No More Spin: NBC Needs A Big, Fat Hit

Strip out the spin, and all the drama around its executive personalities -- NBC needs a hit. Pure and simple.

With the TV critics tour a couple of week away --  as well as the growing importance of next week's Comic-Con -- NBC Universal needs to create buzz for its flagship NBC network, still sitting in fourth place, and get it on better footing.

The network has been in the doldrums for a couple of years, apart from a little stirring among viewers for "30 Rock" and "The Office" and an early rise and recent fizzle for "Heroes."

The press wants to find blame . Former NBC programming executive Katherine Pope, current NBC programming chief Ben Silverman, and even NBC Universal president/CEO Jeff Zucker, have been high on this list. To NBC Universal's credit, there's the saving financial grace of its cable networks -- as well as the NBC network's still-thriving non-prime-time dayparts, late-night programming ("The Tonight Show" and "Late Night") and early morning ("Today").



But in the most recent financial reporting period, NBC Universal posted weaker results -- mostly from NBC TV stations, as well as its stake in Ion Media, which is in bankruptcy, and a $150 million loss due to the Beijing Olympics.

Silverman has been credited with lowering the costs of productions, as well as giving all new efforts added marketing/advertising spin with added brand entertainment deals. All well and good. But at some point you want to have hits -- or whatever one calls a 4.0-plus-rated show among 18-49 viewers these days.

In years past, broadcast ratings erosion didn't matter that much -- not even a 5% annual erosion rate. Networks could still charge 9% or 12% more than they did for the previous year's advertising.

Not so these days. Broadcast erosion is now coupled with media deflation -- a deadly combination. NBC needs to generate ratings points. And Hulu isn't the answer. To paraphrase Zucker, it is still a world where few want to trade traditional TV dollars for digital pennies.

Right now, more than ever, NBC needs a big, fat hit.

1 comment about "No More Spin: NBC Needs A Big, Fat Hit ".
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  1. Jesus m. Medina-rodrigueze from MoonLeopard Productions, July 22, 2009 at 9:31 p.m.

    NBC needs a hit, and that doesn't work with crap like 'America's got Talent', or the other reality garbage. These are the 'gong shows' of today. These were the old 'B' programs, shown before prime time. Now they are shown in prime time and expected to deliver an audience? I don't think so, not when there are far better shows on their own cable channels.

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