Apparently, the Internet is not the only place where advertising money is hard to come by these days.

Daily Variety is reporting that NBC is expected to hand out pink slips to as many as 600 employees — that’s 10% of its 6,000 strong work force — over the next six months as part of a network-wide cost-slashing move.

The layoffs are due to a slowing economy and a weak ad sales marketplace. According to the report, cuts are expected across the board, affecting all departments and divisions including affiliated cable channels such as MSNBC and CNBC. THE POWER OF ‘TEMPTATION’: Close, but not enough. Fox’s dream of island fever was smashed Wednesday night as its controversial reality series “Temptation Island” placed second behind NBC’s “The West Wing” in overall ratings, according to Nielsen Media Research.

But all was not lost as the Fox series kicked the presidential drama’s butt in the key demographic of adults ages 18 to 49. Of note: The show’s debut drew more viewers than the debut of another little ‘ol reality series called “Survivor.”

WRITERS GUILD UNVEILS NOMINATIONS: The Writers Guild of America has announced the nominees for its annual awards honoring excellence in television and radio writing, Variety reports.

On the tube front, NBC nabbed a field-best 10 nods, with “The West Wing” taking three, followed by “Frasier” and “Saturday Night Live” with two apiece.

“Will & Grace,” the soap opera “Passions” and “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” each received one nod for the Peacock Network.

As to the other networks, CBS received four nods and ABC six.

HBO led the cable networks with five, including two apiece for “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.”

PBS grabbed nine noms, mostly for its documentary offerings.

For a complete list of nominees, go to WGA’s Web site

NEW TV SKED: Here’s a rundown of the series renewals, schedule changes and cameo surprises that will take place at NBC and CBS next season, coming straight atcha from the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.


“Passions” — the daytime soap — will be renewed for a third season. Critically acclaimed rookie sitcom “Ed” will be picked up for its second season. Susan Sarandon and Jason “Seinfeld” Alexander will make a special appearance on “Friends” in February. ABC sportscasters Jim McKay will work as a member of NBC’s broadcast team in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, to take place in Salt Lake City, Utah. CBS

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” will move to Thursdays at 9 p.m. beginning Feb. 1 after “Survivor: The Australian Outback.” “The Fugitive” will move to Fridays at 9 p.m. beginning Feb. 2. “Diagnosis Murder” will move to Fridays at 8 p.m. starting from Feb. 2. Chance around your life schedule accordingly.