In one of the first real post-upfronts schedule shakeups, NBC has bumped the romantic anthology “Love Bites” from the fall, replacing it with the return of the original brand of “The Apprentice.”
NBC has announced that Thursdays at 10 p.m. will now be the home of “The Apprentice,” which eschews its recent celebrity contestants in favor of 16 contenders impacted in some way by the recession.
“Everyone at the network loves ‘Love Bites,’ but for a number of reasons, it now makes sense to showcase the comedic anthology series a little later in the new season,” states Mitch Metcalf, Executive Vice President, Program Planning & Scheduling, NBC Entertainment. “We’re extremely fortunate to have a potent show such as the new and contemporary version of Donald Trump’s ‘The Apprentice’ ready to step into the slot and keep our Thursday lineup moving forward from a position of strength.”
Included among that “number of reasons” is last week’s exit by Jordana Spiro, who was supposed to have played one of two stable characters in an otherwise shifting anthology, along with “Ugly Betty” veteran Becki Newton. It’s believed that Spiro’s departure was caused by commitments to TBS’ “My Boys,” which hasn’t been renewed for a fifth season, but still has her on a contractual hold.
As per Michael Ausiello at EW, Newton’s pregnancy and an upcoming showrunner shift were also factors in the “Love Bites” delay.
“The Apprentice” premiered in 2004 on NBC and was an immediate sensation. Ratings dipped for subsequent installments, but the franchise got new life from an injection of low-level and mid-level celebrities and has been a reliable Sunday night performer for NBC the past two years. NBC announced plans to resurrected the non-celebrity “Apprentice” earlier this spring, with Donald Trump vowing to assist Americans hurt by the declining job market.
As for “Love Bites,” NBC’s release says only that the show will premiere later in the 2010-11 season.