December 2, 2005

TV News: Joey Gets Scrubbed, NBC Revamps Thursday Night

NBC is gearing up to revamp its Thursday night lineup. It was announced that there will be shows leaving, moving, and returning as they attempt to reclaim Thursday nights, and fill other holes in the schedule. Upon hearing the news, I could not be happier, sort of.....

First up is Joey. The low-rated Friends spin-off is being taken off the schedule. Now, my, admittedly quick, web scouring has not turned up anything saying that it has been canceled, just "removed" or "taken off" the schedule. Some sources have been quoted as saying that it could be back on in March, but in a different time slot. Perhaps on Tuesdays.

I can't say that this surprises me, but this show has been mediocre to poor at best. I stopped watching it earlier this year, it was the weak link in a crowded time slot as I also watch Alias, Smallville, and the occasional episode of Everybody Hates Chris (which I should watch more of, it is fantastic). Those shows, plus Survivor, make this a tough time slot to get an audience in, and when you have been so disappointing you aren't going to get the viewers. I will admit that I have an affinity for the Joey character, but I also think he was one of the least likely to be able to carry a show alone. It is kind of like a Kramer show, great character, but it is a supporting role and one not suited for the lead. Maybe if and when it returns on another night it will find an audience.

The revamped Thursday lineup will have Will & Grace moving into the 8:00 slot that was evacuated by Joey. This is a move that has no effect on me, as I could really care less for this show. Actually, I am surprised that it has lasted as long as it has, I recall critics panning it when it first debuted.

Following that will be debuting sitcom Four Kings starring Seth Green. This show centers on 4 longtime friends who share an apartment and their crazy antics. Hmmm, where have I seen something like this before? I like Green, so I may give it a shot, but the commercials don't really impress me all that much.

Next in the 9-10:00 slots are two shows changing nights. First, at 9:00 is the new hit My Name is Earl. I admit, I have been sucked in by the charms of Jason Lee's Earl and Ethan Suplee's Randy, as they try to right Earl's past wrongs. This show has not yet failed to elicit a chuckle from me. It is moving from its current Tuesday at 9:00 slot to help draw viewer's to NBC's once mighty Thursday comedy lineup. Not sure if it will work, but I, for one, will be tuning in (or taping) it. Taking up residence in the 9:30 will be Earl tag along The Office. I am glad to see this staying on the air. I am not sure what the ratings have been like for this series, but I love it. It is smart, clever, and a unique vision on the sitcom landscape. Not to mention a worthy adaptation of the British series.

Rounding out NBC's "Must See TV" lineup is 10:00 mainstay ER. There is no shuffling of this show, even though it is not the ratings behemoth it once was, it still draws in a good number of people as it soldiers on through numerous cast changes.

Now, with Earl and Office leaving their Tuesday home, what will be filling the void? If you read the title, you probably already have an idea. Go back and read it, I'll give you a minute............. OK, back? Do you know what the show is? It is none other than the returning Scrubs! I could not be happier. I was so disappointed when it was announced after last season that it would be used as a mid-season replacement. I thought it was doing well in the ratings, critics were recognizing it, it finally got some big noms at the Emmy awards. You would think NBC would want to capitalize on this. As this season has worn on, I started to wonder if it would be returning at all. My hopes rose when I heard that it was going into production and that Zach Braff's girlfriend, Mandy Moore, would be appearing in a couple of episodes. That meant it would be returning, or at least I still hoped.

Initially, NBC will air two new episodes back to back at 9:00 and 9:30. I see this as a likely spot for a future Joey return. Perhaps a new night, with new surroundings would do it so good, alleviating the pressure of trying to keep above water on that crowded Thursday night.

Leading into Scrubs will be the returning Fear Factor, which debuts on its new night this Tuesday 12/6 at 8:00. Can't say that this return excites me, but it does have its die hard fans.

The new Tuesday lineup debuts 1/3/06 and the completely revamped Thursday night debuts on 1/5/06.

You can read about this and other NBC news at


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