NBC EMPLOYS ‘THE APPRENTICE’ TO THURSDAYS BEGINNING JANUARY 29 AND MOVES HIT COMEDY ‘SCRUBS’ TO TUESDAYS AS PART OF THREE-NIGHT SCHEDULE CHANGE
Emmy Award-winning Series "Will & Grace" to Follow "Friends" on Thursdays Beginning January 29; "Whoopi," "Happy Family" Advance to Earlier Spots on Tuesdays Followed by "Scrubs" Starting February 3; "The Tracy Morgan Show" Shifts to Saturdays (8-8:30 p.m. ET) with New Episodes on January 31
BURBANK – January 22, 2004 – NBC will employ its new hit reality series "The Apprentice" (formerly Wednesdays, 8-9 p.m. ET) on Thursdays 9-10 p.m. ET beginning January 29 prompting other programming shifts that include moving the network's Emmy Award-winning comedy series "Will & Grace" to the post-"Friends" time slot on Thursdays beginning that night as well. The hit comedy series "Scrubs" moves to Tuesdays (9:30-10 p.m. ET) from its previous Thursday (9:30-10 p.m. ET) slot starting February 3.
A rebroadcast of the prior week's original episode of "The Apprentice" will air in the series' previous timeslot – Wednesdays, 8-9 p.m. (ET).
As a result, other Tuesday-night changes include advancing "Whoopi" to 8-8:30 p.m. (ET) followed by "Happy Family," which will re-locate an hour earlier on Tuesdays to 8:30-9 p.m. (ET) from 9:30-10 p.m. (ET). Likewise, "The Tracy Morgan Show" will officially switch from Tuesdays (8-8:30 p.m. ET) to Saturdays (8-8:30 p.m. ET) on January 31 and will resume with new episodes.
The announcements were made today by Jeff Zucker, President, NBC Entertainment, News and Cable Group, and Mitch Metcalf, Sr. Vice President, Program Planning and Scheduling, NBC Entertainment.
"Two of the hottest shows on television right now are 'The Apprentice' and 'American Idol.' We think it's a disservice to viewers to have them squaring off against each other, " said Metcalf. "We consider these moves a 'win-win' for NBC and the audience."
"The Apprentice" has been generating excellent ratings since its preview telecast Thursday, January 8, which, at the time, delivered the highest new-series debut rating among adults 18-49 in more than a year. The following week, "The Apprentice" scored the strongest second-episode 18-49 rating for any newly introduced reality series since at least the summer of 2000. And this week, "The Apprentice" delivered NBC's highest 18-49 rating with regular programming in the Wednesday (8-9 p.m. ET) hour since March 2001.
The successful new reality show has averaged a 9.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 19.2 million viewers overall with its two Thursday telecasts.
"The Apprentice" is a 15-episode unscripted drama featuring business titan Donald Trump in which 16 original candidates from all walks of life endure rigorous tasks each week while living together in a hip Manhattan loft apartment. The assigned tasks test their intelligence, chutzpah and street-smarts. They face the challenges of living in close quarters and must complete sometimes humorous, but always difficult, job assignments and will be forced to think outside the box in order to outshine each other to get to the top. After splitting the group into two teams of eight, Trump issues a task with time constraints. At the conclusion of each task, the winning team is granted a lavish reward, but the losing team reports immediately to Trump's boardroom where one of them is fired.
The winner of the competition -- the true "apprentice" -- will be granted the dream job of a lifetime with The Trump Organization and a salary of $250,000.
The new NBC schedule changes – which will include some adjustments for eventful February sweeps programming -- are as shown below (all times are ET):
THURSDAYS (beginning January 29)
"Friends" (8-8:30 p.m.
*"Will & Grace" (8:30-9 p.m.)
*"The Apprentice" (9-10 p.m.)
"ER" (10-11 p.m.)
TUESDAYS (beginning February 3)
*"Whoopi" (8-8:30 p.m.)
*"Happy Family" (8:30-9 p.m.)
"Frasier" (9-9:30 p.m.)
*"Scrubs" (9:30-10 p.m.)
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (10-11 p.m.)
SATURDAYS (beginning January 31)
*"The Tracy Morgan Show" (8-8:30 p.m.)
Various programming (8:30-11 p.m.)
* - indicates new time period
"The Apprentice" is produced by Mark Burnett Productions in association with Trump Productions LLC. Mark Burnett and Donald Trump are executive producers. Burnett is represented by Conrad Riggs who will also serve as a producer on the project.