NBC's new three-hour Thursday night comedy block bombed spectacularly last week, according to TV By The Numbers. The dismal numbers marked not only the lowest regularly scheduled original programmed night of the season, but also apparently tied with ratings for a previous Thursday night as the network's lowest ever Thursday with original programming for adults 18-49. "So much for 'Comedy Night Done Right,'" writes the blog's Robert Seidman
The Wall Street Journal's Shira Ovide, taking Jeff Bewkes' recent firing of Time Inc.'s Jack Griffin as a jumping-off point ("with the magazine business in the midst of delicate dances with Apple and Google, this is a dangerous time to have a leadership void at Time Inc.,"she writes), rates five other management decisions made under the Time Warner CEO's tenure. The grades range from D- for sticking with AOL's Randy Falco and Ron Grant for too long, to an A for his steadying decisions after HBO's Chris Albrecht had been forced out.
Score one for Netflix over Hulu Plus: CBS just announced it will start streaming "dozens" of mostly classic shows on Netflix, most of them previously unavailable. That keeps CBS as the only major network to keep its online content off Hulu Plus. Among the shows unavailable on other platforms include "Cheers" and "Frasier." Don't look for any current shows beyond "Medium" (just canceled) and Canadian import "Flashpoint."The lack of current content or even recently syndicated shows indicates "that CBS, like other members of big media, sees Netflix distribution as a serious competitor to the still-lucrative syndication market. Some of the …
"Most media people I've met don't listen... They don't know what I want." That's Scott Fink, owner of a New Port Richey, Fla. Hyundai dealership, explaining how working with a TV ad consultant helped his store become the third largest Hyundai dealership in the U.S. "TV reps think they know how to bullshit me," says Fink in the TV Newscheck story. "Well, I'm No. 1 [in the Southeast]. If they can't say, 'Let me show you a way to sell more cars,' I don't care." Check out P.J. Bednarski's case history for more tips.
And speaking of Netflix, as we were in the item above, it shouldn't face any serious competition from Amazon's new video streaming service. Available today for free to anyone who paid the $79 for Amazon's prime delivery service, the video subscription so far provides only 5,000 movies and TV shows -- "and almost none of them are mainstream favorites," writes All Things Digital's Peter Kafka.Consider Amazon's move "a cautious toe-touch into Web video subscriptions," definitely not a Netflix-killer, he says.
The iconic New York Times Week In Review section -- introduced in 1935 -- will undergo a total "reinvention," according to a staff memo discussed in the Huffington Post. Everything about the analysis and opinion section could be changed, including its name, in a project that will "involve staff from both the newsroom and the editorial department," says the memo. Editors also plan to expand the Times online opinion section and "enhance our readers' involvement in our work."
If you want your brand to be remembered, consider having your CEO go incognito for a low-level job. That's the formula behind "Undercover Boss," which last month pushed Norwegian Cruise Line to the top of Nielsen's Top 10 Most Recalled In-Program Placements. Two other brands whose CEOs went undercover -- UniFirst and Belor -- also made the list, at number seven and eight respectively. Coca-Cola captured five spots on the list with the brand's usual appearance on "American Idol."
It's not just publishers who are looking askance at Apple's iPad restrictions -- now the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are considering examining whether Apple is violating antitrust law by steering subscription sales through its own system and taking a 30% cut. Still, stress Thomas Catan and Nathan Koppel in the Wall Street Journal, both entities' interest in Apple "is at a preliminary stage, and might not develop into either a formal investigation or any action against the company."
There were some juicy examples of ousted Time Inc. Chief Exec Jack Griffin's corporate faux pas in a post-mortem in New York Times' Media Decoder. For one, he insisted on being at the top of all editorial mastheads for Time Inc. publications, listed before the editor in chief. And he made such "impolitic" remarks as telling a town hall meeting that he was glad to be at a company "where I can actually read the magazines" -- unlike his previous employer, Meredith, which published women's mags.
Yes, sports telecasts can get good ratings, but they lose millions of dollars a year. That was the message from Steve Burke, the new CEO of NBCUniversal, who also expressed reservations about bidding for future Olympics, according to Studio Briefing. Burke also said the company's focus would be the company's profitable cable channels, not the ailing broadcast one, which he didn't expect to see perk up until "three, four, five years" had passed.