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NBC Pins Hopes On Sorkin, NFL

Three other new dramas the network will introduce in the fall are "Friday Night Lights," an adaptation of the popular book built around a Texas high school football team; "Kidnapped," a thriller about the abduction of a rich New York teenager; and "Heroes," about a group of people with superhuman powers.

The introduction of National Football League games on Sunday nights gives NBC strength on what has been a weak night. When football ends, NBC will bring back "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump in Los Angeles, and a talent show with Regis Philbin as host that is getting a summer run starting in June.

"Regis is the new Ed Sullivan," Reilly said.

"Scrubs" and "Crossing Jordan" received full-season orders, although they are not on the schedule. That means each show will likely replace others that fail.

NBC is canceling the "Friends" spinoff "Joey," the sci-fi drama "Surface" and producer Dick Wolf's show about youthful prosecutors, "Conviction."

NBC's position as the first network introducing its schedule means it may make adjustments upon seeing what its rivals do in the coming days, Reilly said.

Other new series picked up by NBC:

  • "Raines," a police drama starring Jeff Goldblum as a Los Angeles detective, is on tap for midseason.
  • "20 Good Years," a buddy comedy starring John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor who vow to live life as if each day is their last.
  • "Andy Barker, P.I.," Andy Richter tries again in the sitcom world, this time with old friend Conan O'Brien as co-writer. He plays an accountant mistaken for a private investigator who decides to do the new job in this midseason entry.
  • "The Singles Table," a midseason comedy built around a group of singles who are seated together at a wedding.

    By David Bauder