IF ONE GROUP of "Heroes" is good, more "Heroes" should be even better.
Particularly if they're joined by a "Bionic Woman," a digital-brained techie named "Chuck" and "Journeyman," a time-traveling newspaper reporter played by "Rome's" Kevin McKidd.
Plus a little bit (and I mean a very little bit) of Jerry Seinfeld.
That's the latest thinking at NBC, as the fourth-place network yesterday unveiled a 2007-08 schedule with just six new scripted shows, five of them dramas.
"Loading up on product is not necessarily a recipe for success," NBC entertainment president Kevin Reilly told reporters yesterday, a few hours before presenting a fall menu to advertisers in New York that's heavy on returning shows more popular with TV critics than with Nielsen families.
It's also heavy on "Heroes." The show, NBC's one instant ratings success last fall, has lost viewers in recent weeks after returning from a lengthy hiatus. It's a mistake Reilly doesn't intend to see repeated.
He's ordered a whopping 30 episodes of "Heroes," six of which will be spin-off episodes, "Origins," focusing on new characters outside the main story but who may interact from time to time with cast regulars.
At some point, the "Origins" folks may get the opportunity to join the main story through an audience vote, Reilly said.
"There will not be a lot of repeats, there will not be a long hiatus, and I think it will just be pedal to the metal all year," he said.
Look for fewer repeats, too, of "The Office," which received an order for 30 half-hour episodes (though that count includes five hourlong episodes) and "My Name Is Earl," which will have 25 originals, as opposed to the typical order of 22.
In addition, "The Office" will move to 9 p.m. Thursdays, pushing "Scrubs" a half-hour later and "30 Rock" a half-hour earlier, a shift Reilly hopes will give the Tina Fey comedy an opportunity to grow out of range of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy."
The new schedule also puts an end to speculation that this would be "Law & Order's" final season on network television.
The franchise's "mother ship . . . is probably the best utility player we have," said Reilly.
"L&O" will be moving to 8 p.m. Sundays for its 18th season, which won't begin until after football ends in January. It will be followed there by the returning "Medium," while "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" remains on the fall schedule at 10 p.m. Tuesdays.
"L&O: Criminal Intent," meanwhile, is moving its first-run episodes to NBC sibling USA, with reruns to air on NBC, flipping the current arrangement.
In another schedule change, after first trying Tuesdays and Wednesdays, NBC is sending "Friday Night Lights" to, yes, Friday nights, where Reilly hopes it will find a safer harbor from the midweek competition (and help people remember when it's on).
So what about Seinfeld?
He'll be back on NBC in what the network's calling "Bee Movie" "minisodes," and I'm calling "commercials."
"The 20 comedy shorts will give viewers a glimpse at Seinfeld's behind-the-scenes antics during production of the movie," which premieres in November, according to NBC.
Other returning shows include: "Deal or No Deal" (8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays); "The Biggest Loser" (8 p.m. Tuesdays); "ER" (still 10 p.m. Thursdays); "1 vs. 100" (8 p.m. Fridays); "Las Vegas" (9 p.m. Fridays); "Dateline NBC" (8 p.m. Saturdays); and, of course, "Sunday Night Football."
Outta here: "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," "Crossing Jordan," "Raines," "Wedding Crashers," "Twenty Good Years" and "Kidnapped."
Not dead yet: "The Apprentice," for which Reilly said he hasn't yet found a good spot: "Donald's been declared dead before . . . The guy has a certain magic. We love him and we want to stay in business with him."
New scripted shows include: "Journeyman" (10 p.m. Mondays) starring "Rome's" dour centurion, McKidd, as a San Francisco newspaper reporter who becomes a time traveler and is able to change people's lives; "Chuck" (9 p.m. Tuesdays), from "The O.C.'s" Josh Schwartz and McG, about a computer tech who accidentally downloads the classified contents of an entire server directly into his brain and ends up as a secret agent; "Bionic Woman" (9 p.m. Wednesdays), an update of that '70s show you may have heard of, this one starring British actress Michelle Ryan ("EastEnders"); "Life" (10 p.m. Wednesdays), a drama about a detective (Damian Lewis) who returns to the police force after serving years in prison for a crime he didn't commit; "Lipstick Jungle" (10 p.m. Sundays, starting in January), a dramedy based on a novel by "Sex and the City" author Candace Bushnell that stars Brooke Shields, "24's" Kim Raver and Lindsay Price ("Beverly Hills, 90210"); and "The IT Crowd" (midseason), a comedy about tech-support people based on a British show of the same name. *
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