As the only network with an all-original lineup, ABC easily won Monday in adults 18-49 (2.2/6) and total viewers (7.1 million). Moving to its regular 8-10 PM time slot, The Bachelorette (2.1/6) was down 23% from its premiere behind the Dancing With the Stars performance finale last Monday. At 10 PM, the latest Extreme Makeover spinoff, Weight Loss Edition, got off to a promising start with a 2.3/6 in 18-49, up 28% from the season premiere of True Beauty in the time period last June. Following a Minute to Win It rerun (0.9/3), the NBC season premiere of USA’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent (1.1/3) was up a tenth from last summer’s broadcast debut. At 10 PM, burnoff Law & Order: LA (1.4/4) also was up a tenth from last week. CBS and Fox aired reruns.
Bob Greenblatt is putting his stamp on NBC with his first schedule that introduces 12 new scripted series — six dramas and six comedies — and features some bold moves, including opening a two-hour music reality block against ABC’s Dancing With the Stars on Monday and a female-skewing 8-9 PM comedy block Wednesday against ABC’s comedies as well as X Factor/American Idol.
Additionally, gone is the Thursday 10 PM comedy block as NBC is returning to its tradition of running high-profile character-driven procedurals in the hour once occupied by ER. The network’s remake of Prime Suspect with Maria Bello will now take over the spot. As for the large volume of new shows, it is understandable given the shape NBC is in.
MONDAY REALITY BLOCK: NBC is streamlining its reality franchises, running all series — veterans The Biggest Loser and Celebrity Apprentice and relative newbies The Voice and The Sing-Off — in the same format of two-hour 8-10 PM blocks. Encouraged by the performance of The Voice, whose live shows were recently expanded to two hours, NBC first decided to bring the show back on Mondays in January with two-hour episodes. Then “we thought, let’s begin building that in September with The Sing-Off,” Greenblatt said. As for pitting the singing competitions smack against ABC’s venerable Dancing With the Stars, “The Sing-Off and The Voice are younger-skewing shows, and we think that there is room for both –- an old-skewing dancing show and a young-skewing singing one,” Greenblatt said. Still, the move is risky. While skewing older, Dancing is a very broad show that also attracts large young audiences. NBC is completing a female-oriented Monday night with the new drama Playboy Club at 10 PM, which should do OK against the male-skewing Hawaii Five-0 on CBS.
WEDNESDAY COMEDY BLOCK: Christina Applegate and Hank Azaria have been given a tall order: Their new comedies Up All Night and Free Agents are launching a new NBC comedy block at 8 PM on Wednesdays. “One of the goals was to launch more comedies as that is vital for the long-term growth of the network,” Greenblatt said. With Tuesday’s lineup of The Biggest Loser and Parenthood “stable and working,” the only option was Wednesday. “We’re taking two of our strongest new comedies with our brightest stars and will try to establish a foothold on Wednesday. We’re not fooling ourselves that it will be easy, but we think have the goods, we will put marketing behind it and we will be patient.” One think that I find odd: the young-skewing comedies are followed at 9 PM by Harry’s Law, starring 62-year-old Kathy Bates.
NO 30 ROCK ON IN THE FALL: Last year, NBC’s decision to hold back Amy Poehler’s Parks and Recreation after it had just built great momentum created uproar. This time, it is the show of Poehler’s pal and newly minted best-selling author Tina Fey that is not on the fall schedule. But there are practical reasons behind the decision. I hear that pregnant Fey is not due until August, so she probably won’t be able to start filming until October. So instead of doing a few episodes in November before a holiday hiatus, NBC opted to bring back 30 Rock in midseason with an uninterrupted run of originals.
Dick Wolf has said that, after the creative revamp of Law & Order: Los Angeles, it will more closely resemble the mothership Law & Order series. And now LOLA is doing exactly what L&O famously did – take a big local crime story and do a fictional version of it. An upcoming episode of the spinoff, which is now filming, features a storyline clearly inspired by the recent murder of top Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen. In the episode, entitled Benedict Canyon, a famous Hollywood stylist is murdered in what initially appears a random robbery gone bad. But, while in the case of Chasen the investigation ruled the murder just that – the result of a random robbery – the case on LOLA takes multiple turns and gets more sinister as dark family secrets are revealed.
Meanwhile, eagle-eyed viewers probably noticed that in the new NBC promos for the April 11 return of LOLA, the title of the show is listed as Law & Order: LA. Along with the show, its title is getting a makeover too – it is being shortened from the original Law & Order: Los Angeles.
EXCLUSIVE: Megan Boone has joined the cast of NBC’s new drama series Law & Order: Los Angeles as a regular. She will play a new DDA, tentatively named Lauren Gardner. Originally there was supposed to be one DDA on the series. But when the ADA duties were split in two after Alfred Molina and Terrence Howard signed on to play different ADAs each appearing in roughly half of the episodes, each of them needed his own assistant, thus the need for two DDAs on the show. Regina Hall was recently cast as DDA Eva Price, who assists Molina. Boone will be Howard’s DDA. Also co-starring on the Wolf Films/UMS series are Skeet Ulrich, Corey Stoll and Wanda De Jesus. Boone, repped by Gersh and D/F, most recently played the lead on the CW pilot HMS. That pilot is not dead yet but the actors’ options have expired.
Meanwhile, earlier today ABC announced that Jane Badler, who starred on the original V mini-series, will join the cast of ABC’s V remake as a recurring, playing Diana, mother to Vs leader Anna (Morena Baccarin). Badler will make her debut in the Season 2 premiere.