Yes, NBC is having a bad fall — the kind that requires hip replacement. Yes, the sets of Twenty Good Years are, at this very moment, being chopped up for firewood, as hungry, hobo-like executives slaughter the actual NBC peacock and roast it over the flames. Yes, Studio 60 is self-congratulatory coastal chauvinism at its worst. But there’s good news — potentially good news, anyway. The promising, if still uneven 30 Rock (starring Tina Fey, pictured) has been given a stay of execution. Better yet, it’s been grouped with the net’s strongest comedies into a fearsome laugh armada (a term I prefer to the Soviet-sounding "comedy block"): My Name is Earl, The Office, 30 Rock and Scrubs (in a triumphant, told-you-so return) will join forces on a night NBC used to call… Must-See Thursday.
At NBC, "Thursday" must have an Agincourt-like ring to it. It’s the sacred spot where a great Nielsen battle was fought and won, where names like Seinfeld, Aniston, even Schwimmer commanded the respect of a grateful nation. Can NBC recapture that Must-See Glory with a passel of brainy post-sitcom sitcoms? I don’t give a crap — only my TiVo does. (As long as it gets to sleep in the next morning.) I’m just glad to see a network embracing smart, ambitious comedy, if only for one night a week. Let their powers combine! (But please, let them not form a blue-skinned Ted Turner-designed superhero with a flattop, unless it’s sweeps.)
Now all Thursday needs is a drama nightcap at 10 — maybe something alittle fresher than ER. If Studio 60 were a) good and b) performing upto snuff, I’d suggest slotting it at 10 and completing both the comedyarc and the "brainy block" aspects of the programming schedule. Alas,it’s not to be.
And what about all those other nights of the week? No worries. I’ve got it covered.