NBC's 2009-10 schedule effectively cleaves the TV season in half, meaning that some shows will premiere in the fall and then vanish, while others will not return or premiere until midseason.
That means that recent flourishes of good news for Chuck and Friday Night Lights have been tempered by news likely to disappoint the shows' fans.
How so? Though Chuck was picked up for a third season, the action-comedy's fervent fans will have to wait until midseason (after the Winter Olympics, specifically) to get their fix. NBC boss Ben Silverman said in a Tuesday conference call, however, that Chuck's cast will not be whittled down.
And while NBC recently trumpeted news of Friday Night Lights' two-season renewal, Coach Taylor won't call another play until summer 2010 — at least as far as NBC viewers are concerned. Production partner DirecTV likely will unspool FNL sooner, perhaps as early as October (as it did last year). A DirecTV rep offered no official word on the dishcaster's premiere plans for the acclaimed drama.
Not making the cut for NBC: My Name Is Earl and Medium. EW however reports that Earl may elicit interest from ABC or Fox, while CBS may size up Medium for its Friday lineup, paired with Ghost Whisperer.
Drilling down into day-by-day details....
Heroes (which had "around 19" episodes ordered, says Silverman) is moving to the 8 o'clock slot. The new medical drama Trauma will air at 9, followed by The Jay Leno Show (which will air at 10 every weeknight). Come midseason, Chuck kicks off the night, followed by the new sci-fi drama Day One.
The Biggest Loser will at first weigh in with two-hour outings. At midseason, Loser will downsize to 90 minutes, followed by the new comedy 100 Questions.
Parenthood leads off, followed by Law & Order: SVU. At midseason, the medical drama Mercy replaces Parenthood.
Silverman promises "the funniest night on TV," starting with live editions of SNL Weekend Update Thursday. That will be followed by Parks and Recreation, The Office and the new comedy Community, starring Joel Hale and Chevy Chase. Don't cry "Blerg!" just yet, 30 Rock fans: You'll be lizzing anew just a few weeks into the season, once SNL wraps up its multi-episode run and Community moves to 8.
The landmark 20th season of Law & Order will lead off the night (and serve up at least 16 episodes), followed by the sophomore run of Southland.
Dateline, Trauma/Southland repeats, SVU repeats.
Once the NFL season ends, NBC will air Dateline at 8, the Jerry Seinfeld-produced reality show The Marriage Ref at 9, and The Celebrity Apprentice at 10.