To the surprise of no one — except rabid “Community” fans — NBC has benched “Community” in order to make room for the return of “30 Rock” Thursdays at 8, in January, the network announced Monday.
Note to “Community” fans: Tina Fey having been interviewed by Brian Williams last Monday on the second episode of his new newsmag “Rock Center” about the return of her comedy series was a clue.
In other mid-season NBC schedule news: the network’s laugh-tracked sitcom “Whitney” and its girl-parts gags are moving to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, paired with new comedy “Are you There, Chelsea?” — based on Chelsea Handler’s book, “Are you There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea”
Yes, the network that’s talking to Howard Stern about joining the judge panel of one of its most important series, “America’s Got Talent” is afraid of the word “vodka.”
No word how David E. Kelley feels about having his “Harry’s Law” plucked out of the Wednesday at 9 timeslot and moved to Sundays at 8 in March, to play lead-in for “Celebrity Apprentice,” which returns in mid-February – or that his show is being led to slaughter in the timeslot where CBS is returning its very popular “Undercover Boss” in mid-January. Kelley’s no fan of reality TV.
With “Harry” out of Wednesday, that makes room for “Rock Center with Brian Williams” who will now have “Whitney” and “Chelsea” for a lead-in, starting Feb. 8.
Williams’ current timeslot, Mondays at 10, had already been spoken for by the time it premiered. It belongs new “Smash” following the return of NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” in early February.
“Smash,” described as “’Glee’ for adults”: is a scripted drama about a group of people mounting a B’way musical about Marilyn Monroe’s life; “Idol” non-winner Katharine McPhee has been cast as an actress who’s among the Marilyn hopefuls; Debra Messing plays one of the play’s producers.
Getting the plum post-“Office” Thursday nights, once “Whitney” vacates, is Christina Applegate/Will Arnett/Maya Rudolph comedy “Up All Nights” which has struggled on Wednesdays. Industry navel-lint pickers predict it will do better on Thursday because it’s a single-camera laugh-track-less comedy. We predict it will do better because it will follow “The Office.”
At 10 Thursdays, “Prime Suspect” will go missing and “The Firm,” based on the flick which is based on the book, will take its place, in mid-January.
And, in March, NBC will replace “Parenthood” with a new Elle MacPherson fashion competition series, “Fashion Stars” Tuesdays at 10 following two hours of “The Biggest Loser” fat-farm competition.
In other midseason news: CBS announced its new Rob Schneider sitcom “¡Rob!,” will get the plum post-“Big Bang Theory” timeslot on Thursday at 8, starting Jan. 12. This is probably bad news for NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” which will be its comedy competition. Schneider’s new series has him playing a guy who has married into a tight-knit Mexican-American family.