With NBC officially confirming that The Jay Leno Show will no longer air at 10 o'clock as of Feb. 12, what are its plans to fill the vacant slot?
"I will wait until the very last second making changes to the schedule," NBC chairman Jeff Gaspin said.
Among the more promising options, however, is an earlier-than-planned premiere of Friday Night Lights on the Peacock. Gaspin said episodes that have aired on DirecTV will be available for broadcast on NBC as early as March 1, though he did not indicate how soon the network would use them. Programmers had previously suggested a summer 2010 premiere for Season 4.
Gaspin also said episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent from its past season on USA could be added to the schedule.
NBC prime time entertainment president Angela Bromstad added that the network would be seeing a rough-cut of a pilot called Rex Is Not Your Lawyer on Monday. She said the show, which stars Doctor Who's David Tennant, could be fast-tracked to help fill out the schedule.
NBC is also looking to boost the profiles of new shows premiering this winter and spring, including the drama series Parenthood and the Jerry Seinfeld-produced reality show The Marriage Ref, which will air a special preview episode after the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Looking toward the fall, Gaspin suggested the removal of Leno at 10 o'clock would most likely provide a net result of two additional hours of scripted programming. Gaspin suggested the remaining hours would be devoted to some combination or reality programming and a possible Dateline NBC expansion.
Bromstad confirmed the pickup of several pilots that will contend for those hours, including J.J. Abrams' Undercovers, a Rockford Files remake from House creator David Shore, and new shows from Jerry Bruckheimer and David E. Kelley.