We've been hearing it since even before the Hollywood writers' strike officially began last month: No writers means more reality TV, more game shows, and more series the networks weren't sure they wanted at all.
Now there's proof.
CBS has released its schedule for January and February programming, and pieces of NBC's plan are emerging as well. So far, it's good news for fans of Law and Order and Big Brother . . . and not so great for everyone else. Some of the plans:
- Law and Order will air Wednesday nights starting Jan. 2. Law and Order: Criminal Intent, which NBC pawned off to USA for the fall, will return to NBC on Jan. 9. The CI episodes will be the same ones that have been airing on USA.
- The first-ever non-summer edition of Big Brother will air Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays starting Feb. 12.
- Also returning Feb. 12: Jericho, which was given seven more episodes after fans launched a nut-buying campaign in the spring.
- The New Adventures of Old Christine will take over the 9:30 p.m. slot in the Monday comedy lineup starting Jan. 28. It will be joined by The Captain, a comedy about the eclectic crowd living in a famous Hollywood apartment building starring Jeffrey Tambor, Chris Klein, and Raquel Welch.
Fox, which is not as hurt by the strike over the winter because of American Idol, was the first to announce its schedule, while ABC's plans are still under wraps. The networks and writers are returning to negotiations today after the producers' most recent proposal was slammed by writers last week. But even if a deal is struck soon, it still looks like we'll be stuck with replacement programming come January.