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NBC fall schedule: Possible farewell movies for 'Law & Order' and 'Heroes'

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nbc-showsImage Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC; Will Hart/NBC; Mitchell Haaseth/NBC; Dean Hendler/NBCEncouraging news (somewhat) for disappointed fans of the canceled Law & Order and Heroes: NBC will talk to the creators about producing either a two-hour movie or some kind of event to give the shows closure next season (unfortunately, there are no air dates yet). And though Parks & Recreation didn’t make the cut on Thursdays this fall – NBC chose instead to launch the new half-hour Outsourced at 9:30 to lead into the hour-long comedy Love Bites – NBC promised that Amy Poehler’s laugher will not only return by midseason but possibly earn the 9:30 p.m. berth behind The Office.

“It was our toughest decision to make,” NBC/Universal TV Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin told reporters Sunday in anticipation of the network’s upfront presentation Monday in New York. “But to get new comedies on our schedule, Thursday is still the best place to launch. We expect Parks and Recreation to be back on the schedule Thursday and it’s not any way an indication that we don’t think it’s as good as any other comedy. We’ve learned from cable that you can wait as long as a year, create more anticipation and not lose any momentum.”

NBC will unveil five new comedies, seven new drama series and one new reality program for the 2010-11 season to advertisers on Monday. The network hopes to convey a message of consistency – at least when it comes to the common theme of its shows. “I think there is a realism that is consistent throughout all of our dramas,” explains Angela Bromstad, NBC’s primetime entertainment president. “If you are going to do a law franchise, you have to find a way to make it different. With Kathy Bates and David E. Kelley’s dialogue (in Harry’s Law), we’ll have a distinct provocative character like Hugh Laurie as House. It will be the same with Outlaw with Jimmy Smits. Chase is very much a straight ahead procedural but with an adrenaline rush. We tried to be as broad as possible but at same time a little more distinctive.”

Bromstad didn’t reveal too much about the back and forth discussions she had with uber-producer Dick Wolf about airing another season of Law & Order, other than to say everyone “knew the mother ship was coming to an end at some point. Ultimately it was our decision. We felt it was time to move forward and reinvent the brand.” As for launching a Los Angeles version this fall, Bromstad stressed the importance of keeping the brand name in the title – however unoriginal it may sound to critics. “It’s the most successful franchise in the history of TV,” she insisted. “In this cluttered environment, it’s to our advantage to keep.”

As for picking up another season of the low-rated Chuck, Bromstad explained that “it came as a wild card. It performed solidly for us. We can’t change every hour of the schedule at once, so we were looking for stability and it was a good companion for The Event.”

Finally, Bromstad said the network’s much-ballyhooed remake of The Rockford Files will go back to the drawing board for a possible debut later this year or in fall 2011. But Beach Lane, the Matthew Broderick starrer about a millionaire (Patton Oswalt) who hires a celebrity author (Broderick) to help his struggling newspaper in the Hamptons, didn’t make the cut for fall. And remember Day One – the apocalyptic drama developed by Heroes’ Jesse Alexander? Yeah, it’ll never see the light of day. There was talk of burning it off as a movie but even that plan is dead now. Here’s the official fall schedule:

MONDAY

8-9 p.m.  Chuck                     

9-10 p.m. The Event       

10-11 p.m. Chase       

TUESDAY

8-10 p.m.  The Biggest Loser

10-11 p.m. Parenthood 

WEDNESDAY

8-9 p.m.  Undercovers

9-10 p.m.  Law & Order: Special Victims Unit               

10-11 p.m. L&O:  Los Angeles 

THURSDAY

8- 8:30 p.m. Community              

8:30-9 p.m. 30 Rock

9-9:30 p.m. The Office    

9:30-10 p.m. Outsourced   

10-11 p.m.  Love Bites    

FRIDAY

8-9 p.m.  Who Do You Think You Are?/School Pride     

9-10 p.m.  Dateline NBC            

10-11 p.m. Outlaw 

SATURDAY

Reruns

SUNDAY       

7- 8:15 p.m. Football Night in America      

8:15-11:30 p.m. NBC Sunday Night Football

SUNDAY (beginning March 2011)

7-8 p.m. Dateline NBC

8-9 p.m. Minute to Win It

9-11 p.m. The Celebrity Apprentice

The new series The Cape, Friends With Benefits, Perfect Couples, Harry’s Law and The Paul Reiser Show will premiere later in the season along with a new version of  The Apprentice, The Marriage Ref and the new series America’s Next Great Restaurant starring celebrity chef/restaurateur Bobby Flay.

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