There are some interesting rating issues to watch for in each of the three hours of NBC's all-night comedy experiment, premiering tonight, so here are a few ratings and creative thoughts on the six shows that will make up this lineup.
The Office (9/8c) - Since NBC moved The Office to the 9:00 spot in fall 2007, it's been far and away the brightest spot in NBC's Thursday comedy lineup - and, pretty soon after, in NBC's entire lineup of scripted TV. Its 3.76 fall 2010 average is down about 10% from the fall 2009 numbers, but I hold out some optimism that the year-to-year comparisons might get better as the late April departure of Steve Carell approaches. It's one of my favorite shows ever and, even though it's certainly not as good as it was in its season 2 prime, it was still often my personal favorite of the four comedies this fall. I think it still has quite a bit to offer most weeks. But I'm kinda out on an island on that one in Internet-land, so... I guess believe all the real critics who are piling on this one?
30 Rock (10/9c) - Kicking off the final hour of this all-night experiment is the three-time Emmy winner for Outstanding Comedy Series. It's never been a ratings giant, and though its 2.40 average at 8:30 this fall was down from its previous season, it still made a decent transition out of the post-Office slot. Now it moves to its fourth different regularly scheduled half-hour on NBC Thursdays and will try to establish a foothold for a genre that hasn't been programmed there in many years.