Isn’t NBC supposed to suck?

It’s an overwhelming time in TV land right now, particularly for a TV geek who wishes she could write everything she wants about it and still have time to be a functioning member of society. It’s sweeps and season finale month, time for Very Important Episodes That Can’t Be Missed. This week is the start of the upfronts, too, when networks present their new fall schedules.

NBC led off the week, and made the only announcement I really care about now that I know Sons and Daughters is officially gone: Scrubs will be back next season (not that I doubted Bill Lawrence when he said it would be on either NBC or ABC, but even he admitted you never know with Hollywood). Mirroring last season’s good news/bad news situation, the show got a full-season order, but isn’t on the schedule for fall, meaning it will probably fill the midseason slot of a show that tanks.

NBC has probably has the only other announcements I slightly care about, too. I don’t tend to get excited about new shows until I start to hear critical buzz about them – network buzz just gives me a headache. But I’m cautiously ecstatic that Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is coming in the fall.

Britomart and I had watched a few episodes from my Sports Night DVDs on the weekend, which built up my anticipation for another Sorkin series even more. I haven’t watched The West Wing for the last couple of seasons – I did try to tune in this season, but had no idea what was happening or who it was happening to – but I caught the last half of the series finale and even that made me tear up a little, and long to rewatch my West Wing DVDs … except who has that kind of time during the TV craziness that is May.

Of the new series, my early curiousity is also sparked by Heroes, which features normal people who become superheroes, and The Black Donnellys, by creators Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco (Crash), which doesn’t sound like something I’d love, but I’ve got a bit of a talent crush on Haggis now. His show will take over ER‘s timeslot in January, in a move that means no reruns for the sagging medical show.

With My Name is Earl and The Office, NBC just might be my network next year (hmm, if I say network/studio, I can count House too). Those are both moving up an hour to start the evening off at 8 p.m.

I’d read The New York Post’s article Friday on how Earl has lost 42 percent of its audience since it premiered. That statistic shocked me, since it’s also being hailed as the sitcom saviour and NBC’s saviour, being the only one of their shows from last year’s upfronts to survive for this year’s. But then I realized … some weeks, I’m one of those lost viewers.

I still watch it and still love it. But while there are often nice character moments, with so little character progression, I’m not too worried if I miss it now and then. Its companion, The Office, on the other hand – which I only started watching because it followed Earl and didn’t completely spit on the name of the British original – has me hooked, wanting to find out what comes next. It kind of snuck up on me, though. I didn’t realize it had surpassed Earl for me until reading that article, just before seeing the finales of both. Weird.

Oh, and NBC is also adding to my anticipation with the announcement that they’re creating several new broadband channels, including DotComedy.com, which will show old Letterman reruns and The Office, among other things, and FirstLook.com channels for each of their main networks, which will preview entire episodes of new shows before they air.

I don’t expect to care much about the other upfront news, unless ABC does an about-face and renews Sons & Daughters, or CBS feels benevolent and brings back Love Monkey (I realize neither of those is going to happen, but let me have my illusions for a day or so). But who knows, I might write more later. I bet being a functional member of society is overrated.

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