Busy day today. Well, really it is a busy last few weeks with the TCA, NATPE, and schedule changes. Today at the TCA Tour, NBC was up. They had quite a few announcements to make. They made it official today, they will add a fourth hour to their morning show Today, which means it will now air 7-11am. Wow! What's next 7am-12pm? I think they could do that, since most of the NBC Universal new shows are bombing. Anyway, this is what NBC said about adding the 4th hour of Today: On January 14, 1952, Today made history when Dave Garroway and the Today show made its network debut – the first two-hour morning program of its kind. In September, 2000, the program did it again – and expanded to three hours. And now, in the midst of an unprecedented 11 year run as the number-one morning news program, Today will once again make its mark on television history, and expand to four hours. The new hour will launch in September, 2007.
With this piece of news, NBC had to cut an hour from their daytime line-up. So, what is gone? Soap opera Passions will be canceled after August.
Heading into primetime, NBC made announcements that it has renewed some of their shows for next season (2007-08). The four series that received an early pick-up for next season are: Heroes, The Office, My Name is Earl, and Law & Order: SVU. All four will likely have at least 22 episodes next season.
NBC has picked up its popular game show Identity – hosted for one week before Christmas by Emmy Award-winning comedian-magician Penn Jillette -- for a series return in March. Seven episodes have been ordered. No timeslot or day as of yet, but it could be coming to Sundays at 8, when Grease is finished in late March. Speaking of Grease, NBC has announced two more additional episodes have been picked-up, raising it to 11 episodes.
Also at NBC will be a new reality improv-comedy. NBC has ordered six one-hour episodes of Thank God You're Here. Hosted by David Alan Grier, and presided over by judge Dave Foley, each episode of Thank God You're Here showcases the improvisational skills of a group of fearless celebrities as they compete in a battle of wits and laughter to outdo each other's performance in various unexpected situations. Jennifer Coolidge, Bryan Cranston, Joel McHale and Wayne Knight star in the pilot episode. Production on the remaining episodes is expected to resume in February with a launch set for in the spring.
Finally, Dateline: To Catch a Predator (yet again) returns for six weeks Tuesdays at 8 p.m. starting Jan. 30.
NBC has still not announced yet when mid-season sitcoms The Singles Table and Andy Barker, P.I. will be airing. Black Donnellys and Raines are still on target for their premieres on Mondays at 10 and Fridays at 9.
Coming up next are CBS, Fox, and The CW. CBS and Fox had some news today, but we'll make it official when they go at their respected TCA tours. So come back for that.
Just one NATPE note today. Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution has pulled its high-profile Celebrity Jury court strip off the market for this fall after failing to come to terms with the Fox station group on price. But the project may not be dead entirely and could make a comeback sometime later, perhaps in 2008.
Nick at Nite has announced that it will NOT premiere Growing Pains this coming Sunday now. Instead the show will now launch on Monday, February 12. No idea why the delay, but there will now be a Roseanne week next week. Jan. 22-28, nothing but Roseanne. We're also not sure yet what slots Growing Pains will air, but it is likely the same slots we reported when it was supposed to launch Jan. 21. Full House will not air at 8:30 p.m. now until Feb. 12. It was slated to air there on Jan. 22.
Also, Nick at Nite will air the Tuesday night movies in February. It was slated to start Jan. 9. with Crocodile Dundee, but they backed out.
We'll keep you updated when we get more information on the Growing Pains situation.
Now time for some mid-week notes. This is a lightning round of short news items. First and foremost, don't forget the third episode each of hilarious sitcoms The Knights of Prosperity and In Case of Emergency tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Tonight the Knights hire a security expert to help them get passed the bodyguards. Should be fun!
The Super Bowl airs Sunday, Feb. 4 on CBS, but CBS will have Super Monday the next night with NFL legends (and Dancing with the Stars alums) Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice guest starring on the opening hour sitcoms. Emmitt on How I Met Your Mother and Jerry on The Class. Emmitt will play himself in the episode when a star-struck Barney (Neil Patrick Thomas) recognizes the former NFL great on the street. As for Jerry Rice's appearance, Duncan (Jon Bernthal) is shocked when he visits Nicole (Andrea Anders) and finds Rice and former pro-football player Yonk Allen (David Keith) working on a charity event speech together.
The CW Network and CBS Paramount Television will stream a never-before-seen episode of the critically acclaimed comedy Everybody Hates Chris on Yahoo! TV (http://tv.yahoo.com/) for one week prior to its network debut on Jan. 22. The episode, entitled "Everybody Hates Eggs," will be offered free-of-charge and without commercial interruption on Yahoo! beginning NOW. In the episode, which airs on The CW on Monday, January 22 (8:00-8:30 p.m. ET), Chris (Tyler James Williams) and Greg (Vincent Martella) get a classroom lesson on parenting when they are each assigned an egg to care for as if it were their own child.