NBC highlights spring sweeps


NBC heads into sweeps with all new "Around the World" episodes and a special "winner takes all" Star Wars-themed episode of its hit game show "Deal or No Deal," the summer season premiere of the successful "American Gladiators," the 200th episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," a Mother’s Day special hosted by Donny and Marie Osmond, and an array season finales that include one-hour episodes of "My Name is Earl" and "The Office."

In addition, NBC will showcase a marquee of series guest stars that include Robin Williams, Matthew Broderick, Edie Falco, Amy Ryan, Hal Holbrook, Aida Turturro, Kelly Preston, Brian Dennehy, Alyssa Milano, Stanley Tucci, Miguel Ferrer, Steve Buscemi, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Rankin, Michael Rapaport and Jon Heder and the introduction of Anthony Anderson as a new series regular on "Law & Order."

A special two-hour "winner takes all" Star Wars-themed episode of "Deal or No Deal" will shift NBC’s sweep month into hyperdrive on Monday, April 28 with guest supporters Carrie Fisher, Chewbacca, R2D2 and Darth Vader as the villainous banker. Then the series takes an international twist as Howie Mandel hosts three, two-hour "Around the World" episodes broadcast on May 5, 7 and 14 where U.S. contestants travel abroad to play the game according to the international country’s rules. Estonia is the first stop on Monday, May 5 (8-10 p.m. ET). The contestants hit the Philippines Wednesday, May 7 (8-10 p.m. ET) and then it’s on to South Africa on Wednesday, May 14 (8-10 p.m. ET) where two contestants play the South African version of "Deal or No Deal" and hopefully walk away with the top prize of $1 million.

"American Gladiators" returns with an all-new gladiator arena, new challenges and new gladiators. It all starts with its two-hour summer season premiere on Monday, May 12 on NBC (8-10 p.m. ET) followed by its regular day and time on Mondays (8-9:30 p.m. ET) beginning May 19.

Among specials, Donny and Marie Osmond, will host the "Teleflora Presents America’s Favorite Mom" Mother’s Day special (7-8 p.m. ET). During the broadcast, the Osmonds will crown one lucky winner "America’s Favorite Mom" based on the results of Americans voting online the week of May 5-9.

On the drama series side, Williams plays a criminal prankster who turns his trial into a media circus and torments the SVU detectives on the 200th episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (Tuesdays, 10-11). Meanwhile, as longtime cast member Jesse Martin (Detective Green) departs, Anderson joins the regular cast of "Law & Order" (Wednesdays, 10-11 p.m.) as the new partner of Detective Lupo (Jeremy Sisto).

Turturro appears in a three-episode arc on "ER" (Thursdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) as a patient who bonds with Neela (Parminder Nagra). Holbrook, Tucci and Buscemi all guest-star in the season finale of "ER" on May 15. Ferrer ("Crossing Jordan," "Bionic Woman") makes an appearance in a twisted episode of "Medium" on Monday, May 5, while Preston wraps up her four-episode arc as an attractive venture capitalist in "Medium" (Mondays, 10-11 p.m.), which concludes its season on May 12.

On the comedy side, Broderick and Falco guest-star on "30 Rock" (9:30-10 p.m.) in the season finale, Thursday, May 8; while Golden Globe winner Dennehy appears as a teamster with Sudeikis (NBC’s "Saturday Night Live") who returns as Floyd on the Emmy-winning series’ May 1 episode. Rankin ("Six Feet Under") returns to "Earl" (Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m. ET) with an April 24 guest appearance. Additionally, Milano guest-stars on "My Name Is Earl" (Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m. ET) on May 1, while Rapaport ("The War at Home") also guest-stars on the May 1 episode and Heder ("Napoleon Dynamite") is featured on May 8. On Thursday, May 15th back-to-back hour finales of "My Name is Earl," guest-starring Milano, and "The Office," featuring Oscar-nominated guest star Ryan, will wrap up the season for those acclaimed comedies from 8-9 p.m. ET and 9-10 p.m. ET respectively.
Season finale dates for NBC’s series in April and May (all times ET):

SCRUBS – Thursday, May 8 (8:30-9 p.m.)

30 ROCK – Thursday, May 8 (9:31-10:01 p.m.)

MEDIUM – Monday, May 12 (10-11 p.m.)

LAW & ORDER: SVU – Tuesday, May 13 (10-11 p.m.)

MY NAME IS EARL – Thursday, May 15 (8-9 p.m.)

THE OFFICE – Thursday, May 15 (9-10:01 p.m.)

ER — Thursday, May 15 (10:01-11 p.m.)

LAW & ORDER – Wednesday, May 21 (10-11 p.m.)

MONK – Sunday, May 25 (8-9 p.m.)

PSYCH – Sunday, May 25 (9-10 p.m.)