More NBC at TCA:
Ben Silverman “Betting On Bob” To Turn Around NBC
NBC Wants To Keep Lauer & Seacrest In The Fold
There was no elephant in the room during NBC’s executive session at TCA’s winter press tour today because chairman Bob Greenblatt shot it down right away. “We had a really bad fall, worse than I’d hoped for but about as I expected,” was Greenblatt’s first line onstage. “People say the only way to go is up which I believe is true, but there is a long way to get there.” The new NBC chairman made no bones about the network’s poor ratings performance this season, including from NBC’s new shows, which he blamed on a lack of strong lead-ins, an aging returning lineup and major cast changes on flagship series Law & Order: SVU and The Office. But “the good news is that we have new owners willing to invest not only with financial resources but with patience,” Greenblatt said, referring to Comcast and NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke.
Greenblatt, who came from pay cable network Showtime, attributed the demise of some of NBC’s new shows to the challenges of the the broadcast model, noting that canceled Prime Suspect would’ve been renewed at Showtime after three episodes and would’ve probably run on the cable network for 4-5 seasons. Greenblatt started several sentences with “The beauty of cable”, playing up pay cable’s advantage with a smaller volume of shows that allows all of them to get a significant marketing push and cut through the clutter as well as the different cable economics that allow quality shows to run for years despite low ratings. Greenblatt said that in his first season at NBC he delivered “four times as many good shows as I ever delivered at Showtime” in one year, listing such series as Prime Suspect, Whitney, Up All Night, Grimm and the upcoming Awake and Smash. But he was quick to note that he is not sure if “these shows are enough to turn NBC around. I hope they’re the beginning of new foundation to move us in the right direction.”
Prime Suspect‘s failure to click with viewers “was probably the biggest disappointment,” Greenblatt said. “Was it too cable, was (Maria Bello’s character) too abrasive? Maybe I should say it was the hat and move on.” In the final analysis, it seems like “the audience wanted to be entertained with comedy and fairytales” this fall, “and there wasn’t appetite in the country for a hard-hitting cop show.” Greenblatt was more blunt about NBC’s other canceled new fall drama, The Playboy Club. “Playboy was just a rejected concept,” he said. “We thought going into the period would interest people, but I don’t think people were that fascinated by that milieu and place.” As for the high-profile midseason entry Smash, Greenblatt tried to downplay expectations. “I don’t think it’s a make-or-break show, but it’s a really good potentially long-term asset for us.”
Greenblatt also dispelled any notion that Community has been effectively canceled when the network pulled the cult favorite from its midseason schedule. Read More »