NBC is bringing sci fi back to broadcast TV — big time. As the network kicked off its presentations at the TCA press tour today, network entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman said the fall schedule would be shifted around to surround breakout hit "Heroes" with two other fantasy shows: "Chuck," about a 20-something slacker who gets spy secrets implanted into his brain, and "Journeyman," which focuses on a reporter who finds himself traveling through time.
When NBC first announced its schedule in May, "Deal or No Deal" was slotted for the 8 p.m. spot that now will be occupied by "Chuck." But Silverman said he expects these three shows will make a strong lineup because they are built on character, not just fantasy. "Chuck has a bit of the quarter-life [crisis] going on," Silverman said. With his terrible job at a big-box electronics store and his woes with women, "he could just as easily be appearing in a Judd Apatow movie." "Journeyman," on the other hand, "is basically a love story with time travel underneath it," Silverman said.
I'm still a little surprised that "Bionic Woman" isn't in that lineup, but I see what Silverman's saying about the character-driven elements of these three shows. When I recently watched the "Chuck" pilot, I wouldn't have necessarily thought to call it sci fi; it was more about Chuck and his goofy friends. Plus, I could see "Chuck" drawing a young audience (thanks to "OC" creator Josh Schwartz's involvement), with "Journeyman" skewing older and "Heroes" somewhere in between. Silverman said we can expect to see a lot of advertising for the three shows during NBC's Sunday night football programming come fall.