NBC's Lazy 'SNL' Marketing Plan

NBC still hasn't realized the full Internet marketing potential of its "Saturday Night Live" franchise. By next season, it may have a better idea.

For the fall season, it could have two shows on the air with a "SNL" theme. One has already been given the go-ahead: a one-hour drama from "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." The other is a half-hour comedy from "SNL" writer and alumnus Tina Fey.

"Studio 60" is an ensemble drama, a behind-the-scenes effort about the lives of a popular late-night sketch comedy group--kind of like "Saturday Night Live." It stars Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Bradley Whitford, D.L. Hughley, Timothy Busfield, Steven Weber, and Evan Handler.

The Tina Fey project hasn't as yet been given the go-ahead. It is also about a TV sketch comedy group, but it's a parody. Supposedly neither are said to be in conflict with one another; Fey's project is more the straight-ahead half-hour comedy.



Couple all this with NBC's previous major buzz concerning the real "SNL" and its "Lazy Sunday: Chronicles of Narnia," that found its way onto, and NBC has a "SNL" marketing spin moving into high gear.

NBC put the screws to "You Tube" to stop its playing the video. Then, in kind of a backhanded compliment, NBC started offering "Lazy Sunday" free on its own Web site. Marketing-wise, it was suggested that NBC should have allowed YouTube to continue.

Interestingly, CBS' new innertube broadband entertainment channel, will give users a chance to share videos and other content--no doubt to help spread the word. CBS gets that viral marketing takes all forms--even when it looks to unofficial venues.

And that's just the point. To get younger viewers, CBS like NBC need to break down some of these marketing firewalls.

So if next year one sees segments of "Studio 60" or of the Tina Fey show on YouTube, with no sniping from the Peacock Network, this will be good sign the network will allow everyone to share in its wealth and become personal marketers for NBC.

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