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NBC’s Bold Q1 Strategy: ‘Two Hours of Ann Curry Followed by Two Hours of Donald Trump’

As much as we are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to put 2008 to bed once and for all, we can only imagine that Ben Silverman has been staring down at the second-hand of his watch for the last few months and muttering to himself, "I think the clock is slow." But while it would be hard to fathom that 2009 could go much worse for the impeccably eyebrowed wunderkind than 2008 did, the truth of the matter is that NBC is well positioned to finish February sweeps below Fox and end up as the lowest rated major television network. Adding a heavy dose of insult to a network that's suffered repeated primetime injuries this fall, Lisa de Moraes of the Washington Post unloaded both barrels on the Peacock Network in a scathing piece that made Chris Lee's assault on Ben Lyons on Monday look like a love letter. To wit: De Moraes deftly morphed from television columnist to insult comic when she described the slate of NBC's Q1 programming thusly:

NBC announced a lineup for the first quarter of '09 that seems to suggest the network has actually run out of shows. Sundays, for instance, will be filled with the newsmagazine Dateline, which is being pumped up to two-hour broadcasts, followed by that supersize Celebrity Apprentice. Yes, that's right, two hours of Ann Curry followed by two hours of Donald Trump.

As if that weren't enough to drive Silverman and Jeff Zucker to start pounding Tums like they were Tic Tacs, she also managed to smack down the network as being "virtually irrelevant" and branded their fall schedule as "particularly lousy." And oh yeah, we almost forgot to mention how she described NBC's decision to move Jay Leno into the 10 p.m. slot rather than lose him to a competitor as an "act of desperation" (zing!). If this fight can continue to build on its early momentum, it has the potential to eclipse the legendary infamous Ken Tucker vs. Seth MacFarlane brouhaha. Honestly, at this point, we can't figure out which thing we're looking forward to more: Lesbian Vampire Killers or the Winter TV Press 2009, where the next round of this battle is scheduled to go down. We've already got the popcorn in the microwave in hopes that this presser gets the full-on UFC pay-per-view treatment.

At NBC, No Script For Success [Washington Post]

And with that, we're out 'til 2009 — we'll be back on Friday. Have a happy new year!

Photo: Getty Images