NBC Hopes "Daniel" Will Follow In "NYPD Blue" Footsteps

NBC's "The Book of Daniel" is in a tough spot, and certainly isn't ordering around TV advertisers these days.

The TV show is unfortunately in the middle of a situation where, even if it wasn't targeted by TV pressure groups, advertisers would have a hard time buying the show.

"Daniel" is running on a low-rated TV network--one that currently isn't at the top of any advertisers' lists. Secondly, it's on a relatively weak TV advertising night--Friday, which historically has the next to lowest HUT (homes using TV) data. Thirdly, NBC is selling the show in an overall relatively lukewarm TV advertising marketplace.

All that spells trouble. Now add the fact that there is some controversy around the content. That spells more trouble.

So NBC has resorted to doing what it can--scraping the barrel for small TV advertisers (looking for cheap TV commercial time), direct TV advertisers (who never seem to care about content), and movie companies.



Movies studios, the highest paying advertisers on TV, are still looking to work any weekend marketing magic they can on Fridays. Additionally, they are hardly ever content-sensitive--since they are usually touting their own controversial content. Thus Sony Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, and NBC's own Universal studios (with a 90-second long "King Kong" mini-trailer), bought time. NBC filled out the rest of its advertising avails by running promos for other shows.

At first glance, one wonders why NBC didn't try to package "Daniel" with say, the upcoming Torino Winter Olympics--a high-demand advertising event that is running on NBC in February. But NBC should be given credit for not forcing any last minute Olympic advertisers to buy something that isn't proven and probably doesn't make media package sense to marketers.

TV shows have been through this before--ABC's "NYPD Blue" had many of the same problems in the mid-1990s. But good writing and storytelling eventually won out. NBC hopes for the same.

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