Ever pushing creative boundaries, NBC yesterday announced the resurrection of
The Bionic Woman
, extra episodes of existing shows and not one new comedy for fall.
Keeping symmetry, the fourth-rated Peacock will premiere only four new scripted shows in September. The schedule starts four out of five weeknights with an 8 p.m. game or reality show. Thursday remains intact, four sitcoms followed by ER.
Law & Order and Medium return Sundays in January after football. Law & Order: Criminal Intent moves to cable's USA Network, but should bounce back in reruns to NBC. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit keeps its Tuesdays-at-10 slot. Crossing Jordan has crossed over for good, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip turns off its cameras forever.
Besides reintroducing machine-made Jamie Sommers, in the guise of 23-year-old Brit Michelle Ryan (EastEnders), the Peacock plans new dramas about a computer nerd turned secret agent, a cop who rejoins the squad after years in prison, and a time-traveling reporter.
Courtesy of Sex and the City's Candace Bushnell, a dramedy about three New York powerbabes, Lipstick Jungle, premieres Sundays at 10 p.m. after NFL football concludes.
Specializing next season in low-cost, little-known talent, NBC made an exception for that one, casting Brooke Shields and 24's Kim Raver. It also made a big deal of signing Jerry Seinfeld, who will appear in 20 "mini-sodes," glorified promos for his fall theatrical feature, Bee Movie.
That's not to be confused with the rollicking new game show, Singing Bee, Fridays at 8 p.m., a "karaoke showdown" in which contestants are challenged to remember tricky lyrics. Excuse me, while I kiss this guy.
Critics' darlings 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights return in new slots: Rock goes at 8:30 Thursdays (pushing The Office to 9), and high school football show Lights will actually air on Friday nights, at 10 p.m.
Heroes gets a sort-of spin-off, six extra stand-alone hours subtitled Heroes: Origins, introducing new characters. Viewers will vote for their favorite, and he/she will become a regular in 2008-2009. Also shooting beyond the usual 22 episodes: The Office (30) and My Name Is Earl (25). Other "bulked-up" shows may be announced.
Not on the schedule, but "not dead yet," NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said, is Donald Trump's The Apprentice. "Donald's been declared dead before many, many times," Reilly said. "The guy has a certain magic, [and] we want to be in business with him."
The new dramas:
Journeyman (Mon. 10 p.m.) - It's a journalist's dream: San Francisco reporter gets to live in the past. He rights wrongs, but also hangs with a long-lost fiancee, which goes over poorly with present-day wife and kid. Reilly said it tested higher with audiences than any NBC drama in five years.
Chuck (Tue. 9 p.m.) - Geek accidentally downloads scads of government secrets straight to his brain. Then he has to fend off fiendish foes of freedom.
Bionic Woman (Wed. 9 p.m.) - After a wreck, she's patched up, high-tech style. Then it's fiendish-foe-fighting time.
Life (Wed. 10 p.m.) - Fresh from the slammer, redhead Detective Damian Lewis (The Forsyte Saga) gets back on the force. Uh-oh, Robin Weigert (Deadwood's Calamity Jane) is his boss.
NBC's Short List
Law & Order
Law & Order: SVU
Law & Order: Criminal Intent (moves to cable's USA Network)
Friday Night Lights
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip