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NBC Post-Leno: Seinfeld on Thursdays, ‘Parenthood’ on Tuesdays (updated)

Here’s how NBC will fill five-hour gap left by Leno’s departure from primetime

NBC has pulled the trigger on its post-Leno primetime lineup — and Jerry Seinfeld is coming back to Thursday nights.

As expected, the network will fill the gap left by the cancellation of the primetime version of "The Jay Leno Show" with a mix of scripted and reality series.

The Seinfeld-produced comedy reality series "The Marriage Ref" will air Thursdays at 10 starting March 4 after a sneak preview on Feb. 28 following the Closing  Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

That gives NBC what, in essence, is a supersized, three-hour comedy block on Thursday. ABC earlier this month unveiled a similar gameplan on Wednesdays, with the comedic drama "Ugly Betty" moving to 10 p.m. behind the network’s half-hour comedies.

NBC is giving Ron Howard’s new drama "Parenthood" the best possible lead-in: It will air Tuesdays at 10 behind NBC’s hottest show, "The Biggest Loser." It premieres March 2.

The network is beefing up on "Law & Order." The original-recipe Dick Wolf creation returns for season 20 with a two-hour episode Monday, March 1, and will then air Mondays at 10 starting March 8. Its lead-in: "Trauma," which returns to its 9 p.m. Monday slot on March 8.

"Law & Order: SVU," meanwhile, shifts to Wednesdays at 10 on March 3. Its lead-in: Repeats of "SVU" at 9.

On Fridays, look for NBC to go with some extra reality. The Lisa Kudrow-produced reality series "Who Do You Think You Are? bows March 5 at 8 p.m.

New game show "Minute to Win It" (previously "Perfect 10") will premiere Sunday, March 14, at 8 p.m.

And "Friday Night Lights" returns to NBC on Friday, April 30, once "Who" ends.

As for the strategy behind NBC’s moves — other than, you know, making lemonade — scheduling chief Mitch Metcalf told TheWrap slotting "Parenthood" on Tuesday is an attempt to give the show "the best lead-in possible in ‘The Biggest Loser.’ The audience demographically is a perfect match for this incredibly promising new drama."

Returning Seinfeld to Thursday also seems a no-brainer.

"’The Marriage Ref’ fits like a glove on Thursday night," he said. "This move creates a seamless string of sophisticated comedy from 8:00-11:00 pm. The show has star power and great relatibility as it takes on the lighter side of marriage."

Here’s the schedule from NBC (all caps indicates new show):

MONDAYS
8-9 p.m. — “Chuck”
9-10 p.m. — “Trauma” (beginning March 8)
10-11 p.m. –“Law & Order” (returns March 1 with two-hour episode, 9-11 p.m. (ET); resumes in regular timeslot March 8)

TUESDAYS
8-10 p.m. – “The Biggest Loser”
10-11 p.m. – “PARENTHOOD” (premieres March 2)

WEDNESDAYS
8-9 p.m. – “Mercy”
9-10 p.m. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (encores beginning March 3)
10-11 p.m. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (originals beginning March 3)

THURSDAYS
8-8:30 p.m. – “Community”
8:30-9 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation”
9-9:30 p.m. – “The Office”
9:30-10 p.m. – “30 Rock”
10-11 p.m. – “THE MARRIAGE REF” (premieres March 4; sneak preview February 28)

FRIDAYS
8-9 p.m. – “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” (premieres March 5; “Friday Night Lights” returns on April 30)
9-11 p.m. – “Dateline NBC” (begins March 5)

SATURDAYS (all beginning March 6)
8-9 p.m. – “The Biggest Loser” (encore episode)
9-10 p.m. – “Law & Order” (encore episode)
10-11 p.m. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (encore episode)

SUNDAYS (all beginning March 14)
7-8 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
8-9 p.m. – “MINUTE TO WIN IT” (premieres March 14)
9-11 p.m. — “The Celebrity Apprentice” (season premiere March 14)