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'Idol' Finale: Awfully Irresistible (or Irresistibly Awful)

Amanda Peet, Steven Weber and Matthew Perry in
Amanda Peet, Steven Weber and Matthew Perry in "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," which NBC moved to avoid ABC's 800-pound gorilla "Grey's Anatomy." (By Scott Garfield -- Nbc)

"Does this exactly fit the profile of what we've done historically or what I'd ideally like to do [on Thursdays] right now? No, but it's the reality of where we are," Reilly said of scheduling "Deal" in the middle of what had once been NBC's unstoppable Must See TV Thursday lineup.

"Medium," now gone from Monday, will be benched to air on Sundays after NFL football completes its season.

The change means NBC will have two new Monday dramas -- the other being 9 p.m.'s "Heroes" -- to promote on Sunday nights during football.

But NBC execs also had scheduled two new dramas for Tuesday that they intended to promote during Sunday football: "Friday Night Lights," about a high school football team, and "Kidnapped."

The suits decided that was one too many new dramas to promote during Sunday game play, so they've moved "Kidnapped" to Wednesday at 10, longtime home to "Law & Order."

"We needed to lighten up Tuesday," Reilly said.

"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" will be moved from Friday to Tuesday to fill the hole left by "Kidnapped." Wednesday's "Law & Order," displaced by "Kidnapped," is moving into that "L&O: CI" Friday 10 p.m. berth.

That means NBC will have two hours of "Law & Order" on Tuesday, including "L&O: Special Victims Unit" at 10.

"Frankly, on any schedule a show is the best lead-in to itself -- 'Lost' is a great lead-in to 'Lost,' " Reilly noted of the ABC program. The two "Law & Order" shows are different "but they're compatible and in some ways . . . an even more formidable block."

But wait, there's more.

With "Kidnapped" transplanted to 10 p.m. Wednesday, NBC brass rethought plans to air two new comedies that night at 9. Those comedies, Jon Lithgow's "20 Good Years" and "30 Rock," Tina Fey's take on "SNL," are flipflopping time slots with Wednesday's returning 8 p.m. weight-loss competition, "The Biggest Loser."

And "Deal's" Friday 8 p.m. hour will now belong to "Crossing Jordan," which was to be a midseason bench player.

The reason for these changes is simple, as explained by Reilly: "We go first. We're in fourth."

NBC has for some time been the first network to unveil its prime-time slate to advertisers during what is called Upfront Week because, after seeing the new lineups, advertisers buy time on programs up front. But NBC has fallen from first place to fourth and the fourth-place network has to counterprogram the stronger shows on other networks. Reilly had said last week that he might tinker with his lineup after seeing what the other networks announced later that week.

Yesterday, he did just that.

One reporter asked if he thought people would say his network looks desperate.

"I'd hope people would say we're smart, 'They got practical and looked at the competitors.' . . . We're saying we believe in our new shows, now that we've got the competitive landscape, let's realign with the schedule that now, in the light of day, seems to make the most sense."


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