NBC Reloads Like the New York Yankees

Just weeks before the start gun goes off in the upfront network race, the wild card network in the event is showing that it has at least two pair.

NBC got rid of "The Today Show's" executive producer, Tom Touchet, a day after it plunked down $600 million a year to bolster its primetime lineup with NFL "Sunday Night Football."

The bet is more moves are on the way at the Peacock network. NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker doesn't like to lose. Just like the New York Yankees, he doesn't want to rebuild, just reload.

Hire one Randy Johnson as your pitcher and, in theory, you are back striking out the opposition. Make one programming move - or two - and you're back in the driver's seat among TV advertisers.

"The Today Show" is still the leader in the early morning network race with just over 6 million viewers. But "Good Morning America" is gaining ground, now at only 5.4 million viewers.



So NBC has replaced Touchet with Phil Griffin, vice president of primetime programming at MSNBC, will become vice president and executive-in-charge of "Today." NBC sports producer Jim Bell will be the executive producer of the show.

NBC was also losing ground on Sunday night - as ABC's surprising primetime lineup was crushing shows like "Crossing Jordan" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

Boom. Here comes the quick fix of NFL football - a quick programming drug for programming executives who can't think of anything else to do.

More surprises? We can only guess. Already talk is that NBC - still highest-price network in terms of CPMs - might do something radical to stir advertisers to help charge its bottom line. That might give marketers a good flat CPM versus a year ago in exchange for lots of dollar volume at all its networks.

That sounds good, but then again, some best laid plans are just the expensive ones: New York Yankees are in last place so far this year.

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