Boldly declaring that NBC needs to be, um, ''more better,'' network Entertainment President Kevin Reilly announced a fall schedule that sticks with low-rated critical faves (yay, Friday Night Lights!), promises loads of original programming (more Office and Heroes!), and offers four new dramas.
After a season full of fan grumbling about long hiatuses (which were meant to answer the previous season's grumbles about reruns), the Peacock will attempt to calm the masses with a whopping ''30 half-hours'' of The Office (that's five one-hour eps, plus 25 regular installments), 25 episodes of My Name Is Earl, and a 24-episode season of Heroes plus a six-part ''spin-off'' called Heroes: Origins that will introduce a new superhuman character each week.
Heroes will stick with its Monday timeslot, while the Thursday comedy block will play a bit of musical chairs: Earl will still lead off the night, but it'll be followed by 30 Rock, then The Office and Scrubs. Friday Night Lights, meanwhile, will finally move to the spot it was meant for: Friday night.
O.C. creator Josh Schwartz's new comedy-thriller, Chuck about a computer geek who trips into a life of espionage when he happens upon an email that downloads classified government secrets into his brain gets a Wednesday spot sandwiched between The Biggest Loser and Law & Order: SVU. (L&O cousin Criminal Intent, incidentally, will be shipped off to NBC cousin USA.)
The ''reimagined'' Bionic Woman (we'd be more skeptical if it weren't from Battlestar Gallactica's David Eick) and the wrongfully-accused-convict-turned-cop drama Life round out Wednesdays, along with the week's second installment of Deal or No Deal.
At midseason, The Lipstick Jungle based on Candace Bushnell's novel about three powerful female execs looking for, you know, sex... in the... well, in the city tries to grab the post-Housewives crowd at 10 p.m. Sundays.
On deck to take over those inevitable slots vacated by cancellations (Life, maybe?) are a slew of unscripted shows that are at least entertaining in concept: Baby Borrowers, which tasks teens with taking care of kids (while under close supervision, we hope); Singing Bee, which tests contestants on song lyrics; and Age of Love, which has 20-ish gals vying with 40-ish women for the affection of one hunk. There's also World Moves, the least-scintillatingly-titled dance competition show we've ever heard of.
Most promising of all: Jerry Seinfeld's ''Bee Movie'' mini-sodes, inspired by his behind-the-scenes experiences making the upcoming animated feature. Too bad they're only one to two minutes long.
NBC Lineup, Fall 2007
8-9 p.m.: Deal or No Deal
9-10 p.m.: Heroes
10-11 p.m.: Journeyman*: drama starring Kevin McKidd as a man who travels back in time to help people in trouble
8-9 p.m.: The Biggest Loser
9-10 p.m.: Chuck*: a spy dramedy starring Zachary Levi as a regular guy who stumbles upon a second career as a government agent
10-11 p.m.: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
8-9 p.m.: Deal or No Deal
9-10 p.m.: Bionic Woman*: a remake of the 1970s TV series, starring Michelle Ryan as the title character
10-11 p.m.: Life*: a drama about a wrongly imprisoned ex-cop rejoining the force, starring Adam Arkin and Damian Lewis
8-8:30 p.m.: My Name Is Earl
8:30-9 p.m.: 30 Rock
9-9:30 p.m.: The Office
9:30-10 p.m.: Scrubs
10-11 p.m.: ER
8 p.m.: 1 vs 100
8:30 p.m.: The Singing Bee*: game show where contestants have to ''sing in the blanks''
9-10 p.m.: Las Vegas
10-11 p.m.: Friday Night Lights
8-9 p.m.: Dateline NBC
9-11 p.m.: Drama Series Encores
SUNDAY (Fall 2007)
7-8 p.m.: Football Night in America
8-11 p.m.: NBC Sunday Night Football
SUNDAY (January 2008)
7-8 p.m.: Dateline NBC
8-9 p.m.: Law & Order
9-10 p.m.: Medium
10-11 p.m.: Lipstick Jungle*: dramedy adaptation of female-centric novel from Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, starring Lindsay Price, Brooke Shields, and Kim Raver as three successful professional women in New York