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    NBC Upfronts: Office Spins Off; Scrubs Scrubbed

    A fresh crop of cubemates are headed for the small screen.

    NBC officially greenlighted its long-rumored (and not a particularly well-received rumor at that) spinoff of The Office during its annual upfront conference in New York Wednesday.

    Scarce details are known about the Dundler-Mifflin redux, including whether the new series will in any way be connected to the folks in the Scranton branch, whether any of the current Office workers will cross over or whether it will be just be a faux-documentary workplace format that the two shows share.

    Before the strike, NBC had been working on a special episode of The Office that would serve, much like Grey's Anatomy did for Private Practice, as a backdoor pilot for the new series.

    As promised/threatened earlier this year, NBC is limiting its order for high-priced pilots, pushing as many new shows as it can directly into series production. The Office spinoff will be one of the first shows to follow the model, bypassing any formal pilot.

    The spinoff will get a massive midseason push in 2009, as it is tentatively slated to debut following NBC's Feb. 1 broadcast of the Super Bowl.

    NBC unveiled the plan during its upfront (or, as Peacock boss Ben Silverman called the scaled-back affair, an "infront") presentation, held a full six weeks ahead of the other networks' scheduled presentations.

    Along with news of The Office spinoff, NBC also announced that still-strong Steve Carell-led original series will return with hourlong episodes for the month of September.

    In October, in order to eke the most entertainment value possible out of the upcoming presidential election, Saturday Night Live will be making regular, and temporary, weeknight appearances.

    SNL Thursday Night Live, a live half-hour of politically themed sketches revolving around electoral shenanigans, will follow The Office for four weeks.

    NBC announced four new series for its fall lineup.

    The Knight Rider action remake, produced by Doug Liman, will air Wednesdays at 8 p.m.; the drama My Own Worst Enemy, starring Christian Slater as a suburban man leading a double life as a spy, will air Mondays at 10 p.m.; the sitcom Kath & Kim, with the slightly unusual pairing of Molly Shannon and Selma Blair, is set for Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m.; and Crusoe, a modern update of the adventure story, will air Fridays at 8 p.m.

    Another new show, Merlin, will debut in the midseason.

    Also coming back: Heroes, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Medium, My Name Is Earl and 30 Rock, with the network revealing that Matthew Broderick will appear in the season finale of the Tina Fey-fronted show.

    As expected, ER is returning, with Noah Wyle back for the ride in the venerable hospital drama's 15tt and final go-round.

    Friday Night Lights was also granted a reprieve, though will not return until the winter.

    And freshman shows Chuck, Life and Lipstick Jungle are matriculating to a sophomore season.

    Among the reality shows getting reupped for the fall: Celebrity Apprentice, Deal or No Deal and The Biggest Loser. America's Got Talent, American Gladiators and Most Outrageous Moments will anchor the summer slate, joined by new unscripted fare The Chopping Block (a cooking show) and Shark Taggers.

    MIA from the schedule: Scrubs, which is expected to move to ABC.

    As for that other long-reported spinoff, Heroes: Origins, it continues to be shelved by the network, not appearing on its lineup for the fall, winter or summer seasons.

    As it is, programming for all three seasons was unveiled as part of NBC's new "52 week strategy" designed to ensure new programming year-round, and also allow a better, more complete scheduling picture to help advertisers plan their media strategies for the entire year.

    Here's NBC's complete prime-time schedule for fall 2008:

    MONDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Chuck
    • 9-10 p.m. Heroes
    • 10-11 p.m. My Own Worst Enemy

    TUESDAY

    • 8-9:30 p.m. The Biggest Loser: Families
    • 9:30-10 p.m. Kath & Kim
    • 10-11 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit

    WEDNESDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Knight Rider
    • 9-10 p.m. Deal or No Deal
    • 10-11 p.m. Lipstick Jungle

    THURSDAY

    • 8-8:30 p.m. My Name Is Earl
    • 8:30-9 p.m. 30 Rock
    • 9-9:30 p.m. The Office
    • 9:30-10 p.m. The Office/SNL Thursday Night Live
    • 10-11 p.m. ER

    FRIDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Crusoe
    • 9-10 p.m. Deal or No Deal
    • 10-11 p.m. Life

    SATURDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Dateline NBC
    • 9-10 p.m. Knight Rider
    • 10-11 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit

    SUNDAY

    • 7-8:20 p.m. Football Night in America
    • 8:20-11 p.m. NBC Sunday Night Football

    NBC's prime-time schedule for winter 2009:

    MONDAY

    • 8- 9 p.m. Chuck
    • 9-10 p.m. Heroes
    • 10-11 p.m. The Philanthropist

    TUESDAY

    • 8- 9:30 p.m. The Biggest Loser: Couples
    • 9:30-10 p.m. Kath & Kim
    • 10-11 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

    WEDNESDAY 

    • 8-9 p.m. Knight Rider
    • 9-10 p.m. Deal or No Deal
    • 10-11 p.m. Law & Order

    THURSDAY

    • 8-8:30 p.m. My Name Is Earl
    • 8:30-9 p.m. 30 Rock
    • 9- 9:30 p.m. The Office
    • 9:30-10 p.m. The Office Spinoff
    • 10-11 p.m. ER/The Celebrity Apprentice

    FRIDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Deal or No Deal
    • 9-10 p.m. Friday Night Lights
    • 10-11 p.m. Life

    SATURDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Dateline NBC
    • 9-10 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Encore)
    • 10-11 p.m. Law & Order (Encore)

    SUNDAY

    • 7-8 p.m. Specials/Dateline NBC
    • 8-9 p.m. Specials/Merlin
    • 9-10 p.m. Specials/Medium
    • 10-11 p.m. Specials/Kings 

    NBC's prime-time schedule for summer 2009:

    MONDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. American Gladiators
    • 9-10 p.m. America's Toughest Jobs
    • 10-11 p.m. Dateline NBC

    TUESDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Most Outrageous Moments
    • 9-10 p.m. America's Got Talent
    • 10-11 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Encore)

    WEDNESDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Shark Taggers
    • 9-10 p.m. America's Got Talent (Results Show)
    • 10-11 p.m. Law & Order (Encore)

    THURSDAY

    • 8-8:30 p.m. The Office
    • 8:30- 9 p.m. The Office Spinoff
    • 9-10 p.m. Last Comic Standing
    • 10-11 p.m. The Listener

    FRIDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Chopping Block
    • 9-11 p.m. Dateline NBC

    SATURDAY

    • 8-9 p.m. Drama Encores 
    • 9-10 p.m. Drama Encores
    • 10-11 p.m. Drama Encores

    SUNDAY

    • 7-8 p.m. Dateline NBC
    • 8-9 p.m. Monk
    • 9-10 p.m. Nashville Star
    • 10-11 p.m. Kings (Encore)
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