Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Return of NBC's Comedy Block

After getting constantly beaten by CBS and ABC on the night NBC used to own, the Peacock is going back to its comedy roots tonight with about as good a lineup as its had since "Friends," "Seinfeld" and "Frasier" appeared on the same night in the 90s.

"My Name Is Earl" keeps the 8 p.m. timeslot, followed by the Emmy-winning "The Office" (8:30 p.m.) What makes tonight's office so special is that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, creators of the originals series in England, have written this one which involves Michael finding out that one of his workers has a prison record.

And at 9 p.m., my favorite sitcom, "Scrubs" returns to the air earlier than expected because of the failure of a lot of other NBC shows. "Scrubs" is never going to be a gigantic ratings winner, but is critically acclaimed and has a dedicated following. It may also have the guest star of the year when Masi Oka of "Heroes" fame returns as a recurring character to the show, but complete with his time/space powers from "Heroes." Only "Scrubs" could pull that off. NBC rounds out the night with "30 Rock," a show that hasn't really lived up to the hype, but critics seem to love in part because of the Emmy-worthy performance of Alec Baldwin as a network executive.

Hopefully, this lineup can return NBC to its former glory, especially since "ER" has gotten a ratings revival this season. However, it's going to be a tough fight with ABC's juggernaut "Grey's Anatomy" (9 p.m.) anchoring a strong lineup that has kept up with CBS' top show, "CSI" (9 p.m.)

NBC will have more changes in the near future. Beginning Jan. 3, the much-loved but ratings-challenged "Friday Night Lights" shifts to Wednesdays at 8 p.m., followed by "Deal or No Deal" and "Medium." Replacing "Lights" will be "Dateline," which begins its Tuesday run on Dec. 26.

Once the NFL season ends on NBC in January, the network brings in the reality series "Grease: You're the One that I Want" beginning Jan. 7, followed by the season debut of "The Apprentice." The procedural "Crossing Jordan" returns at 10 p.m. beginning Jan. 21.

HOT FOR PREACHER: HBO announced this week it will film a TV series version of the DC/Vertigo comic book "Preacher." Creators Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon will serve as co-executive producers of the series, and Mark Steven Johnson ("Daredevil," "Ghost Rider") will write the pilot.

"Preacher" follows a disillusioned priest who merges with the supernatural being Genesis on a mission to find God.

HBO has produced some of the best drama on TV, and is a good outlet for the more adult nature of "Preacher." "Preacher" is one of those comic book projects that has seemed to languish around for years, much like "Watchmen." But the success of shows like "Heroes" and the CW's "Smallville" has helped make these projects more viable.

1 comment:

Zodin2008 said...

Thank goodness for the return of the Comedy Block. I am thrilled. And NO, it won't even come close to challenging CBS and ABC for Ratings, but a solid 3rd place comedic alternative should be satisfying for NBC.

"ER" won't be affected either way because half their ratings now come from "Grey's" fans who just have to have more melodramatic sex story archs in a hospital. The only reason the ancient "ER" is having a ratings renaissance is because of their sister show on ABC. If "Gray's" was still on Sundays, "ER" would be mired in its slump and people would call the hiring of John Stamos to feel like outtakes from the set of "Full House".

As for the Comedy Block, I am thrilled that "Scrubs" is back (and yes, the best comedy of Television, because even the brilliant "Office" can't claim to have never had a bad episode..."Scrubs" has never once had a BAD episode). I do get the feeling this is the last year of "Scrubs" because Zack Braff is erady to mvoe into full time film work though considering his sophomore film "The Last Kiss", tanked critically and at the box office (and was not a critical darling like "Garden State") he may want to hold off for now on leaving his fantastic day job.

Still, if "Scrubs" does end after 6 years, I am just happy there WERE 6 years.

I think I like "30 Rock" better then you, but I put even more weight on Baldwin's role then you do. Alec Baldwin is a master at Comedy and I am glad it didn't take him as long as say Robert De Niro to discover how gifted a comedic actor he could be. Tina Fey is solid, some of the supporting players are fine, but I could do with a lot less Tracy Morgan. I like Jane Krakowski better then the critics apparently.