TV

NBC Sitcom Expansion

NBC plans on doing some major reshuffling after Christmas, which will include expanding its sitcom lineup into the 10-11 p.m. slot currently occupied by "The Apprentice."

Typically, most networks reserve the late slot for dramas, but considering NBC's lack of success in that arena, the might be the network's best chance of success -- or it may prove fatal to "30 Rock," which will be shifting to 10 p.m. (though the series has already been renewed for next season).

"30 Rock" will be joined by the freshman series "Outsourced" in the 10-11 p.m. timeslot, while the new sitcom "Perfect Couples" will go to 8:30 p.m. and "Parks & Recreation" returns to 9:30 p.m.

It's not the only night of the week getting a makeover. NBC, still trying to recover from being Zuckered for the last few years after once being the network that gave us "Seinfeld," "The Cosby Show" and "Hill Street Blues," has few shows competing in the Nielsens these days.

"The Event" will take time off on Mondays, giving way to the superhero-themed "The Cape" at 9 p.m. A second new series, "Harry's Law," starts in January at 10 p.m. before giving way to "Parenthood" in March.

"Law & Order: LA" will replace "Parenthood" on Tuesdays, with freshman show "The Chase moving to Wednesdays before giving way to the reality show "America's Next Great Restaurant." "L&O: SVU" is pushed back to 10 p.m.

Fridays will see the return of "Who Do You Think You Are," while Sundays bring back Jerry Seinfeld's "The Marriage Ref" along with "Celebrity Apprentice."

I've written many times about NBC's failings, so I don't know if these moves will prove effective. But really, what does NBC have to lose?

On a quasi-related note, jeers to PBS for editing Tina Fey's acceptance speech during the Mark Twain prize for humor. PBS claims to have cut it for length, but they cut nearly all the bit in which Fey poked fun at Sarah Palin. It's odd, considering that one of the reasons Fey was so honored was for her dead-on impersonation of Palin on "Saturday Night Live."

Between that and the NPR/Juan Williams fiasco, it hasn't been a good time for public broadcasting in this country, with NPR and PBS coming off as hypocrites.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Speaking of the NBC sitcoms, they are all new tonight, including visits from Kathy Bates and Jack Coleman to "The Office" at 9 p.m.

ABC airs the classic "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" from 8-9 p.m. before giving way to new episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice."

CBS is all-new with "Big Bang Theory," "Bleep My Dad Says," "CSI" and "The Mentalist."

It's back to the alternate universe on "Fringe" (Fox, 9 p.m.), arguably the trippiest concept on TV today going back and forth each week. It follows a new "Bones" at 8 p.m.

Speaking of trippy, I continue to dig "Nikita" (CW, 9 p.m.) a little more each week, especially after last week's oddball team-ups. It follows a new "Vampire Diaries" at 8 p.m.

On cable, a surprise party for Charlie on "It's Always Sunny" (FX, 10 p.m.) isn't quite as funny as last week's "Lethal Weapon 5" -- but that's only because few things ever could be as funny as that one was. It's followed by a new "League" at 10:30 p.m.

Finally, on "Burn Notice," (USA, 10 p.m.) Michael must work with the bad guy to prevent an even bigger disaster.

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