NBC: More FNL, Lipstick, Office spin-off

Forward-looking NBC got a jump on the other networks today when it announced its 2008-2009 schedule before advertisers in New York. The network has long been touting its plans to change the way its business has been run (probably a good thing after a dismal few years), and it certainly did that by looking as far ahead as summer 2009.

First the highlights:

A spin-off for The Office is in the works and will debut after next year's Super Bowl in early February. There are no details on the show, but don't count on the rumored Dwight Schrute solo show; actor Rainn Wilson recently said he knew nothing of such a project. [UPDATE] The entire Office team will be behind the spin-off, and some actors from the original may find themselves in the new show.

There is a god: Friday Night Lights is coming back to NBC, but won't take snaps until early 2009 on Fridays. [UPDATE] Turns out the rumors were true. In an unusual move for a major network, the third season of Friday Night Lights will debut on DirecTV on October 1, and then re-air on NBC in February. At the moment, the third season has a 13-episode order.

Lipstick Jungle will pucker up for a second season this fall. However, it has been unusually paired with Knight Rider and Deal or No Deal...not sure why that trio makes sense together.

Thursday will continue to be comedy night, with My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, The Office, and Saturday Night Live primetime specials in the fall and the Office spin-off in the winter. Matthew Broderick will also join 30 Rock in the upcoming season, but it's unclear in what capacity.

Medium is still among the living, scheduled for Sunday nights in the winter.

Chuck and Life are still on track for the fall, with the former being paired once again with Heroes on Monday nights, and Life moved to (gulp!) Fridays. However, it will be paired with Friday Night Lights in early 2009, making for a quality two-hour block of television.

NBC also announced that it has partnered with Liberty Mutual to sponsor certain shows, kind of like what television used to in the old days ("Welcome to 21, sponsored by Geritol!"). The insurance company will start off by plastering its name on a pair of two-hour backdoor pilots, including Kings starring Ian McShane. Should the telefilms get picked up to series, Liberty Mutual will have first dibs on continuing the advertising partnership with the show.

New shows on NBC's schedule include My Own Worst Enemy starring Christian Slater (Mondays, fall 2008), comedy Kath & Kim starring Molly Shannon (Tuesdays, fall 2008), Knight Rider (Wednesdays, fall 2008), island-bound drama Crusoe (Fridays, fall 2008), drama The Philanthropist (Mondays, winter 2009), untitled Office spin-off (Thursdays, winter 2009), Merlin and Kings (Sundays, winter 2009), America's Toughest Jobs (Mondays, summer 2009), Shark Taggers (Wednesdays, summer 2009), The Listener (Thursdays, summer 2009), and kitchen reality show Chopping Block (Fridays, summer 2009).

This is of course all subject to change.

NBC's future schedule in semi-easy-to-read chart form (new shows in bold):

FALL 2008-2009

Monday
8 p.m. Chuck
9 p.m. Heroes
10 p.m. My Own Worst Enemy

Tuesday
8 p.m. The Biggest Loser: Families
9:30 p.m. Kath & Kim
10 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Wednesday
8 p.m. Knight Rider
9 p.m. Deal or No Deal
10 p.m. Lipstick Jungle

Thursday
8 p.m. My Name is Earl
8:30 p.m. 30 Rock
9 p.m. The Office
9:30 p.m. The Office/Saturday Night Live
10 p.m. ER

Friday
8 p.m. Crusoe
9 p.m. Deal or No Deal
10 p.m. Life

Saturday
8 p.m. Dateline NBC
9 p.m. Knight Rider (repeats)
10 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (repeats)

Sunday
7 p.m. ET Pregame and Sunday Night Football

WINTER 2009

Monday
8 p.m. Chuck
9 p.m. Heroes
10 p.m. The Philanthropist

Tuesday
8 p.m. The Biggest Loser: Couples
9:30 p.m. Kath & Kim
10 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Wednesday
8 p.m. Knight Rider
9 p.m. Deal or No Deal
10 p.m. Law & Order

Thursday
8 p.m. My Name is Earl
8:30 p.m. 30 Rock
9 p.m. The Office
9:30 p.m. The Office spin-off
10 p.m. ER/Celebrity Apprentice

Friday
8 p.m. Deal or No Deal
9 p.m. Friday Night Lights
10 p.m. Life

Saturday
8 p.m. Dateline NBC
9 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (repeats) 10 p.m. Law & Order (repeats)

Sunday
7 p.m. Specials/Dateline NBC
8 p.m. Specials/Merlin
9 p.m. Specials/Medium
10 p.m. Specials/Kings

SUMMER 2009

Monday
8 p.m. American Gladiators
9 p.m. America's Toughest Jobs
10 p.m. Dateline NBC

Tuesday
8 p.m. Most Outrageous Moments
9 p.m. America's Got Talent
10 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (repeats)

Wednesday
8 p.m. Shark Taggers
9 p.m. America's Got Talent
10 p.m. Law & Order (repeats)

Thursday
8 p.m. The Office
8:30 p.m. The Office spin-off
9 p.m. Last Comic Standing
10 p.m. Listener

Friday
8 p.m. Chopping Block
9 p.m. Dateline NBC

Saturday
8 p.m. Drama Encores

Sunday
7 p.m. Dateline NBC
8 p.m. Monk
9 p.m. Nashville Star
10 p.m. Kings (repeats)

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