NBC announces ‘Smash’ season 2, ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ premiere dates

NBC turned out to be rather busy on Tuesday. Not only did they confirm that February 7 will be the return date for “Community” after a solid nine months off the air, but they also announced a score of other important dates for all TV fans to take note of.

Let’s begin with some of the returning series that have some interesting dates … with the biggest surprise being “The Voice” not returning until March 25. Why so late? The two guesses we can think of are that producers did not want to compete against the “American Idol” launch in January and hurt both shows, and this may also be a way to help accommodate new coach Shakira’s pregnancy. The Latin star is filling in for Christina Aguilera this year, and with the show starting so late, it may be mid-May until the live shows actually being. “Revolution” will return from a lengthy spring hiatus the same day, which to is a sign that the show is interested in keeping a great lead-in intact here rather than risking losing some of that audience.

As for “Smash,” season 2 will return for a two-hour episode on February 5 with Jennifer Hudson on board, and the show will settle in to the 11:00 time slot currently occupied by “Parenthood” the following week. “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” will air that same night at 8:00 in the place of “The Voice.”

“The Biggest Loser” will return early on Sunday, January 6 with a two-hour premiere, and from then on out will air Mondays at 8 for two hours until the start of “The Voice.” A new series in “Deception” (formerly titled “Infamous”) will be its lead-in.

Finally, we turn to Sundays, where “The Celebrity Apprentice” will kick off four straight weeks of two-hour episodes (which it should really have every week) on Sunday, March 3. It will stay this way until Eva Longoria’s dating show “Ready For Love” premieres on the 31st with a two-hour premiere of its own. There’s no news yet on when “Fashion Star” will return.

As for the final new series, “1600 Penn” is going to receive the timeslot after “The Office” beginning on January 10, while “Parks and Recreation” will be moved up an hour (and face the wrath of “Two and a Half Men”) beginning the following week.

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