It seems like May sweeps was just yesterday, but here we are on the cusp of the return of Thursday night TV-pocolypse. Luckily for our DVR, Survivor was shifted back to Wednesday nights, and Parks and Recreation is (egregiously) on the shelf until mid-season (of course, while that might be good for our DVR, it’s terrible for our collective well-being). But we’re still left with what is now the NBC comedy old guard, The Office & 30 Rock, and the returning sensation, and probably the best of the bunch, Community. And later we have a little cable fun with It’s Always in Philadelphia and Delocated (if you’re eyeballs aren’t bleeding by then). But, for now, let’s quickly focus on the NBC line-up.
The big story on NBC Thursday nights, as we noted above, is not what’s on, but what’s not, that being Parks and Recreation, benched in favor of the already critically reviled Outsourced. Sure, NBC has the right to air whatever it wants, and if it thinks another show will be more successful, and has the potential to be an anchor the way that The Office is and shows like Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier and Cheers were, then we can’t begrudge them that. But Outsourced hasn’t even aired yet and it seems the verdict is already in: it’s a waste of valuable space. One has to wonder if NBC, who proved with the Jay Leno Show that they’re willing to sacrifice quality programming for profit, chose to promote Outsourced because it’s an in-house production, even knowing its an inferior program. Because even if it pulls in rating as low as Parks and Rec, maybe even lower, NBC will still grab a bigger slice of the pie. That’s just conjecture at this point, but there’s certainly a precedent for it, and we know that TV, network television in particular, is a business above all. Let’s just hope that Outsourced is so terrible that it’s yanked sooner than planned and Parks and Recreation can reclaim its rightful place (especially since they rushed the show back into production for its third season to accommodate Amy Poehler’s pregnancy).