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'Smash' moves to Saturdays; NBC announces other schedule shifts

March 13, 2013|By Yvonne Villarreal
  • Katharine McPhee, left, and Megan Hilty on the set of "Smash," which may be headed toward its final act.
Katharine McPhee, left, and Megan Hilty on the set of "Smash,"… (Will Hart / Associated Press )

"Smash" is going off Broadway to Saturday nights. NBC announced Wednesday it's moving the struggling musical drama to the unattractive programming night. Cue the reality series understudy for position!

The peacock network will instead air new reality love competition "Ready for Love," from Eva Longoria, in the drama's former Tuesday slot beginning April 9, when it will get a two-hour premiere. It will be paired with the network's ratings linchpin "The Voice," which returns later this month.

That the lights would dim on "Smash" is hardly unexpected. The sophomore series has not only turned off critics over its short run, but the ratings have also stumbled. Its most recent episode brought in an anemic 2.9 million viewers and a 0.9 rating in the demographic of viewers ages 18 to 49, keeping it far from living up to its name. It will burn off the remainder of its 17 episodes on Saturdays beginning April 6. Despite the devotion of NBC Entertainment President Bob Greenblatt, it's hard to imagine that the network would bring the series back next season.

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But the "Smash" shakeup isn't the only schedule change the network is making. It looks like Matthew Perry will return to familiar ground: Thursday night, at least for two weeks. His modestly performing comedy, "Go On," will be part of the network's Thursday night comedy block on April 4 and April 11 (its season finale) at 9:30 p.m., perhaps a test run for a permanent move come fall.

Meanwhile, the network is giving us supersized finales for some of its comedies. "The New Normal" will air a one-hour season finale on April 2, following "The Voice," while "Whitney" will air its lenthened finale on March 27.

And because, hey, why stop there, the network is seeing how far it can spread "The Voice's" power as a springboard by airing encore epsiodes of the reality competition series on two Sunday nights, March 31 and April 7 (7-10 p.m. ET/PT), that will lead into original episodes of "Celebrity Apprentice." The network will also tweak the Donald Trump reality series whether we like it or not, expanding the show to two hours beginning April 14.

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Yvonne Villarreal

 

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