With ‘The Jay Leno Show’ vacating its weeknights-at-10 time slot as of February 12, NBC soon will have five hours of prime-time real estate to fill. And unlikely spy guy Chuck Bartowski is among those who may benefit from the imminent shake-up.
As NBC scrambles to fill the ‘Leno’ void, “I wouldn’t say the bar is lower, but we obviously have less choice at the moment,” NBC Universal chairman Jeff Gaspin told Fancast at the Television Critics Association winter tour. “So ‘Chuck‘ has probably got a better shot [at a Season 4 pickup].”
“We’re big fans of ‘Chuck,’” Gaspin added, citing the show’s three-hour, two-day Season 3 launch (kicking off Sunday at 9/8c) as evidence.
Gaspin said that when all is said and done, the Peacock likely would replace ‘Leno’ with a total of two scripted series, in addition to an hour of reality and more ‘Dateline.’ Here’s a snapshot look at the scripted fare that could fare nicely from the fallout – plus one program that definitely won’t.
‘Friday Night Lights‘: The critical darling’s fourth season, which is currently unspooling on DirecTV, is available to be broadcast on NBC as soon as March 1, Gaspin said. However, a decision has yet to be made on exactly when ‘FNL’ will return. The acclaimed drama series had been penciled in for a summer NBC run.
David Tennant’s ‘Rex Is Not Your Lawyer’: This pilot, starring the former Doctor Who as an ace litigator who starts coaching clients into representing themselves, is being fast-tracked for possible addition to NBC’s lineup – maybe, just maybe, by late spring. Jerry O’Connell (‘Crossing Jordan’) and Abigail Spencer (‘Mad Men’) co-star.
‘Trauma‘: Six unaired episodes of the tepidly received freshman medical-action drama “absolutely make the schedule now,” Gaspin said.
‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent‘: While USA Network has first dibs on Season 9 (premiering this spring), Gaspin said that NBC could, if need be, fill some hours with episodes from Season 8. And speaking of Dick Wolf, NBC has given the ‘L&O’verlord the charge of creating a Los Angeles-based edition.
One show that is not on NBC’s rejiggered radar is ‘Southland.’ Canceled by the Peacock before a single minute of its second season saw the light of day, the gritty cop drama got picked up by TNT, where it will repeat its freshman run followed by six unaired episodes starting this Tuesday. “If we had it now, would it be coming back on? Maybe,” Angela Bromstad, NBCU’s president of entertainment, told the TCA crowd. “But the truth of the matter is it’s probably found a better home on cable.”