AS SEEN ON: NBC reveals new pilots, returning programs

by Leslie Adkins | 5/6/09 2:34am

NBC became the first network to announce its summer and fall lineup on Monday, starting off a several week period during which networks will announce which shows make the cut, and which are destined for the chopping block.

Some of the highlights include "Community," a comedy about slackers trying to improve themselves at community college, and "Mercy," a drama about the lives of nurses, featuring television veteran Michelle Trachtenberg ("Gossip Girl," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer").

Next winter, look for the premier of "Day One," a miniseries about the residents of a southern California apartment complex who must come to terms with living after a cataclysmic event.

NBC also announced, as expected, that the popular network series and critical love-hate object "Heroes" was renewed for a fourth season, as was the new mid-season drama "Southland." "Southland," already holding its own in the ratings after just four episodes, should help reinvigorate the network's waning dramatic power.

NBC also gave the green light to Amy Poehler's newest comedic feat, "Parks and Recreation," which is penned by the creators of "The Office."

Seasoned ratings winners such as "30 Rock," "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" and "The Office" have already been renewed, but more than a few critical gems have uncertain futures. The ordinary-guy-turned-spy series "Chuck," along with "Law and Order," "Medium" and "My Name Is Earl" have yet to receive an order for another season. I'm crossing my fingers for "Earl" and its delightfully talented cast, which has won a total of three Emmys for acting.

I'd bet that "Chuck" will indeed receive a renewal, as will the NBC kingpin "Law and Order." Critics have speculated that "Medium" will most likely return as well. Unfortunately, the little seen "Life" faced the guillotine Monday at noon and was axed from NBC's lineup.

Other networks have yet to announce their renewals and cancellations. FOX will reveal its lineup on May 18, the day before NBC announces the fate of those of its shows currently waiting in limbo. The four major networks are clearly angling to see what shows can be scooped up from other networks and revived. Hopefully all of the strategizing will be worth the wait.