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Fall Schedule Shuffle Begins

NBC plans triple-header for Friday Night Lights 10/07/2006 08:03:00 AM Eastern

Despite a modest showing in Friday Night Lights' rookie outing, NBC is tentatively planning to back the show with a triple-header on Sunday night, Oct. 22, when its Sunday Night Football franchise takes a scheduled break during the World Series.

NBC will air the first three episodes of the football drama back to back from 8 to 11 p.m. ET, with additional airings on NBC and sister cable networks Bravo and USA.

The Tuesday 8 p.m. premiere of the high school football show, based on the book and movie of the same name, averaged a third-place 2.7 rating/8 share in the adult 18-49 demo in a highly competitive time slot against ABC's red-hot Dancing With the Stars, CBS' steady NCIS and Fox's coverage of a Yankees-Tigers playoff baseball game.

As NBC sought to salvage its new drama, pieces began to fall in place last week on all the networks' schedules.

CBS pulled new drama Smith after three weeks, replacing it with a rerun of CSI Tuesday, Oct. 10 and with encores of Criminal Minds the following two weeks. There has been no decision yet about which series will permanently replace Smith. It had steadily declined, from a 3.6 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 to a 3.3/9 and a 2.8/8 its third week.

The network also is looking to protect underperforming rookie sitcom The Class on Mondays, flipping it with sophomore How I Met Your Mother, which will now lead off the night at 8.

Fox is shaking up its schedule on four nights. The network's latest unscripted show, The Rich List, a quiz show hosted by English TV personality Eamonn Holmes, is slated to air Wednesdays at 9, replacing the relocated Justice.

Fox will flip its Tuesday-night schedule after the World Series, returning House to 9 and pushing Standoff up to lead off the night. Justice shifts to Mondays at 9 out of Prison Break, and Vanished gets banished to Fridays at 8.

Its rookie comedies 'Til Death and Happy Hour will return to the schedule on Thursday nights at 8, leading into The O.C., which returns Nov. 2 after baseball. With the changes, Nanny 911 goes to the bench from its Friday 9 p.m. time slot.

With Kidnapped off to a sluggish start, NBC will wrap up the serialized drama's storyline in the 13 episodes of the original order. Dateline NBC moves from Saturdays into Kidnapped's Wednesday 10 p.m. berth until the episodes run out, and the drama will move to 9 p.m. Saturday starting on Oct. 21.

ABC has decided to postpone the planned Oct. 17 launch of Knights of Prosperity indefinitely and will leave Dancing With the Stars at 90 minutes on Tuesdays.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, ABC will bring rookie comedy Big Day off the bench for a 9 p.m. debut. It was originally scheduled to air Thursdays at 8, but the network decided to pull both it and Notes From the Underbelly off the schedule at the beginning of the season for Ugly Betty. Now it will be used to help boost Help Me Help You.

And The CW, in an effort to pump life back into Everybody Hates Chris, is swapping its Sunday and Monday schedules beginning Oct. 9. The network will re-air each of its comedies' season premieres on its new night and then return to new episodes the following week—in direct competition with sitcoms on CW co-owner CBS.

Beginning Sunday, Oct. 15, CW will use an encore of its returning power America's Top Model to kick off the night at 7, followed by 7th Heaven and rookie drama Runaway.—Additional reporting by Jim Benson

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