NBC Universal should be crowning its one-year union as something big, long lasting, and perfectly successful. Instead, the merger has resulted in what a young marriage sometimes becomes -- a good partnership, a good honeymoon, but in a leaky and cold, one-bedroom apartment.
For over a decade, NBC was the top in primetime programming. This year, the network finally took its tumble - which was predicted in each of the last five years. It didn't just slip, it was kind of a free-fall drop to fourth place overall, losing 15 percent and more in adult 18 to 49 ratings points.
Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal Television Group president, acknowledged the pains and problems with New York TV business reporters yesterday. He ruminated again on the loss of "Friends" and the network's inability to find a big replacement show was at the root of network's downfall.
Not that the network didn't try. For each of the last five years, Zucker attempted, like Scott Sassa before him, to find a successor to "Friends." At the same time, each year NBC played the tough mating game of attempting to get back "Friends" for yet one more season.
It worked and worked and worked, and then it didn't.
But like any new marriage, you still wake up in the morning and go to work, no matter if you have to take a cold shower. Worse still, one partner may be fired from their job - yet the partnership goes on and looks for better days. Overall, Bob Wright, NBC Universal chairman and CEO, said despite the rough season, the merger was rather successful since "50 percent of all marriages end in divorce."
But Wright has it somewhat wrong. The divorce rate in Los Angeles county - the home of major television and film entertainment - is actually 73 percent.
If things don't turn around, or at least build for the future, NBC and Universal might be looking to sell off some of that broken-down apartment furniture to keep the marriage moving.