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The TV Column: Lisa de Moraes on NBC's 2009-10 Prime-Time Season

The "Trauma" team, from left, Anastasia Griffith, Billy Lush, Cliff Curtis, Aimee Garcia, Kevin Rankin and Derek Luke.
The "Trauma" team, from left, Anastasia Griffith, Billy Lush, Cliff Curtis, Aimee Garcia, Kevin Rankin and Derek Luke. (By Mitchell Haaseth -- Nbc Via Associated Press)

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Poehler helped NBC suits unveil their new series pickups to the press: She came out wearing a mask over her nose and mouth because, she said, she is "afraid of monkey sniffles," she told Silverman onstage. This did not play well with reporters; possibly they thought she was calling them a bunch of monkeys.

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Silverman also trotted out Donald Trump so he could ask The Donald why his "Celebrity Apprentice" has been such a groundbreaking show.

"Last night was Chicken of the Sea night. We had a two-hour show about Chicken of the Sea," Trump reported, adding that the chief of Chicken of the Sea had called him Monday to thank him personally.

"This stuff kills with the advertisers!" Silverman said of the celebrity appearances as The Donald stepped offstage. "It's like I want to do the moonwalk."

He did the moonwalk.

This world is a better place because Ben Silverman delivers NBC's pickups presentation.

Long before Monday's announcement, NBC had committed to picking up Trump's show next season. Also returning to NBC are comedies "The Office" and "30 Rock," but the outlook for "My Name Is Earl" is not bright now that NBC has opted to bring back those "SNL" prime-time half-hours in the fall.

NBC also had already announced it was bringing back "Friday Night Lights," "Heroes," "Dateline, "The Biggest Loser" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," though the network still has no deal to bring back its stars, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni, who reportedly are holding out for an equity stake in the show. "The show is coming back with or without them," Silverman's counterpart, NBCE/UMS co-chair Marc Graboff told the press, adding that NBC has an offer on the table to the two thespians and hopes they accept it. Brrrrr!

Not announced are the fates of "Chuck," "Kath & Kim," "Medium," "Life" and "Law & Order: The Mother Ship."

The word from the stage yesterday, in response to reporters' questions about the shows' chances of returning next season: maybe, no one thought to ask, probably, not a chance and most likely.

NBC suits also waxed rhapsodic about Jay Leno's move to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"He's one of the most advertiser-friendly people I know," said NBC Universal sales and marketing president Mike Pilot, adding that this "doesn't damage the integrity of the show."

Monday's announcements were not comprehensive. Silverman said the rest of the series pickups and the network's actual prime-time schedule will be unveiled the week of May 8 during the traditional Broadcast Upfront Week, when the rest of the broadcast networks will trot out their new lineups. However, figuring out the basics of NBC's sked isn't rocket science, now that the 10 p.m. hour is otherwise occupied by Leno.

During Monday's clambake, Silverman confirmed what the network's schedule will probably look like. Monday: "Heroes" and another drama night. Tuesday: "The Biggest Loser" night. Wednesday: "Law & Order" franchise night. Thursday: Four-comedy night. Friday: Lower-expectation original programming night. Saturday: Rerun Theater. Sunday: Football.


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