NBC Makes Post-Super Bowl Plans


For all the struggles NBC has had this season, it's virtually assured of a good February thanks to its broadcast of the Super Bowl. It's also hoping to use the game as a launchpad for several new and returning shows.

The network, which has already set a portion of its 2009 schedule -- including the return of " Friday Night Lights" to the network -- on Wednesday (Dec. 3) announced its post-Super Bowl plans. They include an hour-long "Office" right after the game, the return of " Medium" the following night and the series finale of "ER" in March.

"The biggest event on television will provide the perfect promotional platform as we launch some of the most eagerly anticipated new and returning shows on any schedule," NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman says.

"The Office" will get the usually ratings-boosting post-Super Bowl spot on Sunday, Feb. 1. NBC said as much last spring when it announced its 2008-09 schedule, although at the time the episode was going to be paired with the premiere of an "Office" spinoff. That project has since morphed into the non-spinoff starring Amy Poehler, which doesn't yet have a debut date.

"Medium" will begin its fifth season at 10 p.m. ET Monday, Feb. 2. That night will also mark the return of " Chuck" -- with a special 3-D episode -- and the beginning of a new volume of " Heroes."

Following the Super Bowl, the network will air the miniseries "XIII" on consecutive Sundays Feb. 8 and 15. Feb. 22 remains open, but on March 1, NBC will roll out a new season of "Celebrity Apprentice" -- which is expanding to two Trump-tastic hours every week.

"Knight Rider" will end its season on Feb. 25; a replacement will be announced soon, NBC promises. "ER," meanwhile, will finish its long run with a two-hour finale on Thursday, March 12. New drama "Kings" will take its place with a two-hour premiere on March 19 before taking over the 10 p.m. Thursday spot the next week.

Here's a summary of NBC's post-Super Bowl changes:

Sunday, Feb. 1

10:30 p.m. (approximate) "The Office" Super Bowl episode (one hour)

Monday, Feb. 2

8 p.m. "Chuck" (3-D episode)
9 p.m. "Heroes" (premiere of new volume "Fugitives")
10 p.m. "Medium" (season premiere)

Wednesday, Feb. 4

9 p.m. "Life" (return)

Sunday, Feb. 8

9 p.m. "XIII" (concludes Feb. 15)

Wednesday, Feb. 25

8 p.m. "Knight Rider" (season finale)

Sunday, March 1

9 p.m. "Celebrity Apprentice" (season premiere, two hours)

Thursday, March 12

9 p.m. "ER" (series finale, two hours)

Thursday, March 19

9 p.m. "Kings" (series premiere, two hours; moves to 10 p.m. March 26)

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