Nellie Andreeva

Almost two weeks before the official start of the broadcast season, we’ll have the first major scuttlebutt. After aggressively scheduling a first fall edition of The Voice to take on Fox’s The X Factor, which had the fall singing competition space to itself last season, NBC is on the offensive again. The network today announced that it is expanding The Voice premiere from two nights (Monday, Tuesday) to three nights. The third part of The Voice premiere event will air Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 8-9 PM, going against the opening hour of The X Factor second season premiere, which will introduce new judge Britney Spears. She will now go head-to-head with former Mickey Mouse club cohort-turned-pop rival Christina Aguilera. The move is certain to anger The X Factor boss Simon Cowell who is behind NBC’s strongest reality series, America’s Got Talent. Ironically NBC bumped an America’s Got Talent repeat to get a third Voice edition in. Let the network games begin…

UPDATE: Simon Cowell appeared ticked off by NBC’s decision to add another hour of The Voice and had some really harsh words for the network. In an interview with TMZ, he called the scheduling move “a cynical, cold-hearted, unprofessional way of doing business” and “nothing short of dirty tricks.” As for the Aguilera-Spears face-off, “Britney’s not going to appreciate the fact that Christina — who has been a bit of a rival — isn’t allowing Britney to have a night of her own,” he said.

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