I awoke on this Sunday morning to find that NBC had already decided to leak its 2010-2011 fall primetime schedule to the trades six or seven hours ahead of when the network was already supposed to leak the schedule ahead of its upfront presentation on Monday.
 
That wasn't really fair, NBC. All I ask is one morning of sleep per week and you have to go and mess that up? Sigh.
 
In that spirit, somewhat grouchy and not fully caffeinated, here are a few initial thoughts I had looking over NBC's schedule. Sepinwall will have more exhaustive analysis, including quotes from the evening NBC press conference, later...
 
[Click through for said thoughts...]
 
Why move "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" back to 9 p.m.? As Seth & Amy would say, REALLY? NBC was forced to move "SVU" to 9 p.m. last fall due to The Unspeakable Jay Leno Experiment. It didn't work. The show's ratings plummeted. Then NBC moved "SVU" back to 10 p.m. after The Unspeakable Jay Leno Experiment ended and its ratings went back up. You know why? Because a show about cops investigating grisly sex crimes in New York City is better suited for 10 p.m. then 9 p.m. That's not so complicated. Also, they went up because CBS already has a more successful (not nearly as good) show about law enforcement investigating crimes (often of a sexual nature) airing at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. Unless NBC knows CBS is moving "Criminal Minds" and unless NBC has some research showing that last fall's 9 p.m. "SVU" ratings drop was just an aberration, this slotting makes zero sense.
 
Why not try "Chuck" elsewhere? Just for fun. We know NBC has no interest in  ever giving "Chuck" a proven lead-in and that's OK. But if you look at Monday nights, "Chuck," "The Event" and "Chase" all seem pretty compatible. Where would the harm be in spending the summer promoting "The Event" and generating buzz and then trying that out at 8 p.m. and maybe moving "Chuck" to 9? NBC *knows* what "Chuck" will do at 8 p.m. and it's unclear if a well-promoted freshman show would do any worse. Instead, "Chuck" will have to lead-off the night, again, which doesn't really help "The Event" and doesn't really help "Chuck." Still it's good to see "Chuck" back for the fall. 
 
Time to program Wednesdays at 8 p.m. NBC has thrown down the gauntlet here. It's been a couple years since there was an actual hit show on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (unless you count the times "Idol" has aired there). By programming J.J. Abrams' relatively anticipated new drama "Undercovers" in the hour, NBC is saying "We think that's vulnerable territory." And the network is correct. Now we'll see if CBS, ABC and FOX follow suit and things get really interesting in one of the softest hours for my DVR.
 
"Parks and Recreation" gets hosed, a little bit. Sepinwall's got a lot more to say here. I actually somewhat understand the decision and the need to move "30 Rock" and try something else after "The Office" while "The Office" is still capable of providing a lead-in. Still, I've grown to love "Parks and Recreation" and it'll be disappointing not to have it on Thursdays in the fall. Looking at NBC's Thursday, I'm actually more intrigued by the difficulties "Love Bites" will face going up against ABC's "Private Practice," a strong performer in the young female demos. It's my guess that NBC will emphasize the "comedy" aspect of "Love Bites" and use that as a selling point, rather than the "romantic anthology" aspect. Then again, NBC's most recent attempt to follow up on studies showing that viewers want comedy at 10 p.m. didn't go so well.
 
"Outlaw" is on an island. So NBC picks up a show from Conan O'Brien's production company, which seems pretty shocking. Then the network schedules the Jimmy Smits legal drama "Outlaw" for 10 p.m. on Fridays. Ouch. If you can figure out the flow of NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?," "Dateline" "Outlaw" Fridays, let me know. I guess "Dateline" covers legal issues sometimes. Regardless, that's a tough slot for "Outlaw," especially if CBS decides to transplant an established drama to the 10 p.m. hour to replace "Numb3rs." Like if CBS decides to move "Good Wife," for example, to Fridays at 10 p.m.? NBC might as well pack it in.
 
Anyway, those are just a few quick thoughts. Sepinwall will have more later...
 
What do you think about NBC's primetime schedule?