So NBC is going to abandon the first hour of prime time, according to non-visionary chief Jeff Zucker. No more pricey comedies and dramas to fill the 8 pm/ET hour in the future. I guess the handful of shows, mostly comedies, now airing in that hour will migrate elsewhere at some point, whichever ones actually survive. Sounds like surrender to me. Not to mention fewer scheduling options for a lesser range of programming. Be on the lookout for more cheesy game shows and cheaper reality retreads. And what would happen should NBC be lucky enough to stumble across a perfect 8 pm/ET premise like ABC's family-friendly Ugly Betty? This is such a short-sighted blanket philosophy it's as staggering as it is depressing. Was it just two years ago that Friends signed off as one of the highest-rated shows ever, holding down that first half-hour of prime Thursday real estate? How times have changed, and how quickly. And how sad is it for TV's future to see a network simply giving up rather than trying harder? First the networks collectively turned their backs on Saturday night. Friday may not be far behind, at least for those networks that can't get traction on the night. And now ditching an entire hour of prime time throughout the week, just because you're in the doldrums? How pathetic.

[One clarification: It now looks as if the Thursday 8 p.m. hour is still safe for scripted programming, thanks to the unquestioned quality of the current comedy hour.]

Now on to some thoughts about actual TV, from Wednesday night's crowded plate:

It's a good thing I'm not a fashion critic. Project Runway's coronation of Jeffrey Sebelia over Uli Herzner just proves how out of touch I must be. (Or is it the other way around?) While I'm glad Jeffrey got to compete in the Fashion Week finale despite the contrived cliffhanger of Laura Bennett's suspicions that he outsourced work (lesson here: Keep your receipts), even the judges and Heidi Klum made it clear that Uli's designs were exactly the sort of thing today's women might actually want to wear, and Elle editor Nina Garcia confessed the response to Uli in her world was already off the hook. Uli's collection in the finale had more range and flair (including a knockout bathing-suit ensemble) than she'd displayed during most of the competition. Jeffrey's collection, though unified and (so they told us) "innovative," wasn't nearly as much of a wow. But then, I'm not what you'd call fashion forward, and I thought Runway was crazy when they crowned ridiculous Jay McCarroll the winner of the first season. Still love the show, but what an anticlimax.

Speaking of anticlimax, could Dancing With the Stars have dragged out more painfully the hardly-surprise reveal that no one was being eliminated this week? A show this popular isn't going to cut its run short just because a contestant bowed out for personal reasons. (It's just a shame that Sara Evans hadn't been voted off the week earlier, as this bland hoofer deserved to be. Willa Ford, you wuz robbed!) I feel Jerry Springer's pain, though. As hard as it's going to be for him to tackle two new routines next week, imagine what it's going to be like to watch. It's way past time for him to go, though he has been surprisingly charming throughout.

Finally, The Nine was much improved creatively (though not in the ratings) from week two, almost on par with the riveting pilot. Very emotional storylines for traumatized Felicia, pregnant Lizzie and Kathryn. I hope ABC sticks with this one for a while. Not the easiest show to watch, but the payoffs this week were very satisfying. Wish I could say the same for my beloved Lost, which went so far into nonsensical surreality this week that I couldn't help think Twin Peaks from time to time (not always in a good way). So the hatch implosion took Locke's voice, Desmond's clothes, and somehow delivered Mr. Eko to a vicious polar bear that dragged him into a cave without eating him? Whatever. Still a fun and dazzling hour for the most part, but can't we just get back to the beach and our old friends soon?

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Edited by Matt Roush at {1}