Upfront 07

NBC Brings Back 'Law & Order,' 'The Office,' 'Scrubs' and Seinfeld

Orders Five New Dramas; Comedian to Return in Series of 20 'Minisodes'

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- NBC has ordered five new dramas for its fall schedule, as well as one new comedy and several reality series. And in a sign of how the network has changed its approach to prime-time planning, it has also tapped one of its biggest former stars, Jerry Seinfeld, to create 20 "minisodes" around his experiences creating DreamWorks animated film "Bee Movie."
Jerry Seinfeld is returning to NBC in a series of 'minisodes' to plug his upcoming animated film 'Bee Movie.'
Jerry Seinfeld is returning to NBC in a series of 'minisodes' to plug his upcoming animated film 'Bee Movie.' Credit: Chris Haston

Comedy shorts on prime time
Produced by Mr. Seinfeld and DreamWorks, the 20 comedy shorts will give viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Mr. Seinfeld during production of the movie. The "minisodes" will run on NBC's prime-time schedule, as well as on NBC.com, this fall on designated days before and after the Nov. 2 release of the film, to which NBC Universal has exclusive U.S. broadcast and cable network rights.

The new dramas include a rethinking of the Lindsay Wagner cult classic "Bionic Woman," this time starring "East Enders" Michelle Ryan for Wednesday nights, and "Life," the story of a police detective (Damian Lewis from "Band of Brothers") who's given a second chance after serving years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. "Journeyman" will appear on Monday nights, billed as a romantic-mystery from the producers of "The West Wing," followed by Tuesday night's "Chuck," a comedic spy thriller about a computer geek pulled into working for the government after spy secrets are embedded in his brain. For Sunday nights, NBC aims right at ABC's "Desperate Housewives" audience with "Lipstick Jungle" a series starring Brooke Shields based on the Candace Bushnell book.

Another U.K. comedy import
After succeeding with British import "The Office," NBC goes back to the U.K. to find its new comedy for next season, this one based on a British series that focuses on misunderstood techies. "The IT Crowd" will be a midseason entry. NBC's self-described "Comedy Night Done Right" on Thursdays will remain intact, with "My Name is Earl," "30 Rock," "The Office" and "Scrubs." Thirty hal- hour and five-hour -ong episodes of "The Office" have been ordered, as have 25 episodes of "My Name is Earl." The return of "Scrubs" is a bit of a surprise because it had been under scrutiny for the expense of producing its episodes.

"Last year we promised a return to the NBC legacy of quality, and in terms of awards, buzz and critical acclaim, that's just what we delivered," said NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly. "We've got the class and next season we're ready to add some mass, with new shows that build on the creative accomplishments of last season and are as broad as they are good. Combine the energy of these new programs with the bulked-up strength of our existing NBC hits and you've got a lineup that's poised to take us to the next level."

Another initiative from NBC is to combine 30 episodes of its hit "Heroes" with "Heroes: Origins," an spin-off that each week will introduce a new character, of whom one will be chosen by viewers through the "Heroes" website on NBC.com to become a cast regular the following season.

Vegas and football
"Friday Night Lights," which was renewed, will shift to airing on Friday nights at 10 p.m. "Las Vegas" was also renewed. Leading into the casino and football dramas will be "Game Night," a rotation of game shows including "1 vs. 100" (hosted by Bob Saget) for eight weeks, followed by six weeks of the new variety competition series "The Singing Bee," which challenges contestants to accurately sing the lyrics to popular songs.

Also renewed was "Law & Order" for its 18th season. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" will move from NBC to NCB Universal cable network USA, with encore play on NBC. "Bionic Woman" and "Life" will also be re-purposed on cable siblings Sci-Fi Channel and USA Network, respectively, shortly after their original telecasts on NBC.

8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"
9-10 p.m. "Heroes"
10-11 p.m. "Journeyman"*

8-9 p.m. "The Biggest Loser"
9-10 p.m. "Chuck"*
10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"

8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"
9-10 p.m. "Bionic Woman"*
10-11 p.m. "Life"*

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"

8-9 p.m. "1 vs 100"/"The Singing Bee"*
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"*

* Designates new programs
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