January 14, 2010 / 10:50 PM / in 8 years

NBC replaces Leno at 10 with Seinfeld show and dramas

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jerry Seinfeld’s new marriage comedy, crime series “Law & Order” and new family drama “Parenthood” will replace “The Jay Leno Show,” at 10 p.m., bringing an end to a failed experiment, NBC said on Thursday.

NBC said the new 10 p.m. line-up would start after the network’s 2010 Winter Olympics broadcasts from Feb 12-28.

It did not clarify what was happening in its attempt to reshuffle its Monday-Friday late night line-up with Leno and Conan O’Brien’s “The Tonight Show.”

The fourth-rated U.S. television network has been scrambling to reinvent its Monday-Friday prime time schedule since announcing on Sunday that it would end “The Jay Leno Show” at 10 p.m. on February 11.

“The Jay Leno Show” was cheaper to produce than traditional scripted drama, but the experiment captured low ratings and NBC affiliate stations complained it drew fewer people to local news at 11 p.m. and, as a result, hurt their ad revenues.

NBC said that starting March 1, it will air long-running crime drama “Law & Order” on Mondays, beginning with a two-hour episode, and sister show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 p.m.

At the same time on Tuesdays, NBC will air “Parenthood,” a highly anticipated multi-generational drama, and the Thursday slot will be filled by “The Marriage Ref,” a new one-hour comedy-game panel-reality show from Seinfeld — one of America’s favorite comedians.

Finally, Fridays will see long-running news magazine “Dateline NBC” take the 10 p.m. slot.

General Electric Co’s NBC said earlier this week it has ordered pilots of six new dramas and two new comedies for the 2010-2011 season in a bid to rebuild its depleted stock of scripted series that appeal to advertisers.

NBC has said it wants to move Jay Leno to 11:35 p.m. and push “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” to 12:05 a.m.

The move has angered both Leno and O’Brien, who took over “The Tonight Show” in June 2009. In a bitterly worded statement on Tuesday, O’Brien said he would not host “The Tonight Show” at the later hour but did not say he would leave the network.

Editing by Jill Serjeant and Todd Eastham

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