Magazine article ADWEEK

NBC, Smash Struggle to Find Their Voice: Despite Flagging Ratings-And a Diss from the Boss-State Centerpiece Still Holds Promise for the Third-Place Contender

Magazine article ADWEEK

NBC, Smash Struggle to Find Their Voice: Despite Flagging Ratings-And a Diss from the Boss-State Centerpiece Still Holds Promise for the Third-Place Contender

Article excerpt

White it wasn't a rave review, Steve Burke's assessment of NBC's musical drama Smash hardly constituted a death knelt for the new series.

Moments after Comcast concluded its Feb. 15 earnings call, Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, at[owed that white The Voice was likely to retain its early momentum, "Smash is more problematic." Unbeknownst to Burke, his microphone was still live when he made the comment.

There was nothing particularly startling about Burke's characterization. After a triumphant debut in which the show served up 11.4 million total viewers and a 3.8 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, Smash fell to earth in its second outing, delivering 8.06 million viewers and a 2.8.

All told, 26 percent of the show's dollar demo evaporated. And white the toss is vexing, it hardly came as a big surprise. The Feb. 6 premiere began Losing viewers at a rapid cup after the first 15 minutes, plummeting from 14.1 million viewers and a 4.9 rating from 10 p.m.-10:15 p.m. to 10.1 million and a 3.4 in the final quarter hour.

Having invested as much as $25 million to market the premiere, NBC clearly believes it can find an audience to match Smash's ambitions.

If deliveries revel out, the series almost certainty will be renewed. As it stands, it already constitutes a vast improvement over prior occupants of the time slot, The Playboy Club and Rock Center With Brian Williams, which combined for a paltry 1.0 in the demo. "Monday was such a disaster, anything above a 1. …

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