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NBC Revives Thursday Comedy Block

Oct 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

A week after NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker proclaimed that scripted drama and comedy will be phased out of NBC’s 8 p.m. hour, the network announced Wednesday a new two-hour comedy block schedule for Thursday nights that kicks off at 8 p.m.

The slate will return “Scrubs” to Thursday nights to air against ABC’s top-rated “Grey’s Anatomy.”

The block will start Nov. 30 with current time slot occupants “My Name Is Earl” and “The Office” at 8 p.m., followed by “Scrubs” and “30 Rock” (in an hour once pegged for “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”). “ER,” which has benefited recently from the absence of CBS’s “Without a Trace,” will continue at 10 p.m.

The move re-creates the NBC Thursday night sitcom block that was a prime-time staple for two decades. The block replaces the Thursday edition of “Deal or No Deal,” which formerly aired in the 9 p.m. hour. As for the low-rated “Twenty Good Years,” which NBC has paired with “30 Rock” on Wednesday nights, sources said the network may bring back the show midseason to finish its initial order. “Twenty Good Years” and “30 Rock” will be replaced by “The Biggest Loser” moving to the 8 p.m. time period. “Loser” will be replaced by the return of “Medium.”

NBC will precede the new schedule with a “super-sized” night on Nov. 16, featuring 40-minute episodes of “Earl,” “Office” and “30 Rock.” The Thursday between the two dates is Thanksgiving.

“We are excited about the prospect of two hours of top-notch comedy on Thursday nights, which includes the return of ‘Scrubs,'” said Kevin Reilly, president of NBC Entertainment. “We will stay on-brand with the best comedy block on television, which will position us for the future on the night.”