Good NBC Idea: Not Following Other Network's Scheduling Moves

CBS has done it; so have Fox and ABC.

But fourth place NBC isn't ready to move its top-rated summer reality show to the highly competitive regular broadcast season that begins in September. Its high-flying reality show "America's Got Talent" will remain a summer-only program -- for now.

Years ago CBS scheduled its surprise summer 2000 hit, "Survivor" -- the first high-rated summer reality show of the modern TV era -- on its regular fall schedule.

Fox then did the same with "American Idol." Next ABC moved "Dancing with the Stars" to its regular season lineup. Upcoming this fall, Fox will do it again with "So You Think You Can Dance?"

It would seem obvious to some: Find a place for NBC's "Talent," the highest-rated original network show this summer. Media analysts say NBC could clearly use the help.

That won't happen now. Obstacles include a long audition process for "Talent." Another has to do with one noted personality -- Simon Cowell, the show's creator and executive producer.



While the case for a fourth-quarter September airing for the show could be made, it is less possible in January. That's when Cowell's on-air presence on "American Idol" could severely hurt ratings for "Talent" -- let alone rub creative/network relationships between Fox and NBC the wrong way.

For years programmers have complained there is decreasingly little time to nurture TV shows, which in the past could involve moving a show around a network's schedule to find the correct home.

Nowadays new shows live or die within a few weeks. Just a couple of weeks of ratings trends can exile a show. Like theatrical movies, many network TV shows that don't "open" don't continue.

But that isn't the case in the summer -- where shows get more time to find their comfort zone.

Some praise should be directed at NBC Universal entertainment chief Ben Silverman in this regard, not looking for a quick fix for the network's bigger prime-time problems.

Not that NBC shouldn't try stuff -- but if "Talent" got crushed by such a summer-to-fall move, NBC would be skewered for having hurt a promising property.

NBC will already be dealing with the big changes that are coming from removing five hours of mostly TV dramas, replacing them with a Jay Leno talk show every week night at 10 p.m.

NBC doesn't need to add to what will be the most scrutinized network programming decision in years.

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