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NBC's Massive Mid-Season Shuffle Brings Back 'Parks and Rec' in Three-Hour Comedy Block

by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 15th 2010 4:40PM
Hey, NBC, why don't you just rip up your whole schedule?

Well, OK, NBC didn't shift every show on its roster, but it did a whole lot of rearranging in the mid-season schedule it released on Monday.

There's one very large, mustachioed upside to all this: 'Parks and Recreation' finally returns Jan. 20, which is when NBC will debut a three-hour comedy block.

News and notes on NBC's big mid-season shuffle are below, as is a complete early-2011 schedule for the network:

As we reported earlier, NBC's comedy block will stretch to three hours starting Jan. 20. It will consist of 'Community' at 8 PM ET, followed by a new comedy, 'Perfect Couples'; then in the 9PM ET block, 'The Office' and 'Parks and Rec'; '30 Rock,' which NBC just renewed for the 2011-'12 season, airs at 10PM ET; and batting cleanup is 'Outsourced,' which, yes, is still on the air. No, I can't tell you why. I'm just glad that Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson will be back on my TV screen in just over two months.

• A new super-hero flavored drama, 'The Cape,' premieres Sunday, Jan. 9, then will air after 'Chuck' on Mondays. Rounding out the night will be David E. Kelley's new legal drama, 'Harry's Law,' which stars Kathy Bates and premieres Jan. 17.

• Well, that's NBC's Monday schedule for a month or two, anyway. New episodes of 'The Event' will continue to air this fall, but NBC is going to give the sci-fi-ish drama a break until Feb. 28 (because you know what you want to do with a mythology-heavy drama? Take it off the air for a few months so people forget about it. Nice one. That worked out really well for 'FlashFoward'! Sheesh.)

• In any event, as it were, 'The Event' returns Feb. 28 with a two-hour installment, and then, on March 7, 'Parenthood' moves to Mondays.

• In case you weren't confused enough, 'Parenthood' will air in its usual Tuesday slot for four weeks in January.

• 'Chase,' the action drama that can be described in one word (and that word is, as you may have guessed, the show's title), moves to 9PM Tuesdays as of Jan. 12.

• 'Law & Order: Los Angeles' is moving from Wednesdays to Tuesdays.

• On the reality front, 'America's Next Great Restaurant' premieres March 16, 'The Biggest Loser' resumes its Tuesday perch starting Jan. 4, and 'Who Do You Think You Are' arrives on Jan. 21. I know you were missing 'The Marriage Ref' -- weren't we all? It's returning March 6 alongside a new edition of 'The Celebrity Apprentice.'

• Greg Grunberg and Becki Newton are cast members in the mid-season NBC comedy called 'Love Bites,' but that doesn't appear to be anywhere on NBC's schedule for the foreseeable future. The comedy was under consideration for a fall debut but when Newton got pregnant, it was moved to mid-season. It may debut later this spring; in any case, NBC didn't say anything about it today.

• NBC's press release on its scheduling moves is here. After the day-by-day line-ups are descriptions of the new scripted shows from NBC's press site.

8-9PM 'Chuck'
9-10PM 'The Cape.' (Premieres with a two-hour episode on Sun., Jan. 9 at 9PM with new episodes Mon., Jan. 17 at 9PM) // 'The Event' (Returns Feb. 28 at 9-11PM and returns to 9-10PM on March 7)
10-11PM 'Harry's Law' (Premieres Jan. 17) // 'Parenthood' (Starting March 7)

8-10PM 'The Biggest Loser: Couples' (Premieres Jan. 4)
10-11PM 'Parenthood' (Four new episodes begin on Jan. 4 before its hiatus and move to Mondays) // 'Law & Order: Los Angeles' (Returns Feb. 8)

8-9PM 'Minute to Win It' (Premieres Jan. 5)
9-10PM 'Chase' (Beginning Jan. 12) // 'America's Next Great Restaurant'(Premieres March 16)
10-11PM 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' (Returns Jan. 5 with a two-hour episode from 9-11PM ET)

THURSDAYS (Beginning Jan. 20)
8-8:30PM 'Community'
8:30-9PM 'Perfect Couples'
9-9:30PM 'The Office'
9:30-10PM 'Parks & Recreation'
10-10:30PM '30 Rock'
10:30-11PM 'Outsourced'

8-9PM 'Who Do You Think You Are?' (Premieres Jan. 21)
9-11PM 'Dateline NBC' (Beginning Jan. 7)

7-8PM 'Dateline NBC'
8-9PM 'The Marriage Ref' (Premieres March 6)
9-11PM 'The Celebrity Apprentice' (March 6)

Description of 'Harry's Law' from NBC:

Emmy Award–winning writer/producer David E. Kelley ("Boston Legal," "The Practice," "Ally McBeal") weaves his rich storytelling into a new legal dramedy starring Academy Award winner Kathy Bates in the title role -- about how people can embrace the unexpected curveballs that life can throw at them.

Harriet "Harry" Korn (Kathy Bates, "Misery," "About Schmidt") doesn't believe things happen for a reason, but she discovers that they sometimes do. A curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer, Harry is abruptly fired from her blue chip law firm, forcing her to search for a fresh start. She finds it when her world unexpectedly collides, literally, with Malcolm Davies (Aml Ameen, "Kidulthood"), a kind-hearted college student who desperately needs Harry's help with his pending court case, and who, subsequently, goes to work for her.

Harry soon finds her balance, as well as new offices, in an abandoned shoe store just as legal hotshot Adam Branch (Nate Corddry, "The United States of Tara," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") accidentally runs into her with his car. Inspired by Harry's no-nonsense understanding of the law, Adam decides to take leave of his shiny corporate firm to go to work with her. Harry, Adam and Malcolm - unlikely but kindred spirits – along with Harry's shoe-savant assistant, Jenna (Brittany Snow, "Hairspray," "American Dreams"), are now ready for whatever walks through the doors of their unique establishment - "Harriet's Law and Fine Shoes."

"Harry's Law" is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with David E. Kelley Productions and Warner Bros. Television. David E. Kelley ("Boston Legal," "The Practice") and Bill D'Elia ("Boston Legal," "The Practice") serve as executive producers. D'Elia also serves as director.

Description of 'The Cape' from NBC:

"The Cape" is a one-hour drama series starring David Lyons ("ER") as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead. He is forced into hiding, leaving behind his wife Dana (Jennifer Ferrin, "Life on Mars") and son, Trip (Ryan Wynott, "Flash Forward"). Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Vince Faraday becomes "The Cape" – his son's favorite comic book superhero – and takes the law into his own hands.

Rounding out the cast are James Frain ("The Tudors") as billionaire Peter Fleming – The Cape's Nemesis – who moonlights as the twisted killer, Chess; Keith David ("Death at A Funeral") as Max Milani, the ringleader of a circus gang of bank robbers who mentors Vince Faraday and trains him to be The Cape; Summer Glau ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") as Orwell, an investigative blogger who wages war on crime and corruption in Palm City; Dorian Missick ("Six Degrees") as Marty Voyt, a former police detective and friend to Faraday, Martin Klebba ("Pirates of the Caribbean") as Rollo, member and unassuming muscle of the circus gang of bank robbers and Vinnie Jones ("Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels") as Scales, resident thug and cohort of The Cape's nemesis Chess.

"The Cape" is a Universal Media Studios and BermanBraun production from executive producer/creator Tom Wheeler ("Empire"), along with executive producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun (NBC's "Mercy"), John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and Gene Stein ("Accidentally On Purpose").

'Perfect Couples' description from NBC:

"Perfect Couples" depicts the misadventures of three engaging couples as they struggle to find out what makes the ideal relationship -- and how to maintain it through humorous trial-and-error. The series explores their heroic journey in search of the perfect relationship without destroying each other in the process.

Dave (Kyle Howard, "My Boys") and Julia (Christine Woods, "Flash Forward") are the relatable, normal couple, but Julia's hope of remaining the cool, low-maintenance chick is tested by Dave's attempts to keep both his wife and his needy best friend Vance (David Walton, NBC's "100 Questions") equally happy. Vance, along with the neurotic Amy (Mary Elizabeth Ellis, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"), are the high-passion, high-drama couple who bring out the best and worst in each other.

The third duo features Rex (Hayes MacArthur, "She's Out of My League"), a reformed party guy, and, and his wife, Leigh (Olivia Munn, "Attack of the Show"), who considers herself as the group's mother hen. Believing that they are relationship experts, Rex and Leigh have attended every class and seminar on relationships -- and regard themselves as the "perfect couple."

Jon Pollack ("30 Rock") and Scott Silveri ("Friends") are the executive producers while Andy Ackerman ("Seinfeld," "The New Adventures of Old Christine") is the director. The series is produced by Universal Media Studios.

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April 24 2011 at 12:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does this mean that when The Event comes back and Parenthood gets switched that those other shows will be taken off or they only get 8 episodes ? That is so bizarre that's a good way to kill a whole bunch of shows at once. But that is assuming that the new shows are any good. Still makes no sense. Pretty soon "Pulling an NBC" will become a clear definition like "Jumping the shark.

November 16 2010 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Makes my head spin. But we already knew NBC had issues. Jay Leno till you die... self fulfilling prophecy?

While we were watching last night's episode of The Event, the comment coming from beside me on the couch said they must be going off to Rubicon land. Never quite got The Event off the ground did they.

Not a follower of the NBC comedies. I have enjoyed 30 Rock whenever I stumbled upon it, but not something go out of my way to watch.

My only don't miss on Thursday is Fringe. DVR is set for the series, just in case. We like Big Bang Theory too. Too bad it has that crap show as a follow.

November 16 2010 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Haynes

Awesome! I was really worried P&R was gonna get cancelled


November 16 2010 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brendan D

The whole thing with "The Event" makes no sense. Of course, despite Jason Ritter being a halfway decent actor, the only compelling storyline in a show that derives EVERYTHING from storylines was this past episode's "24"-knockoff presidential administration conspiracy. It was particularly heinous to hear the once-great Hal Holbrook talk about the bipartisan ticket of "our party and Martinez's party." What, couldn't the writers simply commit to one guy being a Democrat and the other a Republican?


I'm absolutely head-over-heels for "Community," and "The Office" and "30 Rock" have some major legacy points. What I don't understand is why NBC can't put those three on with "Parks & Rec" as a 2-hour block, then end with "Chuck" in the 10ET slot (talk about your Must-See TV Thursdays!). Of course, that's why the NBC execs get paid the big bucks, I suppose...

Out of curiosity, Mo, is any of the new shows going to be worth even a peak?

November 16 2010 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They could have either got rid of "Celebrity" Apprentice--or chopped it down to an hour and still kept The Event on the schedule. This is going to destroy The Event--just like what happened to Flash Forward.

November 15 2010 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good move, NBC: you're really looking to kill one of your funniest shows, "Community"! As long as "Big Bang Theory" isn't available online, people are going to flock to it because they can only get it first run. This has and will continue to take first run viewership away from "Community"... and you know how much the all-important live watching figure still is. I personally think "Community" is so much funnier and creative than BBT (and I consider myself something of a nerd, too). Never mind the fact that "Community" won the slot when it was moved to 8:30 one week this fall. Put the new show at 8:00 and let it prove itself. Protect "Community" by moving it to 8:30!!!

November 15 2010 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm actually okay with the sked for the most part (wish Outsourced wasn't so LATE!) as I like CHASE so putting it against Criminal Minds does not bother me. CM has gotten too gruesome for my tastes (and I say this as I watch Walking Dead, but zombies are different).

November 15 2010 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Parenthood against Castle and H50???? I don't have three DVR tuners, sorry.

November 15 2010 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mo Ryan

I know, I was being sarcastic about the break for FlashForward. It helped kill that show. Which is why it's odd that NBC is doing the same thing to the Event. Ah well. Maybe NBC figures the Event is pretty much done/dead anyway.

November 15 2010 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mo Ryan's comment

Actually, I didn't see your FlashForward reference the first time lol. My bad.

November 15 2010 at 5:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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