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Big NBC Finales Fuel Rivals’ Plans

Apr 26, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The beginning of May sweeps this Thursday also means the end of two long-running NBC series-“Friends” and “Frasier.”
While the two sure-to-be-high-rated finales have left some of the broadcast networks scrambling to come up with creative counterprogramming measures, others will take their chances with their regular programming.
NBC will air an hour-long “Friends” special at 8 p.m. May 6, followed by an hour-long final episode. Main rival CBS is keeping its schedule intact that night, so the actual final episode of “Friends” will go head-to-head with the most-watched show on television, “CSI.” “Survivor: All-Stars” will air against the “Friends” special at 8 p.m.
“Frasier” ends its run Thursday, May 13, with an hour-long episode at 9 p.m., following an hour-long special at 8 p.m. “Frasier” will also air against an original “CSI” episode, but CBS has yet to determine what will air at 8 p.m. Normal time-slot occupant “Survivor” will have aired its finale Sunday, May 9.
On both Thursday nights, NBC’s “ER” and CBS’s “Without a Trace” will continue to duke it out in their regular 10 p.m. time slots.
Aside from UPN, which will keep “WWE SmackDown!” on Thursday nights, the other broadcast networks either are stunting or have yet to decide what to air against the “Friends” and “Frasier” finales. Fox will call upon “Cops” to hold down the fort with the two-hour “Cops: Crimes of Passion Special Edition” May 6 and the two-hour “Cops: 15 Greatest Takedowns” May 13.
ABC hopes to entice viewers against “Friends” May 6 with a special two-hour “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” from 8-10 p.m. “PrimeTime Live” will air at 10 p.m. but end at 10:50 p.m. Viewers will then be taken back to “Home Edition” for a 10-minute live reveal of the finished house. ABC has yet to set its schedule for 8-10 p.m. May 13.
The WB will basically concede the night to “Friends” with four repeats of “Steve Harvey’s Big Time” from 8-10 p.m. and will air the movie “Crazy/Beautiful” against the “Frasier” finale.
NBC may benefit from two big finale events, but it-like the other nets-will have to deal with Fox’s “American Idol” finale Tuesday, May 25 (8-9 p.m.), and Wednesday, May 26 (9-10 p.m.).
NBC will air the movie “Traffic” on Tuesday and a three-hour “Law & Order” marathon on Wednesday against the “Idol” finale. ABC plans to air a bloopers special against “Idol” on Tuesday at 8 p.m., followed by an “According to Jim” repeat at 9 p.m. and “Jim’s” finale at 9:30 p.m. On Wednesday ABC will air an hour-long “My Wife and Kids” season finale and “The Bachelor: After the Final Rose” special. CBS has the season finale of regular-time-slot occupant “Navy NCIS” slated May 25 against “Idol,” followed by Part 2 of “Scott Turow’s Reversible Errors.” On Wednesday, CBS will air the “39th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards” from 8-11 p.m.
UPN’s schedule remains fairly intact, with a two-part season finale of “One on One” airing against the Tuesday “Idol,” followed by two original episodes of “Rock Me Baby.” On Wednesday, UPN will air the “Enterprise” finale at 8 p.m. and a to-be-determined special at 9 p.m. The WB has yet to determine how it will program against the “Idol” finale.