NBC is making a scheduling change for fall, with a non-celebrity edition of The Apprentice replacing new anthology dramedy series Love Bites. Production on Love Bites is being pushed by a few weeks to accommodate two new developments: the pregnancy of star Becki Newton and the decision by creator/executive producer Cindy Chupack to step down from day-to-day showrunner duties because of personal matters. Chupack will continue on the series as a writer and is actively working on upcoming scripts. The show’s producers are still figuring out whether Newton’s pregnancy will be incorporated on the show. In the pilot, her character is a virgin.
The anthology dramedy suffered a casting setback recently when its other star, Jordana Spiro, had to be released because of her commitment to TBS’ My Boys. Spiro will exit after 3 episodes but may return for guest appearances. There are no immediate plans for her to be replaced, though Love Bites is adding another regular, Constance Zimmer, who will play Greg Grunberg’s wife. Grunberg was upped to a regular after his memorable guest-starring turn in the pilot where his wife was played by Pamela Adlon. The show’s regular cast now includes Newton, Grunberg and Zimmer.
The tentative new scheduling plan for Love Bites is to launch the show in January in its old Thursdays 10PM slot, following the conclusion of The Apprentice, but the network might put it on it sooner in another time period.
“Love Bites is incredibly important to me, and it’s been gratifying that NBC feels the same,” Chupack said in a statement. “Launching an anthology series, which breaks the form in so many ways, is a huge undertaking, and I strongly feel that I can be most helpful not showrunning, but writing. I have full faith in my fellow Executive Producers (Marc Buckland, and Working Title TV’s Shelley McCrory, Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan), and we have a top-notch, dream writing staff. It’s just become clear that for several reasons, some of them personal, this change (and a little more time) is what we need to launch this show properly.”
The switch marks The Apprentice‘s return to Thursday night where the show was once NBC’s 9PM tentpole series. What NBC calls internally “the civilian edition of The Apprentice” is well into production on the upcoming season, which features contestants who have lost their jobs in the recession. The next Celebrity Apprentice will launch in March.