverman hates the show and wants to bury it, I don't really mind the Friday night airtime. It's a nice start-of-the-weekend show; I watched it from the DVR often on Saturday mornings last year.

Mark B said...

I think that networks are missing the boat by not playing reruns. Some people ... will watch a show that is new for them when the show they normally watch is on a rerun.

Nowadays it's either watch it the first time it's run, or wait until it's on DVD. That doesn't make any sense to me.

"Summer reruns": that's how All in the Family and MASH became hits.

when i was in high school and even into college there was a bounty of sitcoms and dramas on NBC every night of the week.

All of the networks programmed Saturday as an actual night, not just as a dumping ground.

ABC had The Love Boat and Fantasy Island for years, and CBS had the aforementioned AITF and MASH, as well as "Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, and that one with the psychologist who stuttered." (Or was it "stammered"?)

Jennifer said...

What the hell is going on in January to kill so much programming?

zoz said...

Mark B - "that one with the psychologist who stammered" was "The Bob Newhart Show" (1972), a show that still makes me laugh after more than thirty years and countless viewings.

Mark B said...

Yes, I know. I was quoting (note my use of quotation marks) from a scene in Newhart:

Peter Scolari's TV exec character liked programming trash, and was discouraged that the public now wanted quality. Newhart reassured him that it goes in cycles, and as the desire for quality came back, so would the desire for trash. As an example of the prior wave of quality, he cited most of the classic CBS Saturday lineup.

Scolari said "you're forgetting the one with the psychologist who stuttered."

Newhart took a beat and answered "s-stammered."

(Hmmm... they were talking about a show ... while being part of a dream ... of one of the characters from the show. Wow.)

pixelwax said...

* No reruns based upon such a small sample size? Sink or swim is killing good TV.

* Not running reruns means I have to watch two shows at once. Sorry, DVR is dead to me. Productivity and happiness each has gone up by once again making TV appointment viewing only.

* A one-month absence is enough to kill relationships for me. And TV shows think I'll wait for them?!

* One of these things do not belong with the others: Silverman, contract, extension. That's all I have to say about that.

Anonymous said...

you know at one time i distinctly heard, Heroes season 3 will be seen uninterrupted, did they mean "except for January"