NBC sets ambitious summer programming schedule

03.12.09 9 years ago

Miranda Penn Turin/FOX

On Thursday (March 12), NBC announced its programming plans for the summer, an ambitious slate that includes three new scripted programs, a trio of unscripted originals, two miniseries events and, of course, the premiere of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.”

Because of its staggered scheduling, NBC’s regular season shows will stretch beyond the traditional Nielsen-set end-of-season. “Medium” will have its finale on June 1, which will also be first night of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” will close its season the following night, with the “Law & Order” mothership wrapping things up on Wednesday, June 3. Viewers concerned about the lack of Dick Wolf procedurals on NBC’s schedule need only wait until Monday, June 8, when USA’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” featuring new series co-star Jeff Goldblum, begins airing encores in the 9 p.m. hour.

Emphasizing the network’s commitment to year-round programming, NBC has saved the premieres of scripted dramas “The Philanthrophist,” “The Listener” and “Merlin” for the summer. 

“The Listener” will premiere first, launching on Thursday, June 4 in the 10 p.m. hour. The series stars Craig Olejnik as a 25-year-old telepathic paramedic, improving the help with a mentor played by Colm Feore (“24”).

“Merlin,” the latest reimagining of the King Arthur legend, features Colin Morgan as Merlin, Bradley James as Prince Arthur, Anthony Head as King Uther and Angel Coulby as Gwen. The 13-part BBC original will premiere with  two-hour episodes on Sunday, June 21 and Sunday, June 28, before settling into its regular 8 p.m. Sunday slot on July 5.

The globe-trotting drama “The Philanthropist” will premiere on Wednesday, June 24. The series stars James Purefoy as a the title character, a vigilante philanthropist who fights his inner demons by trying to do the right thing. The series also stars Jesse L. Martin, Neve Campbell, Lindy Booth, Michael K. Williams (Omar!!!) and Krista Allen.

On the unscripted front, NBC will attempt to resurrect “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!,” a wildly popular international format which tanked in its 2003 ABC incarnation. Featuring celebrities to-be-announced, the series will debut as a two-hour television event on Monday, June 1 and will be stripped over four weeks in June. Yes, that means it will air every night, Monday through Thursday in the 8 p.m. hour, leading up to a finale on Wednesday, June 24.

“Great American Road Trip,” in which seven families from different backgrounds get to travel the country, competing in challenges and attempting to avoid elimination, will premiere on July 1 and will air on Wednesdays in the 8 p.m. hour for eight weeks.

Finally, the weirdly popular “America’s Got Talent,” with new host Nick Cannon, will premiere its fourth season over two nights on Tuesday, June 23 (9-10 p.m. ET) and Wednesday, June 24 (9-10 p.m. ET).

If that isn’t enough, NBC will air “The Meteor” on Sunday, June 7 and Sunday, June 14 from 9-11 p.m. ET, with “The Storm” on Sunday, July 19 and Sunday, July 26 in similar two-hour blocks. In “Meteor,” a cast including Christopher Lloyd, Marla Sokoloff, Billy Campbell and Jason Alexander try to save the world from a meteor. In “The Storm,” a cast including Treat Williams, James Van Der Beek and David James Elliott try to save the world from a storm.

“This summer will feature more original scripted programming than ever before, along with our No. 1 hit ‘America’s Got Talent’ and two new buzz-worthy reality shows,” says Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. “In addition, we’ll give Conan the best launch possible during his premiere week by slotting the season finales of some of our best dramas at 10 p.m.” 

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