NBC Moves 'Donnellys' Up a Week


NBC is so excited about its midseason drama "The Black Donnellys" that it can't wait to get the show on the air. So, it won't.

The network is moving the "Donnellys" premiere up one week, to 10 p.m. ET Monday, Feb. 26. Consequently the timeslot's usual occupant, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," will begin its hiatus a week earlier than originally planned.

The move will accomplish two things (at least NBC hopes). First, it will give "The Black Donnellys" an extra week with an original episode of "Heroes" as its lead-in, which in theory will help bring an audience to the new show. "Heroes" is building to a March 5 cliffhanger, after which it will take several weeks off before finishing the season with five episodes in April and May.

Additionally, premiering the heavily promoted "Donnellys" during February sweeps could provide a bit of a ratings boost. "Studio 60" has been scuffling in the ratings of late, drawing only about 7 million same-day viewers for the past couple of episodes (its season average, which includes delayed viewing, is a little better: 8.58 million viewers).

"The Black Donnellys" was created by "Crash" writers Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco and is loosely based on Moresco's experiences as a young man in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. The series revolves around four Irish-American brothers (Jonathan Tucker, Thomas Guiry, Michael Stahl-David and Billy Lush) who are drawn into organized crime.

Olivia Wilde ("The O.C."), Keith Nobbs and Kirk Acevedo ("Band of Brothers") also star.

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