Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Well, now here's my promised rant about the troubles at fourth-placed NBC. The ratings over there are terrible, and people are talking about it. I read this amusing rant over at Assistant/Atlas and the jist of it was: if you were Jeff Zucker, don't you think you should be fired? That blog post made some hard points about how NBC's ratings went down the drain 60% during his tenure and that the network has suffered due to a lot of cost-cutting. As a result, because they're so cheap at NBC, so people are saying, NBC's ushered onto the screens a lot of reality shows and kept on old shows way too long, while the other networks invested in dramas that ended up being big hits which will run for years.

I have to admit, this network has a lot of problems and most of the criticisms about how they got themselves into this mess are dead-on. I think the biggest problem with the network right now is that they haven't been innovative with their new shows. They've ridden the coattails of the 1980s for too long. They built Thursday night into Must See TV and kept it going for something like 20 years. But then the shows got old, and they started leaving the air. The turning point was when FRIENDS left the air, to be replaced by the lamest spinoff ever, Joey. Thursdays now consist of Joey, a tired Will and Grace, a fading Apprentice and a way past-its-prime ER. What a mess. Meanwhile the other networks have been busy being innovative. CBS basically created reality TV with Survivor and Amazing Race, while ABC and FOX have been putting on groundbreaking dramas. FOX has also cleaned up with American Idol. NBC's innovations all came in the 1980s and 1990s and they kept those comedies and dramas on so long that nobody noticed they weren't developing any other good shows to replace them when these shows called it quits. NBC's been running on autopilot for a lot of years and finally they ran out of gas when FRIENDS finally kicked it. Now they're in the mess they're in.

I think they have to clean out the whole schedule of a lot of old shows. I'd say half the schedule has to be replaced, at least. They need to get rid of much of the old trash and put out to pasture these shows in big decline. I say Will and Grace, ER and West Wing have to go, that Joey definitely has to be scrapped, and they should get rid of their lamest reality series for good. I don't want Average Joe blighting the NBC schedule ever again, that show is GARBAGE.

Instead, NBC should invest in top-quality comedy and drama and make sure the shows are good- no more junk. And no more spinoffs of former hits. FRIENDS is OVER, and so is JOEY. Time to search for the next big hit show and take a few risks. Look at My Name is Earl. That was a bit of a risk but it paid off. I say take a few programming risks occasionally and there will be good karma over at NBC.

The other good news is that next year the NFL will be back in prime time over on NBC. Sunday nights will be all football. I think this is a good move because all the women will be watching Desperate Housewives anyway. Might as well put on something that the guys will watch, so football is a good move for NBC. I think that NBC needs to make quite a few changes and building around the NFL is one way for this network to come back in prime time.

Jeff Zucker needs to follow my expert programming advice. Otherwise, he really will be fired. Because NBC is in the tank.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to love NBC and used GE product all the time. Now that I know the real truth about Jeff Zucker and what he has done with this once great company it makes me sick. He should have been fired a long time ago. I believe the real nuts must be the share holders and the board of directors for letting this go this far. They will all get what they deserve. Tim Jones