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May 12, 2003  •  Post A Comment

NBC Taps Three New Dramas, Three New Comedies

NBC will introduce three new dramas and three new comedies on its fall schedule, NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker said this morning in New York.

The network also has extended its ER deal with Warner Bros. for two more seasons, keeping the show on NBC through the 2005-06 TV season.

“The stars are out at NBC,” Mr. Zucker said, referring to the addition of such new NBC cast members as Whoopi Goldberg, John Larroquette, Christine Baranski, Alicia Silverstone and Rob Lowe.

The biggest shakeup to the schedule comes on Tuesday night, with the addition of two new comedies, Whoopi, which Ms. Goldberg leads, and NBC Studios-produced Happy Family, starring Mr. Larroquette and Ms. Baranski. NBC has hired Emmy and Peabody Award-winner Larry Wilmore, who recently departed the staff of Bernie Mac and signed an overall deal with NBC Studios, as showrunner for Carsey-Werner-Mandabach-produced Whoopi. Also joining Tuesday’s schedule is Law & Order: SVU, which is being moved from Friday night at 10 p.m. to Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Mr. Zucker said fixing Tuesday nights has been the network’s biggest priority, and that’s why the network decided to move SVU, which regularly won its Friday time slot. “We believe that SVU heading into its fifth season against dramas about to end their runs was the right call,” Mr. Zucker said. “It’s the strongest drama we could move. Plus, it opened up a time period for us to give Boomtown a shot.”

Boomtown moves from Sunday to Friday at 10 p.m., a time slot Mr. Zucker said has had a lot of success with crime dramas, from SVU dating all the way back to Miami Vice. Vanessa A. Williams will join the drama’s cast in the new season.

New sitcom Coupling won the prime Thursday 9:30 p.m. time slot following Will & Grace. The return of Scrubs that night at 8:30 marks the first time in four years NBC has returned a show in the 8:30 p.m. time slot.

New drama pickups are 20th Century Fox TV/Imagine TV’s Miss/Match, starring Ms. Silverstone, 20th Century Fox TV/Brad Grey TV’s The Lyon’s Den, starring Rob Lowe, and NBC Studios/DreamWorks’ Las Vegas, starring James Caan and Josh Duhamel.

Crossing Jordan was also picked up for another season, but won’t appear until January because star Jill Hennessy is pregnant. Sitcom Tracy Morgan Show, from Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, NBC Studios and SNL Studios, was also given a pickup for a late fall or winter launch. Additionally, NBC also officially picked up Mark Burnett’s latest reality show The Apprentice, which will air sometime in early 2004, Mr. Zucker said.

Mr. Zucker called his Wednesday night lineup, which will consist of Ed, The West Wing and Law & Order, “the most upscale night of television.”

Here’s a night-by-night rundown of NBC’s schedule:

NBC

Monday

8 p.m. Fear Factor9 p.m. Las Vegas10 p.m. Third Watch

Tuesday

8 p.m. Whoopi 8:30 p.m. Happy Family9 p.m. Frasier9:30 p.m. Good Morning, Miami10 p.m. Law & Order: SVU

Wednesday

8 p.m. Ed9 p.m. The West Wing 10 p.m. Law & Order

Thursday

8 p.m. Friends8:30 p.m. Scrubs9 p.m. Will & Grace9:30 p.m. Coupling10 p.m. ER

Friday

8 p.m. Miss/Match9 p.m. Dateline10 p.m. Boomtown

Saturday

Movies

Sunday

7 p.m. Dateline8 p.m. American Dreams9 p.m. Law & Order: Criminal Intent10 p.m. The Lyon’s Den

Schedules Shape Up for CBS and Fox: Schedules are shaping up for CBS and Fox, which present their fall prime-time schedules to advertisers on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

CBS has picked up the sitcoms Two and a Half Men (Warner Bros./Tannenbaum Co./Chuck Lorre), starring Charlie Sheen and The Stones (Warner Bros.) from Max Mutchnick, David Kohan and Jenji Kohan. The Nicole Sullivan project is also a strong contender, sources say. Dramas receiving pickups include: Joan of Arcadia (CBS Productions/Sony); the Jerry Bruckheimer-Meredith Stiehm project about a cold case squad; the JAG spinoff (Paramount); and Street Boss(Viacom Productions) starring Joe Pantoliano.

Fox has given pickups to the sitcoms Arrested Development (20th Century Fox/Imagine); The Ortegas (Pariah/Hat Trick Productions); A Minute With Stan Hooper (Paramount) starring Norm Macdonald; and Luis(20th Century Fox) starring Luis Guzman. Dramas getting the nod include Skin (Warner Bros./Bruckheimer) and True Calling (20th Century Fox/Original) starring Eliza Dushku.

Fox had already given pickups to The O.C. (Warner Bros./Wonderland Productions) and “Wonder Falls” (20th Century Fox/Regency TV). Sitcom Cracking Up (20th Century Fox/Brad Grey) and drama Still Life (20th Century Fox/Original) were given midseason pickups, sources say.

The WB Sets Its Prime-time Schedule: The WB is expected to announce on Tuesday morning the following new schedule. It also is likely to announce mid-season pickups the sitcom Kid Mayor and drama series One Tree Hill.

Monday:8p.m Seventh Heaven9p.m. Everwood

Tuesday:8p.m. Gilmore Girls9p.m. Fearless

Wednesday:8p.m. Smallville9p.m. Angel

Thursday:8p.m. What I Like About You8:30p.m. Run of the House aka Coming Home9p.m. Jamie Kennedy9:30p.m. Steve Harvey

Friday:8p.m. Reba8:30p.m. Like Family 9p.m. Grounded For Life9:30p.m. All About The Andersons

Sunday:7p.m. Smallville – Beginnings (1st year episodes)8p.m. Charmed9p.m. Tarzan and Jane

NBC, Locklear Looking At Midseason: NBC didn’t pick up Heather Locklear’s pilot Once Around the Park, but don’t count her out just yet. Ms. Locklear still has a development deal with the network and NBC execs were mulling the idea of creating a show starring Ms. Locklear as a single mom that could be ready in time for midseason.

Network execs were also high on two sitcom pilots that didn’t get picked up-Come to Papa and Stuck in the Middle With You-which tested high among focus groups. Both still have a shot at a midseason pickup.

CBS Crowned Sunday’s Winner: CBS was victorious last night with a 7.0 rating/19 share in adults 18 to 49 and 18.6 million total viewers. The two-hour finale of Survivor: The Amazon was a key factor in the win with an 8.6/22 in adults 18 to 49 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data.

Survivor drew 18.8 million total viewers as many tuned in to watch 21-year-old swimsuit model Jenna Morasca win the $1 million prize and title of sole survivor.

CBS won the night in adults 18 to 49 with a 7.0/19, followed by Fox (3.9/11), NBC (3.4/9) and ABC (2.5/7).

In total viewers, CBS won with 18.6 million, followed by NBC (9.9 million), Fox (8 million) and ABC (7.4 million).

Daly Renews Contract: Carson Daly, host of MTV’s signature Total Request Live, has signed a new two-year deal with the Viacom music channel. In addition to his duties in the TRL studio overlooking the screaming teenagers who fill Times Square each day to catch a glimpse of their favorite performers, the prolific Mr. Daly also hosts an NBC late-night series and a syndicated Clear Channel radio show. Today he made an appearance at Clear Channel’s first-ever upfront presentation, intended to make a case for diverting advertising dollars from television to radio and outdoor.

Representing Mr. Daly in the MTV deal were Paul Schindler, Larry Shire and Karen Gottlieb of Grubman, Indursky and Schindler LLC.

Breland, Byko Upped at TNS: Turner Network Sales veterans Coleman Breland and Karen Byko have been promoted to jointly oversee the day-to-day sales, marketing and business operations of TNS, the network distribution arm of Turner Broadcasting System.

Mr. Breland becomes executive VP, sales and marketing. Ms. Byko will be executive VP of business operations for TNS.

Both executives will continue to report to Andrew Heller, president domestic distribution, TNS.

ABC News Names Slavin Senior VP: ABC News President David Westin is splitting off some of the areas that have reported to him with the promotion of Paul Slavin to senior VP of the news division.

Mr. Slavin, who joined ABC News in 1979, has been executive producer of World News Tonight since April 2000. He will oversee worldwide news gathering, the affiliate news-gathering service NewsOne, ABC News Radio, ABCNews.com and ABC News
special events.

Individual ABC News shows will not report to Mr. Slavin but will continue to report to an assortment of executives, including Mr. Westin.

The change takes effect immediately, although Mr. Slavin will continue his World News duties while the search for his successor is under way.

Young Broadcasting Reports First-Quarter Loss: Young Broadcasting, a New York-based company that owns 11 TV stations, today reported a narrowed first-quarter loss of $17.7 million, or 90 cents a share, from year-earlier red ink of $297 million, or $15.12 a share, as revenues rose slightly.

The company said the station group saw minimal negative effects from the Iraq war. Revenues rose slightly more than 1 percent to $47.2 million. Broadcast cash flow rose 1 percent to 9.4 million.

The company said nonpolitical advertising revenue climbed 16 percent locally and 26 percent nationally. It also reported that it was able to trim operating expenses at KRON-TV in San Francisco by nearly 8 percent.

Practice, Dragnet Returning: ABC has reupped David E. Kelley’s The Practice and Dick Wolf’s Dragnet this fall.

The future of The Practice has been in question, after the drama suffered a ratings free fall upon being relocated from Sundays at 10 p.m. to Mondays at 9 p.m. midseason. Studio 20th Century Fox struck a new deal with ABC to bring the show back next year. Practice will likely return to its Sunday 10 p.m. time period. Dragnet, which has been airing in the Sunday at 10 slot, is now slated to run Saturday nights at 10 p.m., following the Wonderful World of Disney movie from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Wonderful World franchise is moving to Saturdays from Sundays.

ABC’s new series pickups are expected to include Don’t Ask, the Kevin Hart project, I’m With Her, Karen Sicso, 10-8 and Threat Matrix. Lines of Duty has already been given a 13 episode commitment, but with Practice’s pickup, it is looking to be a midseason show. ABC execs are also high on female undercover cop drama Partners, which is likely to be a midseason pickup. The 20th Century Fox-produced Tom Hertz project is also a midseason contender.

‘Angel’ Renewed: ‘The WB has renewed Angel for a fifth season. Angel will remain Wednesdays at 9 p.m., with Smallville moving from Tuesdays to lead off the night. James Marsters, who played vampire Spike on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer will join the Angel cast next season in the same role.

Also at the WB, new series Fearless will take Smallville’s time slot on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. following Gilmore Girls. The network has also picked up Warner Bros. TV’s All About the Andersons, which is likely to air Fridays at 9:30 p.m. and Sony Pictures TV/Happy Madison’s Kid Mayor, which is slated for midseason.

Monday night will stay the same, with 7th Heaven at 8 p.m., followed by Everwood. Also coming back are What I Like About You and Jamie Kennedy. New shows picked up in addition to All About the Andersons include Warners’ Like Family.

The lineups on Thursday and Friday are expected to consist of half-hours.

‘Raymond ‘ Back for Two More Years: CBS still loves Raymond. CBS struck a deal with HBO Productions Independent Productions and Worldwide Pants to keep the show on the network for two more years. However, series star Ray Romano agreed to a one-year deal so he is only guaranteed to stay through next season, which will be the series’ eighth. Mr. Romano’s deal is said to be somewhere north of $40 million for the year. CBS is believed to be paying about $5 million to $6 million an episode for the show under its new deal. CBS will announce its fall schedule in New York on Wednesday.