NBC Focuses on 9 p.m. for New Fall Schedule

May 15, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC announced its fall 2006 schedule Monday, keeping its 8 p.m. (ET) and 10 p.m. hour blocks relatively stable in order to focus on new series at the 9 p.m. hour and give itself a boost from its debuting prime time football run on Sundays.

“The heavy lifting in our marketing efforts is going to be nine o’clock,” Kevin Reilly, president of NBC Entertainment said in a 9 a.m. (ET) conference call from New York with reporters. From Monday to Thursday, the network is launching new dramas at 9 p.m. Calling comedy a “challenged genre,” Mr. Reilly kept the same strategy he used this past season by putting only four comedies on the fall schedule.

On Monday, NBC is starting with its returning game show performer “Deal or No Deal” at 8 p.m., followed by NBC Universal Television Studios’ super hero drama “Heroes” and “Medium,” which stays put in its time period.

Tuesday kicks off with the NUTS/Imagine football drama “Friday Night Lights” at 8 p.m., and Sony’s “Kidnapped” at 9p.m. “Law & Order: SVU” remains at 10 p.m.

On Wednesday the third installment of “The Biggest Loser” replaces what has most recently been a third “Deal” time period at 8 p.m. NBC is going with a 9p.m. comedy block of Warner Bros.’ “Twenty Good Years,” and the NUTS/Broadway Video comedy “30 Rock” written by and starring “Saturday Night Live’s” Tina Fey.

Current 9p.m.comedy block “My Name is Earl” and “The Office” moves up an hour to 8 p.m., while Warner Bros.’ “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” debuts at 9 p.m. “ER” stays at 10 p.m. until January, when the NUTS family crime drama “The Black Donnellys” debuts at 10p.m. When “Donnellys” completes its episodes “ER” will return for the remainder of the season, allowing for all originals in the time period for 2006-07.

The network also has several shows as backups. NBC has full season, 22-episode orders for drama “Crossing Jordan” and comedy “Scrubs,” plus a 13 episode order for 20th Century Fox’s “Single’s Table” and a 6 episode order for “Andy Barker, P.I.: from executive producer Conan O’Brien starring Andy Richter.

Sundays in January start with “Dateline” at 7 p.m., the second installment of summer series “America’s Got Talent” at 8 p.m. “The Apprentice” is being held for the midseason for what will become a single season event at 9p.m. NUTS’s drama “Raines” starring Jeff Goldblum premieres at 10 p.m.

Canceled shows include the second season “Joey,” veteran reality series “Fear Factor” and first years “Surface,” “E-Ring” “Conviction” and “Teachers.” “Fear Factor” will run through this summer but won’t return come fall.

NBC’s new fall schedule:

Monday: “Deal or No Deal,” “Heroes,” “Medium”

Tuesday: “Friday Night Lights,” “Kidnapped,” “Law & Order: SVU”

Wednesday: “The Biggest Loser,” “20 Good Years,” “30 Rock,” “Law & Order”

Thursday: “”My Name is Earl,” “The Office,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “ER”

Friday: “Deal or No Deal,” “Las Vegas,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”

Saturday: “Dateline,” drama repeats

Sunday: NFL football

Sunday midseason schedule: “Dateline,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Apprentice,” “Raines”

Shows in backup position: “Crossing Jordan,” “Scrubs,” “Single’s Table,” “Andy Barker, P.I.”

NBC started this development season’s trend of making early series pick ups for 2006-07. In January at the Television Critics Association Winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., the network announced it had picked up “Donnellys.” At its March pre upfront presentation for advertising executives in Los Angeles, the network announced it was picking up “Studio 60” and “Kidnapped,” and handed out copies of the two pilots plus the “Donnelly” pilot.

The former No.1 network in the advertiser friendly adults 18 to 49 ratings demographic, NBC finished in fourth place last season and is on track to finish in fourth place for the 2005-06 season.

NBC’s announcement kicks off the annual network upfront presentations week, where the major broadcasters all make their fall schedules available to potential advertisers. ABC and the debuting MyNetworkTV both make their presentations Tuesday.