NBC Orders Extra 'Office,' 'Earl'
Popular comedies get 25-episode orders
The peacock has ordered up 25 episodes apiece of "Earl" and "The Office," a small increase from the standard 22 episode order. In addition, "The Office" will expand five episodes to a full hour.
After minor schedule juggling, "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" are anchoring NBC's Thursday. "Earl" will remain in the 8 p.m. slot, leading into sophomore comedy "30 Rock," while "The Office" will start the 9 p.m. hour before giving way to the long-running "Scrubs."
On one hand, the "Office" expansion is a move of convenience. The order for "Scrubs," which nearly wasn't picked up, is believed to only be for 18 episodes. On the other hand, fans of the Emmy-winning workplace comedy have often been treated to extensive cut scenes online, as well as expanded episodes in repeat cycles.
As NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly explained to reporters on Monday (May 14) morning, "Frankly Greg Daniels leaves -- we saw him leave full episodes' worth of material on the cutting-room floor just by the nature of the way they shoot. They have a script that's very tight, but obviously they have fantastic improv actors, and they do riff in every scene. As we got to the super-sizing, Greg would often say 'I've got a 40-minute cut, it's great, I'm gonna send it over.' And we'd look at it and say it's a shame to cut it out. So it was really not a reach for us to contemplate doing hour episodes."
Although NBC's fall slate is new comedy-free for the first time in nearly 30 years, the network grabbed "The IT Crowd," an American take on a British format, for midseason. Recent NBC midseason comedy pick-ups including "Thick and Thin" and "The Singles Table" have yet to air.