I’m sure Bill will do something more in-depth, but here are some quick thoughts.
NBC has replaced every unscripted hour of Jay Leno on the schedule in Fall 2009 with an hour of scripted content for Fall 2010 and without replacing hours that were previously scripted elsewhere on the schedule with any new unscripted content.
The net result: 5 4 more hours of scripted content than Fall '09 (thanks to commenter Holly for the catch. NBC didn't add an hour of scripted on Friday nights vs. 2009, they merely moved it from 8p to 10p.)
I’d expected a net of 2-3 new hours of scripted content versus Fall ’09, but NBC definitely seems to be going for the appearance of being repentant, even if it’s at a high cost.
Along those lines: Outlaw at 10pm on Fridays? That seems destined to fail regardless of the show. Unless CBS surprises us with an unscripted 10pm hour on Fridays, the Outlaw scheduling strikes me as nothing more than “See, everywhere there was Jay Leno there is now scripted!” (edit: Bill notes as much as anything this is just continuing to suck up to affiliates who were miffed by "The Jay Leno Show" in the hopes they won't do anything to derail Comcast's acquisition of NBCU.)
- I knew Chuck would air Mondays at 8pm and I’m a bit surprised that everyone didn’t see that coming. I understand why fans would prefer another timeslot, but bringing Chuck back was way more about protecting against a 1.3 adults 18-49 on Mondays than hoping for a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating on Wednesdays. If a whole bunch of other NBC stuff is tanking, I could see Chuck getting its back 9.
- I’m always a bit surprised by the number of people who suggest breaking up The into two nights. It’s one thing that is working well for NBC, so I can definitely understand why it’d be fearful of screwing with it. And especially if you stuck it at 8p both nights, you couldn’t hope to recover the ratings and it’s risky to assume you could gain a foothold on two nights instead of one.
- L&O: /LA/Love Bites: I’m not very surprised by the pairing of the L&O’s, but that’s only after seeing Love Bites at 10pm on Thursdays. While “a night of comedy” sounds like something that makes sense, three hours is a roll of the dice. More conventionally, L&O: would’ve stayed at 10p and they’d have put L&O: LA on Thursdays at 10pm. NBC has been mired in last place and I wonder if this schedule is aimed more at creating the appearance of doing something different than at maximizing ratings (even given the shows it has).
The issue of waning 10pm viewing and more DVR viewing of 10pm shows, and DVR playback of other shows at 10pm isn’t going away. If anything, it is becoming a bigger issue for the networks. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the 2010-11 season.