The new lineup -- announced at the Metropolitan Opera House -- will also feature such stars as Christine Baranski, James Caan, Rob Lowe and Ryan O'Neal. The network revealed its plans for the upcoming prime time season at the "upfronts" -- the annual meetings with advertisers at which the major networks announce their programming schedules and pre-sell as much advertising time as they can.
NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker presented a program schedule heavy in scripted programs. The only reality-based show in the lineup is the holdover hit "Fear Factor," which will run on Mondays at 8 p.m.
The new comedies include "Whoopi," starring Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg ("Ghost"); and "Happy Family," starring Emmy-winners Baranski ("Cybill") and Larroquette ("Night Court").
Another new comedy -- "Coupling," starring Emmy-winner Rena Sofer ("General Hospital," "Ed") and Colin Ferguson ("The Opposite of Sex") -- is already generating controversy for its frank talk about sex. It's based on the BBC hit of the same name.
The new drama "Las Vegas" stars Caan ("The Godfather"), heading an ensemble cast. Lowe, who left "The West Wing" during its fourth season, returns to prime time drama in a legal drama titled "The Lyon's Den." The other new drama is "Miss Match," starring Silverstone ("Clueless") and O'Neal ("Love Story").
"Las Vegas" will replace "Third Watch" at 9 p.m. on Monday, with "Third Watch" moving to 10 p.m. to start its fifth season. "Crossing Jordan" -- which currently holds the 10 p.m. slot -- will return to the schedule in January. Series star Jill Hennessy is taking time off to have a baby.
The Tuesday schedule will feature "Whoopi" and "Happy Family," along with the returning comedies "Frasier" and "Good Morning, Miami" -- which is moving to Tuesday from its freshman season Thursday night slot. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" will begin its fifth season on NBC on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., replacing "Dateline NBC."
Wednesday night's lineup will remain unchanged from the 2003-03 season.
Thursday nights, which have long been highly productive for NBC, will feature the final season of "Friends," leading off at 8 p.m. The comedy lineup -- including "Scrubs," "Will & Grace" and "Coupling" -- will be followed by the Emmy-winning medical drama "ER."
Zucker announced Monday that the network has extended its current deal with "ER" producers to keep the show on in prime time through its 12th season in 2005-06.
Fridays will feature "Miss Match," created by "Sex and the City's" Darren Star, followed by "Dateline NBC" and the Peabody Award-winning drama "Boomtown" -- which will add Vanessa L. Williams to the cast for its 2003-04 season.
NBC will continue to televise theatrical features on Saturday nights -- with a lineup that includes the network TV premieres of "Traffic," "A Perfect Storm" and "Shrek."
The Sunday lineup will lead up with "Dateline NBC," followed by the second season of "American Dreams." "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and Lowe's new drama "Lyon's Den" wrap up the night.
Zucker announced that "The Tracy Morgan Show," starring "Saturday Night Live's" Tracy Morgan, will debut later this fall. He also said the reality series "The Apprentice" -- created by "Survivor's" Mark Burnett and featuring developer Donald Trump -- will premiere in early 2004.