NBC has ordered 12 series for next season, with only five premiering this fall. The Peacock will start out the season with only four sitcoms but will add some later in the year.
The network will go to a year-round schedule, launching shows in "waves" throughout the year and letting advertisers know, up front, what shows they will be paying for in the summer. Rather than midseason shows being bench players serving as ad hoc replacements for failed series, they will be first stringers sharing time periods with limited reality series or splitting time with scripted shows.
NBC adopted the strategy because advertisers asked for it, said NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker Monday.
Besides Joey, which advertisers will see Monday in its entirety, and Father of the Pride, both of which NBC already had ordered, NBC has picked up LAX (formerly HUB), Hawaii, and Medical Investigation. LAX joins Monday night, following Las Vegas.
Tuesday at 8 p.m. becomes a reality time slot shared by Average Joe and The Contender, followed by Father of the Pride, Scrubs and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Hawaii, a crime show set in the tropics, premieres on Wednesday at 8 p.m., followed by The West Wing and Law & Order.The West Wing will share its time period with Revelations to keep both shows out of repeats, with NBC likely splitting West Wing up into two seasons and slating Revelations in the middle.
Thursday remains largely intact, kicked off by Joey, followed by Will & Grace, The Apprentice and ER.Dateline will continue on Fridays at 8 p.m., followed by Third Watch an hour earlier and Medical Investigation at 10 p.m.
Saturday remains the home of the weekly movie, and Sunday stays the same with Dateline, American Dreams, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Crossing Jordan. For midseason, NBC has ordered comedies Crazy for You, The Men’s Room, The Office and dramas Medium, Law & Order: Trial by Jury,The Contender (a reality show) and Revelations.
As expected, Law & Order’s Jerry Orbach will move over to Law & Order: Trial by Jury, while Dennis Farina will take over for him in the original Law & Order.
Among the shows being booted to make room for new fall shows were Whoopi!, Happy Family and Ed.
In other announcements, NBC has reupped Carson Daly, host of Last Call with Carson Daly, for three more years, keeping him on the air through September 2007.