[03/26/04 - 12:00 AM]
NBC: Majority of Current Schedule to Return
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Fans of "Scrubs," "Crossing Jordan" and "Third Watch" can rest easy: all three series are set to return next season.

Unlike previous seasons, NBC isn't keeping much of a lid on its 2004-05 schedule as the network revealed its future plans to the advertising community during a pre-upfront meeting at Culver City Studios yesterday.

NBC entertainment chief Jeff Zucker said he expects to add, at best, just four hours of new programming next season - an hour and a half on Tuesday, an hour on Wednesday, a half-hour on Thursday and an hour on Friday - meaning the overwhelming majority of its current schedule will return.

More specifically, Zucker noted that Mondays ("Fear Factor," "Las Vegas," "Average Joe"), Saturdays (movies and various drama/comedy repeats) and Sundays ("Dateline NBC," "American Dreams," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Crossing Jordan") will remain intact while "ER," "The Apprentice," "Scrubs," "The West Wing," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: S.V.U." and "Third Watch" will stay put in their current slots.

"We are in a much stronger position than we were just two months ago... All of a sudden our [development] needs are much less than we thought they'd be," Zucker said, pointing to its midseason success stories "The Apprentice," "Crossing Jordan" and "Average Joe." "No one's had a stronger second half of the season than us."

The announcement leaves only a few question marks for NBC's fall schedule, which will be one of its most stable slates in recent memory.

Here's a breakdown of all of yesterday's developments:

-- NBC will launch the brunt of its 2004-05 schedule beginning Monday, August 29, the day after the network's coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics wraps. The Peacock's Monday through Thursday slates will bow that week, with its Friday through Sunday lineups starting shortly afterwards due to Labor Day weekend and the Republican National Convention.

-- The network is leaning towards slotting spin-off "Joey" in "Friends'" current Thursday, 8:00/7:00c time period. With "The Apprentice" and "ER" already guaranteed the 9:00/8:00c and 10:00/9:00c hours respectively, the only other option would be to have "Will & Grace" lead off the night.

-- Speaking of "The Apprentice," NBC confirmed it's in for two cycles next season of 16 episodes each. The show's producers say they plan to expect more than a million applications for the second season. Fellow Mark Burnett-produced reality series "The Contender" is also expected to be sandwiched between "Apprentice" cycles on Thursday nights beginning in January.

-- The network also revealed plans for "Plain Jane," a spin-off of current hit "Average Joe." NBC Studios and "Joe's" Andrew Glassman and Stuart Krasnow are behind the project, which will flip the concept as "plain janes" attempt to woo a handsome hunk.

-- In addition to "Third Watch" staying put on Fridays at 10:00/9:00c, the network's current two-hour "Dateline NBC" block on the night may stay put as well should the circumstances merit.

-- "Trial by Jury," the fourth "Law & Order" series, is now looking more likely for a midseason start as NBC and Universal Network Television are still hammering out a deal for the series. Zucker noted that "Jury" will be a court-based drama, described as a contemporary take on "Perry Mason." Walon Green is set to pen the pilot script for the series, which will track a criminal case from arraignment to the jury's verdict, taking an omniscient point of view of the legal process.

-- "Whoopi" and "Happy Family" appear to be the only remaining "bubble" shows that have any chance of making NBC's fall schedule as with just four hours to fill and series orders already out to "Joey," DreamWorks' CGI-animated comedy "Father of the Pride" and the limited series "Revelations," the remaining real estate is rather thin.

-- Overall, NBC has five drama pilots and 14 sitcom pilots in the hunt for its fall schedule. Peacock executives were quick to note they're hoping to add several comedies that appeal to a young male audience, including "The Friendlys" and "The Men's Room."

To review, here's a look at NBC's preliminary fall 2004 schedule:

8:00/7:00c - "Fear Factor"
9:00/8:00c - "Las Vegas"
10:00/9:00c - "Average Joe"

8:00/7:00c - (Open Slot)
8:30/7:30c - (Open Slot)
9:00/8:00c - (Open Slot)
9:30/8:30c - "Scrubs"
10:00/9:00c - "Law & Order: S.V.U."

8:00/7:00c - (Open Slot)
9:00/8:00c - "The West Wing"
10:00/9:00c - "Law & Order"

8:00/7:00c - "Joey"*
8:30/7:30c - "Will & Grace"*
9:00/8:00c - "The Apprentice"
10:00/9:00c - "ER"

8:00/7:00c - "Dateline NBC"/(Open Slot)
9:00/8:00c - "Dateline NBC"/(Open Slot)
10:00/9:00c - "Third Watch"

8:00/7:00c - (Various Programming)
9:00/8:00c - (Various Programming)
10:00/9:00c - (Various Programming)

7:00/6:00c - "Dateline NBC"
8:00/7:00c - "American Dreams"
9:00/8:00c - "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"
10:00/9:00c - "Crossing Jordan"

* unofficial

NBC formally announces its fall schedule on Monday, May 17.

  [march 2004]  

· ER (NBC)

[03/05/15 - 02:44 PM]
Little Women Take a Bite Out of the Big Apple with Lifetime(R)'s "Little Women: NY" Premiering on March 25
Viewers first got a glimpse of New York's Lila Call, when she made waves with the "Little Women: LA" cast and now they'll get to see her in action on her home turf with her group of east coast besties.

[03/05/15 - 01:13 PM]
Samantha Bee Heading to TBS - Former "Daily Show" Correspondent Signs Up to Host Comedy Series
The new show, which is in the early stages of development, is being planned as a platform for Bee to apply her smart and satirical point of view to current and relevant issues.

[03/05/15 - 01:08 PM]
Great American Country Renews Three Popular Series
The network announced the renewal of season two of "Flippin' RVs" (Justin and Anna Scribner), season three of "Junk Gypsies" (Amie Sikes and Jolie Sikes) and season four of "Celebrity Motor Homes" (Blair Herter).

[03/05/15 - 11:58 AM]
Nickelodeon's "Kids' Choice Awards" Host Nick Jonas, Platinum Selling Rapper Iggy Azalea with Grammy-Winner Jennifer Hudson, And Award Winning Pop-Rock Band 5 Seconds of Summer to Perform at This Year's Show
"We are so excited to be nominated and perform at the Kids' Choice Awards! It's our first time at the show and it's going to be awesome!" said 5 Seconds of Summer.

[03/05/15 - 11:53 AM]
Starz Announces Elisabeth Shue and Jason Schwartzman to Guest Star on "Blunt Talk"
Shue and Schwartzman will both appear as possible guests for Walter Blunt's (Patrick Stewart) nightly cable news show "Blunt Talk."

[03/05/15 - 11:41 AM]
#BieberRoast Roasters to Include Hannibal Buress, Chris D'Elia, Natasha Leggero, Ludacris, Shaq, Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart and More!
This year's dais will also feature some of today's hottest comedians including Hannibal Buress, Chris D'Elia, Natasha Leggero and Jeffrey Ross.

[03/05/15 - 11:31 AM]
NBC's "Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon" Returns with Brand New Episodes
Special half-hour episodes will air Saturday, March 7 and April 11 at 8:00/7:00c.

[03/05/15 - 11:17 AM]
Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers Deliver Decisive February Sweep Wins
NBC spins the late-night numbers for the February sweeps period.

[03/05/15 - 10:59 AM]
"Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief," Highlighting Stories of Former Church of Scientology Members, Who Detail Their Lives as Followers, Debuts March 29 on HBO
Alex Gibney profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology, whose most prominent adherents include A-list Hollywood celebrities, shining a light on how the church cultivates true believers, detailing their experiences and what they are willing to do in the name of religion.

[03/05/15 - 10:35 AM]
AMC Continues the "Mad Men" Celebration with the Release of a Series of Tributes
Bryan Cranston, David O. Russell and Gayle King, among others, reminisce about the pilot, memorable moments and the end of the "Mad Men" era.

[03/05/15 - 10:06 AM]
Cast and Creators of NBC's Hit Comedy "Undateable" Up the Fun at SXSW with Comedy Showcase and Panel
Co-creator and executive producer Bill Lawrence will lead the comedy tour with series stars Chris D'Elia, Brent Morin, Ron Funches and Rick Glassman.

[03/05/15 - 10:06 AM]
Four Conference Champions Punch NCAA Tickets on FOX Sports 1
FOX Sports 1, for the second consecutive year, is the exclusive home for the entire BIG EAST Men's Basketball Tournament from Madison Square Garden in New York City, including on-site studio coverage throughout the event.

[03/05/15 - 10:00 AM]
"ACM Presents: Superstar Duets!," A New Entertainment Special Featuring an Unprecedented Lineup of Country Music Legends Performng Alongside This Year's ACM Award Nominees and Chart-Topping Artists, To Be Broadcast Friday, May 15 on CBS
Dierks Bentley, Clint Black, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Sam Hunt, Miranda Lambert, Patty Loveless, Ronnie Milsap, Darius Rucker, Dwight Yoakam, Alabama, Eli Young Band and Florida Georgia Line among those slated to appear.

[03/05/15 - 09:33 AM]
Series Premiere of "CSI: Cyber" Posts Significant Gains in the Time Period and Versus Year Ago
CBS spins the numbers for Wednesday, March 4.

[03/05/15 - 08:46 AM]
Smithsonian Channel(TM) Investigates the Real Story That Inspired CBS' Limited Event Series "The Dovekeepers"
The new one-hour special, "Siege of Masada," premiering Friday, March 27 at 9:00/8:00c, examines the evidence behind this powerful legend.