The Negotiations Renewal Saga: The NBC Schedule Is Revealed

I am working on a blog post that goes into a lot of depth on what exactly the ‘renewals’ of the mothership (which is staying on NBC) and CI (which will be first airing on USA and later airing in repurposed or ‘bounce’ repeats on NBC) really mean…first to post is not always best and frankly there is a lot still unanswered (especially since the actual upfronts have not occurred yet).

But here is the hotter news…NBC’s schedule courtesy of Variety with minimal commenting

Appropriate music ‘Prime Time’ by The Alan Parsons Project’

Variety Article on NBC’s 2007-2008 Line Up

“NBC announces schedule, shows
‘Heroes’ gets second series

While the focus this spring centered on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”spin-off, NBC was quietly developing one of their own – and announced this morning that “Heroes” has spawned a second series of its own.

“Heroes: Origins” will air in “Heroes'” Monday night time slot when that smash hit takes a hiatus. The net has ordered six segs of “Origins,” which, combined with “Heroes,” makes for 30 hours altogether.

“Heroes: Origins” will center on characters not yet seen on the original show. Peacock has also added an interactive element to the show: Viewers will be asked to pick their favorite character from “Origins,” who will then join the cast of the full-blown “Heroes” skein the following year.

The initiative to keep the “Heroes” franchise in originals for as long as possible harkens back to the golden age of TV, when series aired 39 weeks worth of originals, then took a break.

With repeats dipping to record lows on all five nets, those reruns are fast becoming a thing of the past. Besides the 30-seg “Heroes” and “Heroes: Origins” stretch, Peacock is also picking up 30 eps of “The Office” – including five hour-longs (Daily Variety, May 14) – and 25 segs of “My Name is Earl.”

NBC is also waiting until January to launch the 18th season of “Law & Order,” as well as the return of “Medium” – both of which will bow on Sunday nights after “Sunday Night Football” completes its run (allowing the two skeins to remain in originals for the full stretch).

Meanwhile, the net announced that it has also pacted with Peacock alum Jerry Seinfeld and DreamWorks to air 20 “minisodes” featuring the comedian recounting his experience voicing the upcoming ani feature “Bee Movie.” The shorts will air as interstitials on the network.

Peacock’s new 2007-08 season so far includes five new dramas, one new laffer, a new game show and one new reality competish.

“Last year we promised a return to the NBC legacy of quality, and in terms of awards, buzz and critical acclaim, that’s just what we delivered,” NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said. “We’ve got the class and next season we’re ready to add some mass, with new shows that build on the creative accomplishments of last season and are as broad as they are good. Combine the energy of these new programs with the bulked-up strength of our existing NBC hits and you’ve got a lineup that’s poised to take us to the next level.”

Despite speculation that “Heroes” and Thursday staple “ER” might move, net opted for stability and kept those shows in their regular homes. Also, as anticipated, critical fave (and narrowly renewed) drama “Friday Night Lights” will move to high school football night – and Peacock marketers can breathe a sigh of relief (“‘Friday Night Lights,’ finally on Friday,” the blurbmeisters are probably already prepping).

Also, as expected, “The Office” will move into the key Thursday 9 p.m. tentpole slot, with “30 Rock” behind “My Name is Earl” and “Scrubs” behind “The Office.” Because “The Office” will expand to an hour on five ocassions, the Peacock had only ordered 18 segs of “Scrubs.”

Meanwhile, net stayed true to its word, and stuck with mostly reality and unscripted in the 8 p.m. slot, other than Thursday.

Toughest night for the Peacock? Wednesday, where the net will attempt two new shows “Bionic Woman” and “Life.” NBC clearly believes there’s an opening on the night, now that ABC has said that “Lost” won’t return until January.

On Fridays, the net is promoting a “Game Night” at 8 p.m., with “1 vs. 100” airing for six weeks, followed by new gamer “The Singing Bee.”

New shows include the dramas “Journeyman,” “Chuck,” “Bionic Woman” and “Life,” with “Lipstick Jungle” prepped for midseason. Comedy “The IT Crowd” is also on the bench for midseason. New unscripted entires include “The Spelling Bee” and is “World Moves.” Talent competish comes from “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson and follows dance teams competing for a touring contract.”

The surprises here (besides a Heroes spinoff) are

1) The mothership gets the very early 8pm Sunday night time slot (and in the past Wolf always lobbied for 10pm time slots for all 3 L&Os) and

2) CI *specifically* is not listed on the schedule, instead is a 2 hour block from 9-10pm on Saturday scheduled for “drama repeats”. Hopefully, when it is aired by NBC, CI will get the preferred later 10pm slot but I doubt that.

So Dick Wolf gave up some stuff here to get the mothership renewed…interesting. And if you don’t get cable, you can bank on your ‘new episode’ CI fix getting a lot trickier