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Network Makeover

NBC keeps foundation, but needs to remodel 5/22/2005 08:00:00 PM Eastern

As the virtually undisputed leader of the network pack for years, NBC is accustomed to leading off the annual advertiser upfront presentations, as it did last week. Only this time, network brass Jeff Zucker and Kevin Reilly find themselves in the uncomfortable position of finishing the season in fourth place in NBC's exulted 18-49 demo.

Going first put the network at a big disadvantage, not knowing what the other guys would do—and could force it to alter its fall lineup over the next few weeks. But Thursday is staying as is, for now.

Its biggest moves include switching The West Wing from Wednesdays at 9 to Sundays at 8, in what may be its last season, and bringing back midseason entry The Office, which has gotten more critical praise than viewer eyeballs so far.

What's Next:

Fathom (drama, Mondays at 8): Aliens from the sea? Sci-fi series made the buzz list among the upfront attendees. From NBC Universal.

My Name is Earl (comedy, Tuesdays, 9): This single-camera show earned the most enthusiastic applause of any of NBC's new sitcoms. The promo clip reflected a funny, intelligently written, well-acted comedy about a dull-witted guy who is trying not to act like a Jerry Springer guest. From 20th Century Fox

The Apprentice: Martha Stewart (unscripted, Wednesdays at 8): If she does what The Donald did, it would be a good thing for NBC. From Mark Burnett

E-Ring (drama, Wednesdays, 9): The Pentagon-based series boasts Jerry Bruckheimer as executive producer, director-producer Taylor Hackford, and stars Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper. One of the most talked-about shows of the new season. With e-Ring goes head-to-head against ABC's Lost.

Three Wishes (unscripted, Fridays at 8): Singer Amy Grant tleads a team of experts to a small town to grant wishes to deserving people.

Inconceivable (drama, Fridays at 10): Drama about doctors at a family fertility clinic. Will advertisers buy it? Produced by NBC Universal and Glassman Media.

Four Kings (comedy, midseason): Lifelong friends on the cusp of adulthood. By the creators of Will & Grace. A preview drew some healthy upfront laughs. From Warner Bros.

Thick and Thin (comedy, midseason): Overweight woman (Jessica Capshaw) loses weight but gets no respect. From NBC Universal and Broadway Video.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8:00 Fathom The Biggest Loser The Apprentice: Martha Stewart Joey Three Wishes NBC Saturday Night Movie The West Wing
8:30 Will & Grace
9:00 Las Vegas My Name is Earl E-Ring The Apprentice Dateline NBC Law & Order: Criminal Intent
9:30 The Office
10:00 Medium Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Law & Order ER Inconceivable Crossing Jordan
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