NBC's once-invincible Thursday night lineup took a hit when top-rated sitcom Friends tumbled to CBS's Survivor.
Now the eye network is taking aim at another Thursday NBC staple, No. 1-rated drama ER, Variety reports.
On March 1, CBS will launch the cop drama Big Apple, from NYPD Blue creator David Milch and Miami Vice's Anthony Yerkovich. The new drama will air opposite ER in the 10 p.m. slot, cementing CBS's now-solid Thursday lineup of Survivor at 8 p.m. and CSI at 9 p.m.
Leading the dramatic ensemble about New York cops, the FBI, and the mob is none other than Married … With Children's big dumb schmuck, Ed O'Neill. Yep, you read that right: Al Bundy is playing it straight.
Coincidentally, O'Neill's former Married co-stars Katey Sagal and Christina Applegate turned up briefly on NBC schedules in "must-cancel" series Tucker and Jesse, respectively.
Apple will also get exposure in the primo post-Survivor slot on March 14 and March 21. Survivor is switching to Wednesdays for two weeks due to NCAA basketball coverage.
Although CBS isn't predicting that it will knock out ER with its new show, it is hopeful that the cop drama can improve on the numbers that 48 Hours is currently garnering in the time slot. Apple's debut falls nicely in repeat zone for ER, so it may not get creamed right away, say analysts.
Reuters/Variety contributed to this story.