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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

NBC's new fall TV lineup

So long, Joey. But it was time to go…
NBC finally pulled the plug on “Joey,” Matt LeBlanc’s awful “Friends” spinoff after two weak seasons, in NBC’s new fall TV lineup announced minutes ago. I can’t find a link, so I’ll cut and paste the whole thing. Sorry for the supersized NBC blog today....

All of last fall’s new series – except for “My Name Is Earl” – were dumped by NBC. “Earl” and “The Office” move up to 8-9 p.m. Thursdays in the fall.
The list of goners include: “Surface,” “E-Ring,” “Three Wishes,” “Inconceivable,” “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” “Will & Grace,” “The West Wing,” “Heist,” “Conviction,” “Teachers” and “The Book of Daniel.”
To return at midseason are “Scrubs” (again) and “The Apprentice” along with Sunday drama “Crossing Jordan,” which loses its time slot to Sunday night NFL football games this fall. “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” moves to 10 p.m. Fridays.

Former Bengal/WLW-AM sportstalk host Cris Collinsworth will be part of Sunday night NFL pregame studio show with Bob Costas. Al Michaels and John Madden will call the game.

The NBC release:


NEW YORK -- May 15, 2006 -- NBC is loading its new 2006-07 primetime schedule with six new dramas and four new comedies that accentuate distinctive talent, quality concepts and cornerstone dramas that will allow the network to play offense -- especially with its new weekend showpiece in "Sunday Night Football."The annual program announcement was made today by Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment, before the advertising community, affiliate stations and press at Radio City Music Hall."

The face of NBC is changing," said Reilly. "We took the first step this season with Thursday hits 'My Name Is Earl' and 'The Office.' Next season we'll add momentum and excitement with the addition of 'Sunday Night Football' and establish a foundation of quality across the week by standing behind shows that each say something about who we are."

Highlights of the Fall 2006-07 season include two previously announced new dramas:
"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (Thursdays, 9-10 p.m. ET), Emmy Award winner Aaron Sorkin's (NBC's "The West Wing") riveting insider's take on the backstage drama of a late-night comedy sketch show, with an all-star cast that includes Matthew Perry ("Friends"), Amanda Peet ("Syriana") and Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing"); and "Kidnapped" (Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m. ET), a high-stakes, serialized thriller about a teenaged boy's kidnapping, starring Jeremy Sisto ("Six Feet Under") and Delroy Lindo ("The Core").

Also new to Fall are the dramas "Friday Night Lights" (Tuesdays, 8-9 p.m. ET) -- inspired by the hit feature film that conveys the passion and sky-high expectations of a small Texas town for its top-ranked football team and stars Kyle Chandler ("King Kong") -- as well as "Heroes" (Mondays, 9-10 p.m. ET), an epic drama centering on the radically changed lives of several ordinary people who find they possess extraordinary powers.

The two new comedies to arrive in the Fall are "20 Good Years" Wednesdays, (9-9:30 p.m. ET) and "30 Rock" (Wednesdays, 9:30-10 p.m. ET). "20 Good Years" is a high-energy romp starring Emmy winner John Lithgow ("3rd Rock from the Sun") and Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development") as mismatched buddies who realize that life doesn't last forever. "30 Rock" stars Emmy winner Tina Fey (NBC's "Saturday Night Live," "Mean Girls") as the head writer of a frenetic late-night television variety show (Fey is also the writer and an executive producer with Lorne Michaels). Alec Baldwin ("The Aviator," The Cooler") and Tracy Morgan (NBC's "Saturday Night Live") also star.

NBC's autumn lineup is buoyed by the return of the National Football League to NBC with "Sunday Night Football" (8-11 p.m. ET), anchored by Al Michaels and John Madden, and preceded by "Football Night in America" (7-8 p.m. ET), network television's first hour-long primetime pre-game show.

Consistent with NBC's ongoing strategy of introducing new series all season long, January will see the arrival of the previously announced drama "The Black Donnellys" -- from Oscar winners Paul Haggis ("Crash") and Bobby Moresco ("Crash"). The series is a gritty saga about four working-class Irish brothers' exploits in organized crime. It will debut on Thursdays (10-11 p.m. ET) and continue with consecutive original episodes. As a result, "ER" will premiere in its 13th season this Fall on Thursdays (10-11 p.m. ET) and will run with virtually continuous original episodes until its cliffhanger in December. The Emmy-winning series will resume after "The Black Donnellys" completes its first season.

After the NFL season concludes in January 2007, NBC will return to entertainment programs as it introduces a new Sunday-night lineup featuring "America's Got Talent" (8-9 p.m. ET) with newly announced host Regis Philbin presiding over a wide-open national talent contest produced by Simon Cowell ("American Idol"). "The Apprentice" (9-10 p.m. ET), with business titan Donald Trump, returns with a new edition based in Los Angeles. The reality series is followed by the new drama "Raines," starring Jeff Goldblum ("The Lost World: Jurassic Park") as an eccentric police detective in an inventive crime drama from Emmy-winning writer-producer Graham Yost ("Band of Brothers") and director-writer-producer Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption").

Also for mid-season, NBC can draw upon such new comedies as "The Singles Table," depicting a group of witty and single strangers who meet, console and befriend each other at a wedding, and "Andy Barker, P.I.," starring Andy Richter, who re-teams with co-writer and executive producer Conan O'Brien (NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien") as an earnest CPA who embraces the unlikely chance to become a private detective.Fan favorites "Crossing Jordan" and "Scrubs" will return to the NBC schedule at some point later in the season.

Additional Fall schedule changes include the move of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" from Sundays (9-10 p.m. ET) -- due to the premiere of "Sunday Night Football" -- to Fridays (10-11 p.m. ET). Likewise, "My Name Is Earl" (8-8:30 p.m. ET) and "The Office" (8:30-9 p.m. ET) each move up one hour on Thursday nights.

Following is NBC's primetime series schedule for Fall 2006-07. Show descriptions follow (all times are Eastern).

NBC PRIMETIME SCHEDULE FOR FALL 2006-07 New programs in CAPS (with the exception of "ER")
MONDAY8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"9-10 p.m. "HEROES"10-11 p.m. "Medium"
TUESDAY8-9 p.m. "FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS"9-10 p.m. KIDNAPPED"10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
WEDNESDAY8-9 p.m. "The Biggest Loser"9-9:30 p.m. "20 GOOD YEARS"9:30-10 p.m. "30 ROCK"10-11 p.m. "Law & Order"
THURSDAY8-8:30 p.m. "My Name Is Earl" (new time)8:30-9 p.m. "The Office" (new time)9-10 p.m. "STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP"10-11 p.m. "ER"/("THE BLACK DONNELLYS" in January 2007)
FRIDAY8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"9-10 p.m. "Las Vegas"10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (new day and time)
SATURDAY8-9 p.m. "Dateline Saturday"9-11 p.m. Drama Series Encores

New Dramas
"STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP" -- Emmy Award-winning executive producer-writer Aaron Sorkin ("The West Wing") and Emmy Award-winning executive producer-director Thomas Schlamme ("The West Wing") return to television with this crackling take on the drama behind the humor of producing a popular, late-night comedy sketch show, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." Sorkin lays bare the backstage politics, romances and delicate balance between creative talent, on-air personalities and network executives in an instant text-messaging world. Prominent are Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet, "Syriana"), a savvy new network entertainment chief who inherits a massive public relations disaster on the series -- even before she starts her first day -- and Matt Albie (Matthew Perry, "Friends") and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford, "The West Wing"), a brilliant creative team that she wants to resurrect the program. Also playing crucial roles are the sketch comedy series stars Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson, "Down with Love"), Simon Stiles (D.L. Hughley, "The Hughleys") and Tom Jeter (Nathan Corddry, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"), their normally cool-headed director, Cal Shanley (Timothy Busfield, "thirtysomething") as well as supreme network honcho Jack Rudolph (Steven Weber, "Wings"). Evan Handler ("Sex and the City") and Carlos Jacott ("Being John Malkovich") also star. The series is a production of Warner Bros. Television. "

HEROES" -- The epic drama "Heroes" chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities. As a total eclipse casts it shadow across the globe, viewers follow a genetics professor (Sendhil Ramamurthy, "Blind Guy Driving") in India whose father's disappearance leads him to uncover a secret theory -- there are people with super powers living among us. A young dreamer (Milo Ventimiglia, "The Bedford Diaries") tries to convince his politician brother (Adrian Pasdar, "Judging Amy") that he can fly. A high school cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere, "Ice Princess") learns that she is totally indestructible. A Las Vegas stripper (Ali Larter, "Final Destination"), struggling to make ends meet to support her young son (Noah Gray-Cabey, "My Wife & Kids"), uncovers that her mirror image has a secret. A prison inmate (Leonard Roberts, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") mysteriously finds himself waking up outside of his cell. A gifted artist (Santiago Cabrera, "Empire"), whose drug addiction is destroying his life and the relationship with his girlfriend (Tawny Cypress, "Third Watch"), can paint the future. A down-on-his-luck beat cop (Greg Grunberg, "Alias") can hear people's thoughts, including the secrets of a captured terrorist. In Japan, a young man (Masi Oka, "Scrubs") develops a way to stop time through sheer will power. Their ultimate destiny is nothing less than saving the world. "Heroes" is executive produced by creator/writer Tim Kring ("Crossing Jordan), Dennis Hammer ("Crossing Jordan") and David Semel ("House"), who also directed the pilot. The drama is from NBC Universal Television Studio.

KIDNAPPED" -- "Kidnapped" is a high-stakes, serialized thriller in which the teenaged son of a wealthy Upper East Side family is kidnapped and everyone is a suspect. The series focuses on the elaborate, triangulated game between the kidnappers, law enforcement, FBI, and the private negotiating team of the "perhaps" less-than-picture-perfect family. The ensemble cast includes Jeremy Sisto ("Six Feet Under"), Delroy Lindo ("The Core"), Emmy winner Dana Delany ("China Beach"), Timothy Hutton ("Kinsey"), Mykelti Williamson ("Boomtown"), Linus Roache ("Batman Begins"), Carmen Ejogo ("Lackawanna Blues"), Will Denton ("Palindromes") and Boris McGiver ("The Pink Panther"). "Kidnapped" is produced by Sony Pictures Television and 25C Productions. David Greenwalt ("Angel"), Jason Smilovic ("Karen Sisco"), Michael Dinner ("Invasion"), Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly are executive producers; Dinner is the director and Smilovic is the writer.

Additional Dramas

"THE BLACK DONNELLYS" -- Academy Award winners Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco ("Crash") are the creators of "The Black Donnellys," a gritty new crime drama series loosely based on Moresco's background. The series follows the exploits of four young, working-class Irish brothers and their involvement in organized crime in New York City. Despite their rough surroundings, the Donnelly brothers basically remain "good kids" -- who will do anything to protect each other against all odds. The ensemble cast includes Jonathan Tucker ("Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), Billy Lush ("Huff"), Thomas Guiry ("Mystic River"), Michael Stahl-David ("Uncle Nino"), Keith Nobbs ("25th Hour"), Olivia Wilde ("The O.C.") and Kirk Acevedo ("Oz"). Haggis, who directed the pilot, and Moresco are the creators, executive producers and co-writers. The series is from NBC Universal Television Studio in association with Blackfriars Bridge Productions.

"RAINES" -- Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Graham Yost ("Band of Brothers," "Boomtown"), acclaimed director-writer-producer Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption," "Green Mile") and star Jeff Goldblum ("The Lost World: Jurassic Park") combine creative forces in this inventive police drama, which blends traditional noir storytelling with humor and intrigue. Eccentric LAPD detective Michael Raines' unique ability to have detailed conversations with deceased crime victims allows him to re-trace their lives leading up to their murder and helps him to solve their cases. Unfortunately, it also causes increasing friction with his boss, Captain Daniel Lewis (Matt Craven, "From the Earth to the Moon"), fellow officers Remy Boyer (Dov Davidoff, "Third Watch") and Sally Lance (Linda Park, "Star Trek: Enterprise"), as well as civilian employee Carolyn (Nicole Sullivan, "MADtv"). Aided by Charlie (Luis Guzman, "Boogie Nights"), his ex-LAPD partner and conscience, Raines struggles to accept his peculiar gift -- or burden -- as it often forces him at times to confront his own past and internal demons. "Raines" is from NBC Universal Television Studio.

New Comedies

"20 GOOD YEARS" -- This high-energy comedy follows two New Yorkers who have finally realized that life doesn't last forever. Mismatched buddies John Mason (Emmy Award winner John Lithgow, "3rd Rock from the Sun"), an impulsive, thrice-divorced surgeon who has been forced into retirement -- and Jeffrey Pyne (Jeffrey Tambor, "Arrested Development"), a widower judge who agonizes over every situation -- are polar opposites in every way. The one thing the duo can agree on is that they only have about 20 good years left and both men vow to live each day as if it were their last -- with no regrets. "20 Good Years" also stars Heather Burns ("Bewitched") as John's pregnant daughter Stella, and Jake Sandvig ("The Story of Us") as Hugh, Jeffrey's un-motivated son. The executive producers are Tom Werner ("Roseanne"), Eric Gold (the upcoming "Outsourced") Jimmy Miller ("Kicking & Screaming") and Marsh McCall ("Modern Men"). Marsh McCall and Michael Leeson ("The Cosby Show") are the writers; Terry Hughes ("Friends") directed the pilot. "20 Good Years" is produced by Warner Bros.Television.

"30 ROCK" -- Emmy Award winner Tina Fey (NBC's "Saturday Night Live," "Mean Girls") writes, executive-produces and stars in this workplace comedy that takes viewers behind the scenes of a frenetic television variety show. Single Liz Lemon (Fey) is living every comedy writer's dream. She's head writer on a demanding, live TV program in New York City whose life is jolted when a brash new network president (Alec Baldwin, "The Aviator," "The Cooler") interferes with her show and bullies Liz into convincing Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan, "Saturday Night Live," "The Longest Yard"), a wild and unpredictable movie star, to join the cast. Now Liz must manage the unmanageable so that the show -- and her dream -- can go on. Also starring are Rachel Dratch ("Saturday Night Live") as Jenne DeCarlo, Scott Adsit ("Kicking and Screaming") as Pete Hornberger and Jack MacBrayer ("Arrested Development") as Kenneth. "30 Rock" is executive-produced by Lorne Michaels, Fey, JoAnn Alfano, Marci Klein and David Miner, and is produced by Broadway Video Television and NBC Universal Television Studio. Additional Comedies "

ANDY BARKER, P.I." -- Andy Richter ("Late Night with Conan O'Brien") re-teams with co-writer and executive producer Conan O'Brien in this comedy as he portrays Andy Barker, an earnest, hard-working CPA who has succeeded at everything -- that is until his new accounting business fails to take off. But when he's mistaken for Lew Staziak (Harve Presnell, "Fargo") -- the retired private detective who used to occupy his office -- Andy embraces the twist of fate and takes the case. Andy's incessantly supportive wife Jen (Amy Farrington, "The New Adventures of Old Christine") isn't sold on this risky new venture, that is, until she notices a sudden boost in Andy's self-confidence. Andy's neighboring merchants -- Simon (Tony Hale, "Arrested Development"), Wally (Marshall Manesh, "Will & Grace") and Jessica (Ion Overman, "The L Word") join him in the dicey investigation. Whether chiding thugs for "renting instead of buying" or being pursued by Sri Lankan gangsters, Andy will prove to be a consummate problem-solver. This comedy series is written by "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" host O'Brien and former head writer Jonathan Groff ("Ed"), who executive-produce the series with "Late Night" executive producer Jeff Ross and David Kissinger. "Andy Barker, P.I." is from NBC Universal Television Studio and Conaco. The pilot was directed by Jason Ensler ("The West Wing").

"THE SINGLES TABLE" - In this comedy, a group of witty and single strangers -- Ivan (John Cho, "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"), Eli (Conor Dubin, "Close to Home"), Adam (Jarrad Paul, "The Shaggy Dog") and Stephanie (Rhea Seehorn, "Modern Men") - meet at a wedding and suddenly realize they have one thing in common, they are each a party of one stuck at a remote singles table. Because of their solo status and tenuous relationships with the bride and groom, they are all destined for Table 18, a far corner of the wedding reception. But through the course of the party, each emotionally vulnerable person questions his or her life's issues and vows to make it better. For richer or poorer, these five kindred spirits will grow to become good friends -- and, in some cases, they may become more than that. Written by Bill Martin ("Grounded for Life," "3rd Rock from the Sun") and Mike Schiff ("Grounded for Life," "3rd Rock from the Sun"), "The Singles Table" is from 20th Century Fox Television. Adam Bernstein ("The Bedford Diaries," "Scrubs") is the director.

Primetime Sports Programming
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL -- The National Football League returns to NBC in this spectacular primetime showcase as Al Michaels will call "NBC Sunday Night Football" games with John Madden, the most honored analyst in television history with 15 Emmy Awards. Coverage also includes sideline and feature reporter Andrea Kremer. NBC's 2006 NFL schedule kicks off on Thursday, September 7, with the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Miami Dolphins. NBC's inaugural Sunday "Football Night in America" game on September 10 features the first meeting of sibling quarterbacks as Eli Manning's New York Giants host Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. This season, the league will also implement for the first time in history primetime "flexible scheduling" for NBC's primetime Sunday games in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17.

"FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA" -- Bob Costas, an 18-time Emmy Award winner, hosts NBC's studio show alongside co-host Cris Collinsworth, a six-time Emmy winner. They are joined by analyst Jerome Bettis, one of the most popular players in recent NFL history, and Sterling Sharpe, considered one of the most opinionated analysts with the NFL Network and ESPN. Peter King, who covers the NFL for Sports Illustrated and is considered one of the country's foremost NFL reporters, serves as a reporter for the studio.


at 5/15/2006 10:51 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Kiese,can you settle the problem between the 2 anonamae about if Vara and Roy are job hunting or are their contracts up and trying to find new jobs

at 5/15/2006 10:59 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juliette Vara: Would have stayed if an anchor position were available. Seeking other opportunities elsewhere where she has the potential to be a full-time anchor. They wanted her to renew, but she declined. Can't say I blame her...I wouldn't want be stuck being a GA reporter forever either.

Bina Roy: From what I understand....was not renewed on her contract.

Take this with a grain of salt, but i have credible sources that told me this.

at 5/15/2006 11:13 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey 7th heaven is returning in the fall.

at 5/15/2006 12:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Football Night in America"? It looks like NBC has gotten something out of its partnership with the NHL, as the title is very close to CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada".

I guess Sharpe'll fill the Don Cherry role.

at 5/15/2006 1:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scrubs deserves a better fate than what it is getting. It deserves a Thursday spot. It is one of the better shows NBC has.

at 5/15/2006 4:42 PM Blogger BMurdock said...

Wow, that was a lot to take in. I agree Scrubs gets screwed again. At least they are on the radar but that show should be getting top billing not mid-season filler status.

I was disappointed to hear Teachers didn't make the cut. That one kinda grew on me. It wasn't great but it was cute fun.

at 5/15/2006 5:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

scrubs is better mid season replacement than cancelled

at 5/15/2006 6:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate to see Heist go, Enjoyed the story line. Will they wrap up the loose ends in a final episode or have we seen it already?

at 5/18/2006 6:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just love how 9 is doing a breathalizer story before 5

at 5/21/2006 5:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

GRRR TO NBC FOR CANCELLING CONVICTION!! You cant start a new show on Friday night at least give it a chance on another night! PLLLEEEAAASSSSSEEEE!

at 7/20/2006 9:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad Surface was cancelled. It was nice to see a show that wasn't reality based and completely different than what every other station has. NBC's line-up for the fall is the same ol', same ol' and I know that I won't be watching NBC at all this season. You guys are hardly the lead station and I guess you want to continue that way! Too bad!

at 8/09/2006 12:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love scrubs. I wish NBC would take a chance and put it on before Earl. That way I could watch all the best in one night. Oh well, one can dream.

at 8/16/2006 10:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What?? Scrubs is the best comedy I've seen in a long time, stop messing with the schedule!!

at 10/02/2007 3:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, what's the big deal with scrubs?

Dopey singing nurses ..... wonderful side-show act...
Does the medical industry basically suck these days?

Is this the appeal?

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