With its entertainment lineup largely underperforming this fall, NBC is making wholesale changes for midseason with moves on every night, including a rarely-seen on broadcast TV 10-11 PM comedy block for an all-comedy Thursday. Additionally, the network  has given one of those Thursday comedies, 30 Rock, an early renewal for next season, the Emmy winning series’ sixth. It also represents a vote of confidence for the series, which is entering uncharted territory with a Thursday 10 PM slot midseason assignment. In addition to a 3-hour comedy block on Thursdays, which will include Community at 8 PM, followed by new series Perfect Couples, The Office, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock and Outsourced, NBC’s other major scheduling moves for midseason include shifting Parenthood to Mondays, Law & Order: Los Angeles to Tuesdays, Chase to Wednesdays and Law & Order: SVU to 10 PM on Wednesday. “The goal for our mid-season schedule was to keep us in original programming throughout the season and launch several promising new shows, said NBC’s EVP planning and scheduling Mitch Metcalf. “We were looking to add more comedy to our schedule and we believe the best way to do so is to expand our already successful Thursday night.” When NBC gave new Thursday comedy Outsourced a full-season order last month, it became clear that the network wouldn’t be able to contain its half-hours within its established Thursday 8-10 PM block as it also had Parks & Recreation and new entries Perfect Couples and Friends with Benefits on deck for midseason. The network brass explored the possibility of opening a second comedy night but reportedly felt it was not the right time to do so. And, unless it was to go on an assault against CBS’ Monday and ABC’s Wednesday comedy blocks the way CBS did against NBC on Thursday this fall or to bump established Tuesday performer The Biggest Loser, NBC had no real opening for a second comedy night. As for its new all-comedy Thursday, the network already flirted with the idea last spring when it launched comedy reality series The Marriage Ref at 10 PM and in May when it scheduled hourlong comedy Love Bites in the hour. (After a production start delay, the anthology series is now in production for a late spring launch). But airing half-hour comedies at 10 PM on broadcast TV has been very rare and has not fared well so far. However, a 10 PM comedy block is very common on cable TV with such series as HBO’s Entourage and Comedy Central’s South Park.

Regarding NBC’s other scheduling moves, after launching well and dominating the Tuesday 10 PM slot last spring, Parenthood has struggled there this fall. NBC is looking for it to do better as part of its more upscale-skewing Monday lineup. Plus, the show draws almost half of its rating from DVR viewing, so a scheduling move won’t affect it dramatically. NBC also is restoring the tradition for the Law & Order brand to air at 10 PM, while keeping the two series on adjacent nights for cross-promotion. While airing NCIS and NCIS: LA has worked well for CBS, airing L&O:SVU and LOLA together has not done well. If ABC and CBS don’t change their Tuesday 10 PM picks, LOLA, a cop/legal drama, will face one of each: CBS’ The Good Wife and ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7. By moving struggling freshman drama Chase from Mondays 10 PM after The Event to Wednesdays 9 PM following reality series Minute to Win It, NBC hopes to give the US marshal show wider audience. And Marriage Ref, which was under consideration to return in its Thursday 10 PM slot, will now be part of an all-unscripted Sunday night, leading into Celebrity Apprentice. Also staying scripted-free is Friday night where a second cycle of Lisa Kudrow’s Who Do You Think You Are? will step in for Cheryl Hines’ poorly rated School Pride, which has little chance of continuing. NBC’s midseason drama series Harry’s Law and The Cape will both launch on Monday, while the network is yet to schedule midseason comedies Friends with Benefits and The Paul Reiser Show. Here is NBC’s midseason schedule (new shows in CAPS):


8-9 p.m. – “Chuck”

9-10 p.m. – “THE CAPE” will premiere with a two-hour episode on Sunday, January 9 (9-11 p.m.).  New episodes start in its regular time period on January 17 (9-10 p.m.)

10-11 p.m. – “HARRY’S LAW’ (beginning January 17)

9-10 p.m. – “The Event” (returns on February 28, 9-11 p.m.; resumes in its regular time slot March 7)

10-11 p.m. — “Parenthood” (debuts in this slot March 7 with all originals)


8-10 p.m. — “The Biggest Loser: Couples” (beginning January 4)

10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood” (beginning January 4 for four episodes)

10-11 p.m. — “Law & Order: Los Angeles” (beginning February 8)


8-9 p.m. — “Minute to Win It” (beginning January 5)

9-10 p.m. –“Chase” (beginning January 12)

10-11 p.m. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (originals beginning January 5 with two-hour episode, 9-11 p.m. ET)

9-10 p.m. – “AMERICA’S NEXT GREAT RESTAURANT” (beginning March 16)

THURSDAYS (all beginning January 20)

8-8:30 p.m. – “Community”

8:30-9 p.m. – “PERFECT COUPLES”

9-9:30 p.m. – “The Office”

9:30-10 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation”

10-10:30 p.m. – “30 Rock”

10:30-11 p.m. – “Outsourced”


8-9 p.m. — “Who Do You Think You Are?” (beginning January 21)

9-11 p.m. – “Dateline NBC” (beginning January 7)


7-8 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”

8-9 p.m. – “The Marriage Ref” (beginning March 6)

9-11 p.m. – “The Celebrity Apprentice” (beginning March 6)