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Old 08-24-2019, 12:27 AM   #1
James28
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Default The Race for the Thursdays-at-9pm Timeslot on NBC in 1998

On December 25, 1997, the decision was made by Jerry Seinfeld and the NBC Network to end the original run of his eponymous sitcom, Seinfeld, at the end of its ninth season, even though it would ultimately become the number-one show on U.S. broadcast TV for the 1997-98 season.

Among the shows that were being considered to replace Seinfeld on the Thursday-at-9pm timeslot the following season (1998-99) were Just Shoot Me, Frasier, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Mad About You. Just Shoot Me, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Mad About You had their reasons: First, JSM was an up-and-coming show that could have benefited from the proximity of Friends and ER. After having aired on Tuesdays, JSM was moved to Thursdays at 8:30 (after Friends) in late January of 1998, and remained in that slot until late April, when it moved back to Tuesdays for the last two episodes of its second season. 3RftS had aired a special one-hour episode after Super Bowl XXXII. And the stars of Mad About You, Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, worked out new deals guaranteeing them $1 million per episode during MAY's seventh season, which would be quadruple their previous salaries.

Frasier had previously aired on Thursdays during its first season (at 9:30 following Seinfeld), and Mad About You aired on the Thursday lead-off slot during its second and third seasons before Friends was put there in 1995, and did air after Seinfeld on Wednesdays at 9:30 during MAY's first season.

Ultimately, it would be Frasier who won the race to replace Seinfeld. Frasier would occupy the Thursday-at-9 slot during seasons six and seven before moving back to Tuesdays-at-9 for season eight. JSM would remain on Tuesdays, airing at 9pm during season three and 8pm during season four before moving to Thursdays at 9:30 for seasons five and six. 3rd Rock from the Sun would remain on Wednesdays at 9 during season 4 before moving to Tuesdays at 8:30 for seasons five and six. Mad About You would remain on Tuesdays-at-8 for season 7 before moving to Mondays at 8:30; it would ultimately end its run after the 1998-99 season.

I want to ask the Sitcoms Online Forum users: How differently would things have turned out if 3rd Rock from the Sun, Just Shoot Me, or Mad About You got the Thursday-at-9 timeslot instead of Frasier after Seinfeld retired in 1998? JSM, 3RftS, or even MAY having longer runs, and Frasier getting a shorter run?
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Old 08-24-2019, 12:48 AM   #2
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If Mad About You had gotten Thursdays at 9:00 that definitely could have extended it past season 7. Too bad that didn't happen. I don't think Frasier would have been shorter lived if it remained on Tuesdays, it returned there two years later like nothing had changed when Will and Grace was moved to Thursdays at 9:00. Just Shoot Me just wasn't strong enough to replace Seinfeld then, or really to replace Frasier on Tuesdays. 3rd Rock from the Sun might have worked. Another option NBC had considered was moving Friends an hour later to 9:00 with Just Shoot Me replacing it at 8:00. Funny that Jerry Seinfeld decided to make it the final season on Christmas Day.
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Old 08-24-2019, 02:44 PM   #3
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Having thought it over, there is one scheduling option NBC missed out on: moving Law and Order to Thursdays at 9:00. It being paired back-to-back with ER, and Friends still leading off the night, would have made for a still dominant Thursday after Seinfeld ended. I will post what the actual Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday schedules were for NBC fall 1998 and what I would have done instead using the same shows. Basically I made Wednesday a 2 hour comedy block instead of Thursday, but no comedy hours get cut overall.

the actual schedule
Tuesday
8:00 Mad About You
8:30 Encore! Encore!
9:00 Just Shoot Me
9:30 Working
10:00 Dateline

Wednesday
8:00 Dateline
9:00 3rd Rock from the Sun
9:30 NewsRadio
10:00 Law and Order

Thursday
8:00 Friends
8:30 Jesse
9:00 Frasier
9:30 Veronica's Closet
10:00 ER

my schedule
Tuesday
8:00 Just Shoot Me
8:30 Working
9:00 Frasier
9:30 Veronica's Closet
10:00 Dateline

Wednesday
8:00 Mad About You- This show was unfortunately hurt by ABC moving the final season of Home Improvement an hour earlier. Dharma and Greg would have been easier competition than Home Improvement and allow Mad About You to continue to at least season 8.
8:30 NewsRadio
9:00 3rd Rock from the Sun
9:30 Encore! Encore!
10:00 Dateline

Thursday
8:00 Friends
8:30 Jesse
9:00 Law and Order
10:00 ER
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