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NBC's Fall Schedule: My Take

NBC's Fall Schedule: My Take


NBC started off this year's Upfronts more than a month early this afternoon, kicking off the frenzy of Fall TV announcements with its no-frills presentation (which took the form of either a PowerPoint presentation or a conference call, depending on where you were). While the format of the announcements wasn't thrilling, the content will give us much to speculate about over the next few months. Here are some of my initial thoughts:

  • I think Save Friday Night Lights said this one best: Touchdown! The Friday Night Lights/DirecTV deal had been sounding like a sure thing for a while, but it's nice to know for sure that the Panthers will live to play another season. There are more details over here about how the partnership will work, but the short version is that episodes will start airing on DirecTV in October and then be broadcast at 9 p.m. on Fridays on NBC starting in February. I wonder, though, if people will actually wait for the NBC episodes or if BitTorrent and YouTube will be the real beneficiaries here.
  • The spinoff of The Office is . . . mysterious, to say the least. NBC issued a separate press release about the show, but it's quite vague: "Audiences will follow another comic journey, complete with new faces and new locations, but with the same unique sense of humor and brand of quality from Daniels and his creative team." NBC entertainment head Ben Silverman said they were keeping a lid on things because Office fans are so rabid; when asked if characters from the main show would appear on the spinoff, he responded: "There's a huge ensemble on The Office right now . . . " Come on, man. A title? A setting? Anything?
  • More on that: Back in October, most of you thought a spinoff would be a bad idea. Now that it's happening, how do you feel? What's your dream setting for the show? Have you changed your mind about which characters it should focus on? Best suggestion I've heard so far: the warehouse.
  • Also, it's worth mentioning that the big headline from last Spring's NBC Upfront was a Heroes spinoff, and, well, we know how that turned out.
  • My gal Liberty is wondering what you think of NBC's plan to put special "Weekend Update" segments on the air on Thursdays leading up to the Presidential election in November. There certainly should be enough political mockery to go around by then.

Some other thoughts, plus the full night-by-night schedule, so just read more.

  • Most of the new shows NBC announced had been rumored for a while — we first heard about Kath and Kim way back at the TV critics' press tour last summer, and once news of a project starring Christian Slater was out there, how could it not become a series? So, no big surprises there.
  • Knight Rider: the series? Do you think this has any chance of succeeding? Oh, and if you were waiting on the edge of your seat to find out: Yes, Val Kilmer will return as the voice of KITT.
  • Silverman tried so hard to give us the warm fuzzies: NBC shows might involve losers or bad guys, but they're all just people who really want to do the right thing! Gotta give the guy props for finding a connection between Ian McShane as an evil king and the weight-loss mavens of The Biggest Loser.
  • I can't tell you how many times Silverman used the words "ER" and "last season" in close proximity to each other. Get it? The show will be back — but only one more time. We promise!
  • There's officially no Scrubs on NBC's schedule, so I have to assume that means ABC gets it, for sure.

Your thoughts? Here's a full schedule of the shows for both Fall 2008 and Winter 2009 — though, as always, this information is subject to change. New show descriptions follow below:

Fall 2008
MONDAY
8 p.m. Chuck
9 p.m. Heroes
10 p.m. My Own Worst Enemy (new)

TUESDAY
8 p.m. The Biggest Loser: Families
9:30 p.m. Kath and Kim (new)
10 p.m. Law & Order: SVU

WEDNESDAY
8 p.m. Knight Rider (new)
9 p.m. Deal or No Deal
10 p.m. Lipstick Jungle

THURSDAY
8 p.m. My Name is Earl
8:30 p.m. 30 Rock
9 p.m. The Office
9:30 p.m. The Office or SNL Thursday Night Live (new)
10 p.m. ER

FRIDAY
8 p.m. Crusoe (new)
9 p.m. Deal or No Deal
10 p.m. Life

SATURDAY
8 p.m. Dateline
9 p.m. Knight Rider repeats
10 p.m. Law & Order: SVU repeats

SUNDAY
NFL football

Winter 2009
MONDAY
8 p.m. Chuck
9 p.m. Heroes
10 p.m. The Philanthropist (new)

TUESDAY
8 p.m. The Biggest Loser: Couples
9:30 p.m. Kath and Kim (new)
10 p.m. Law & Order: SVU

WEDNESDAY
8 p.m. Knight Rider (new)
9 p.m. Deal or No Deal
10 p.m. Law & Order

THURSDAY
8 p.m. My Name is Earl
8:30 p.m. 30 Rock
9 p.m. The Office
9:30 p.m. The Office spinoff
10 p.m. ER / The Celebrity Apprentice

FRIDAY
8 p.m. Deal or No Deal
9 p.m. Friday Night Lights
10 p.m. Life

SATURDAY
8 p.m. Dateline
9 p.m. Law & Order: SVU repeats
10 p.m. Law & Order repeats

SUNDAY
8 p.m. specials / Merlin (new)
9 p.m. specials / Medium
10 p.m. specials / Kings (new)

New show descriptions (all from NBC's press release):

My Own Worst Enemy — Henry Spivey (Christian Slater, Bobby) is a middle-class efficiency expert living a humdrum life in the suburbs with a wife, two kids, a dog, and a minivan. Edward Albright is an operative who speaks 13 languages, runs a four-minute mile, and is trained to kill with his teeth. Henry and Edward are polar opposites who share only one thing in common — the same body. When the carefully constructed wall between them breaks down, Henry and Edward are thrust into unfamiliar territory where each man is dangerously out of his element. My Own Worst Enemy explores the duality of a man who is literally pitted against himself. And it raises the question: who can you trust when you can't trust yourself?

Knight Rider — On the heels of NBC's hit movie, the iconic 1980s television classic comes roaring back to life as an updated drama series showcasing the new customized KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) Ford Mustang. As the sequel resumes, KITT is absolutely the coolest car ever created: its supercomputer capable of hacking almost any system; its weapons systems efficient; and its body — thanks to its creator's work and nanotechnology — is capable of actually shifting shape and color. It is the ultimate car -- and someone will be willing to do anything to obtain it. Knight Rider stars Justin Bruening, Deanna Russo, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, and Bruce Davison.

Crusoe — Based on the legendary novel by Daniel Defoe, this is the tale of Robinson Crusoe. A young man leaves his true love to embark on an adventure — only to end up shipwrecked on a remote tropical island for 28 years, completely detached from the life he once knew. His desire to return to his wife and his strong and unlikely friendship with Friday are the only things that keep him sane. While stranded, Crusoe encounters enemies and braves the elements. Equal parts MacGyver, Castaway, and Pirates of the Caribbean, this series is an inspirational tale of survival rife with action and comedy.

KingsKings is an inspiring exploration of the timeless David vs. Goliath struggle. The show is set in a modern metropolis under siege where the fighting has gone on for too long and cost far too many lives. When David Shepherd (Christopher Egan, Resident Evil: Extinction), a brave young soldier, rescues the king's (Golden Globe winner Ian McShane, Deadwood) son from enemy territory, he sets events in motion that will finally bring peace. Suddenly, David is thrust into the limelight, earning the affections of women — including the king's daughter. When he's promoted to captain, he becomes the reluctant poster boy for hope. But for David, the line between his allies and enemies will blur as the power players in the kingdom go to great lengths to see him fall. From the director (Francis Lawrence) of the blockbuster movie I Am Legend comes the ultimate story of David vs. Goliath, and there's no telling who will win.

MerlinMerlin brings to life a new legend for a modern audience. Merlin is an exciting, hour-long fantasy series set in the mythic city of Camelot — but inspired by 21st Century storytelling. Before Merlin (Colin Morgan, Doctor Who) and Arthur (Bradley James, Lewis) became legends, they were ambitious young men looking for adventure, hoping to live up to their family's expectations, discovering love and finding their own true destiny, making mistakes along the way. The innovative, action-packed drama has cross-generational appeal and paints a picture of Merlin and Arthur's early life that audiences have never witnessed before. Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Richard Wilson (A Passage to India), Angel Coulby (Magicians) and Katie McGrath (The Tudors) also star.

The Philanthropist — This one-hour drama is about a rebel with a cause. Teddy Rist loves women, money and power. After the tragic death of his only child, Teddy has an awakening and becomes the world's first vigilante philanthropist — a renegade billionaire who uses his wealth, connections and power to help people in need. He'll do anything to achieve his goals — bargain with the self-righteous, trade with the nefarious and even tell the truth. Instead of spending $25,000 a plate at a fundraiser, he's dodging bullets in third-world countries to hand-deliver vaccine. It's a global adventure that will take viewers to the ends of the Earth and will inspire them as well.

Kath and Kim — They're the most dysfunctional duo in suburbia. Kath Day (Molly Shannon, NBC's Saturday Night Live) is the mom, a foxy, 40-something divorce who finally has time for herself and her valiant search for love. Kim Day (Selma Blair, Hellboy," "Hellboy II" is the daughter, a self-absorbed princess recently separated from her husband who finds consolation in stuffing her face. When Kim decides to move back home, Kath reluctantly agrees — but to Kim's chagrin, Kath is not about to cater to her every whim as she has in the past. Based on the most successful comedy in Australia of the same name, Kath and Kim are two brassy women who prefer the finer things in life like acrylic nails, big hair and faux diamond chips.

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