Community Gets An
Extended Winter Break

NBC warms up its midseason schedule with fresh shots of vodka laughs, Broadway dreams, legal thrills and fashion divas. Which two returning shows didn't make the grade?

NBC released its new 2012 mid-season schedule, adding four new series to its primetime lineup, while putting Joel McHale's Community and Maria Bello's Prime Suspects in detention. Smash, The Firm, Fashion Star and Are You There, Chelsea? join returning faves The Voice, 30 Rock, The Celebrity Apprentice and Who Do You Think You Are? on the schedule (see below).

Community gets cut from winter season

Word is, neither Community nor Prime Suspect has actually been given the axe, but the future is looking grim for Prime Suspect. NBC's not giving up on its Thursdays, however. Up All Night moves to the coveted night spot, starting Jan. 12 -- the same night 30 Rock takes over Community's timeslot. John Grisham's The Firm will replace Prime Suspect in its timeslot.

January 2012 will also see timeslot shakeups for WhitneyRock Center with Brian Williams and Harry's Law. Whitney moves to Wednesdays starting Jan. 11, to become the lead in for her pal Chelsea Handler's Are You There, Chelsea? Rock Center with Brian Williams will join the funny girls on Wednesdays, starting Feb. 8. Harry's Law moves to 8 p.m. Sundays, starting Mar. 4.

Are You There, Chelsea?

Based on Chelsea Handler's bestseller Are You There, Vodka? It's Me Chelsea, NBC's upcoming sitcom Are You There, Chelsea? follows the exploits of twenty-something bartender Chelsea (Laura Prepon), a strong-willed force who may or may not one day become the comedienne/talk show host we all know and love.

After a behind the scenes reshuffling, which included a name tightening, cast changes and moving the characters from Los Angeles to New Jersey, Are You There, Chelsea? is set to premiere Jan. 11. Handler will show up on occasion as her namesake's big sister.

Smash

This musical drama celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of Broadway, introducing America to dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire -- to be a "Smash." Songwriting duo Tom (Christian Borle) and Julia (Debra Messing) kick off the drama when they decide to write a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, even though Julia is just getting into the adoption process with her hubby (Brian d'Arcy James).

The cast of character also includes wide-eyed Karen (Katharine McPhee) and stage veteran Ivy Bell (Megan Hilty), who will vie for the lead; a tenacious producer (Anjelica Huston) and a brilliant, cunning and amoral director (Jack Davenport). Jaime Cepero and Raza Jaffrey also star. Smash premieres

The Firm

Best-selling author John Grisham brought The Firm from the page to the big screen. Now, he's rebooting the legal thriller for the small screen. The upcoming TV series picks up ten years after a young Mitch McDeere infamously brought down his firm, which was a front for the mob. He and his family are finally liberated from their stint in Witness Protection, only to learn they're not out of danger yet. Josh Lucas, Juliette Lewis, Molly Parker, Callum Keith Rennie and Natasha Calis star.

In the clip above, Grisham himself tells you what to expect when The Firm hits NBC for its 2-hour series premiere on Sunday, Jan. 8. The Firm will then fall directly into its regular timeslot on Thursdays.

Fashion Star

Lights, camera, fashion! Fashion Star host and executive producer Elle Macpherson and celebrity mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos are looking for the next big brand in fashion, and 14 unknown designers will battle for the title -- not to mention the chance to launch their collections in three of America's largest retailers -- Macy's, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Fashion Star drops this winter on NBC

Each week will begin with a wild fashion show, replete with musical performances, dancers and models doing their things in front of a studio audience. Then, it's on to the challenges, which push the designers to further develop and expand their individual brands.

While the winner will receive $6 million in orders for their capsule collections from the three stores, Fashion Star judges Caprice Willard (Macy's), Terron E. Schaefer (Saks Fifth Avenue) and Nicole Christie (H&M) will also vie for the right to purchase and exclusively carry the work the contestants turn out each week.

Fashion Star's two-hour premiere airs March 13, and then it moves to its regular timeslot, Tuesdays, beginning March 20.

NBC Winter 2012 Schedule

MONDAYS
8-10 p.m. -- The Voice (season premiere Sunday, Feb. 5; series resumes Feb. 6)
10-11 p.m. - Smash (beginning Feb. 6)

TUESDAYS
8-10 p.m. -- The Biggest Loser (beginning Jan. 3)
10-11 p.m. - Parenthood (through Feb. 28)
10-11 p.m. - Fashion Star (beginning Tuesday, March 13, 9-11 p.m. with two-hour premiere; one-hour broadcasts resume March 20)

WEDNESDAYS
8-8:30 p.m. - Whitney (beginning Jan. 11)
8:30-9 p.m. - Are you there, Chelsea? (beginning Jan.11)
9-10 p.m. - Rock Center with Brian Williams (beginning Feb. 8)
10-11 p.m. - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

THURSDAYS
8-8:30 p.m. - 30 Rock (beginning Jan.12)
8:30-9 p.m. - Parks and Recreation
9-9:30 p.m. - The Office
9:30-10 p.m. - Up All Night (beginning Jan.12)
10-11 p.m. - The Firm (two-hour premiere Sunday, Jan 8; Thursday time period premiere Jan. 12)

FRIDAYS
8-9 p.m. - Who Do You Think You Are? (beginning Feb. 3)
9-10 p.m. - Grimm
10-11 p.m. - Dateline NBC

SATURDAYS
8-9 p.m. - Harry's Law (encore broadcasts)
9-10 p.m. -- The Firm (encore broadcasts)
10-11 p.m. - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (encore broadcasts)

SUNDAYS
7-9 p.m. - Dateline NBC (beginning Jan. 8)
8-9 p.m. - Harry's Law (beginning March 4)
9-11 p.m. - The Celebrity Apprentice (beginning Feb. 12)

Images courtesy of NBC

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Comments on "NBC gives winter schedule a shot of vodka"

Joe November 29, 2011 | 10:53 AM

Dropping Prime Suspect from the winter schedule is one more reason to question NBC's outlook on the future. Prime Suspect was one of the best, most entertaining shows this year, with realism and great actors. Sad. Very sad.

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