This time both shows will air with ad breaks. There’s a limit to how much ad time NBC’s willing to eat to get its new season sampled.
During the network’s coverage of the London Olympic Games, NBC aired those first episodes of both shows, commercial-free.
“Go On,” in which “Friends” alum Matthew Perry plays a sports talk radio host attending boss-mandated group therapy after the death of his wife, aired after Games competition on Wednesday night and averaged about 16 million viewers.
“Animal Practice,” which ostensibly stars “Weed’s” Justin Kirk as a hot-shot Manhatten veterinarian who doesn’t get along with humans and whose BFF is played by Crystal, aired after the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, and averaged nearly 13 million viewers.
Technically, NBC “interrupted” its coverage of the ceremony in order to make sure the “Animal Practice” pilot started before 11 p.m. when, historically, the worst enemy of a new TV series premiere is not the competition on the other networks, but a phenomenon known in the TV industry as “going to bed.”
Some people were annoyed that they had to wait until after “Animal Practice” to see a performance by What’s Left of The Who, for instance, and expressed their ire on social media.
The haters also included a fair-ish number of people who work for NBC competitors – a sort TV celebri-trolling.
“Glee’s” Kevin McHale, for instance, tweeted: “DEAR NBC. Interrupting the Olympic closing ceremony for an hr to air a show about a fictional animal dr. before it ends is a disgrace. Shame on you.”
It was unclear if McHale was saying NBC’s scheduling stunt was a disgrace because it interrupted the ceremony for programming of any kind, or because the network interrupted the ceremony specifically for a show about a pretend “animal doctor” (it appears McHale did not like the episode), as opposed to, say, a show about a pretend high schooler who is compelled to get around in a wheelchair, played by a 24-year old who is not physically challenged.
The Robot Chicken account famously weighed in that night too, saying, “Doing a Twitter search for ‘Animal Practice’ right now is like tapping a keg of pure hate.”
Even “Animal Practice” exec producer Scot Armstrong decided to join the pile-on, tweeting, “I too am outraged,” and wondering if NBC planned to air the second episode “in the middle of presidential debates.”