Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Winner in Demos, NBC Still Has Much Work to Do

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Winner in Demos, NBC Still Has Much Work to Do

Article excerpt

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Just going by surface statistics, NBC appears to be sitting pretty. The network won the 2014-15 TV season in the important age 18-49 demo for the second year in a row, but it achieved that win by the skin of its teeth. CBS was behind by one-tenth of a ratings point - in a year NBC had the Super Bowl.

Furthermore, CBS won the ratings race among total viewers, and even NBC's biggest hits suffered big ratings declines, including "The Blacklist" (down more than 18 percent in the demo; down almost 12 percent in viewers), "The Voice" (down about 20 percent in the demo on Mondays) and "The Biggest Loser" (down almost 38 percent in the demo; down 30 percent in total viewers).

Add to that the NBC News scandal surrounding fabulist now- deposed "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams and the virtual abdication of its place as the one-time home for must-see TV comedies - come fall NBC will air just one hour of sitcoms on the lowest-rated night of the week, Friday - and it's clear NBC has a lot of work to do.

What's on tap for fall? One big swing (an attempt to resurrect the variety show in "Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris"), one critically panned sitcom ("Truth Be Told"), a reboot ("Heroes Reborn") and two action shows, each one starring a former cast member from Cinemax's "Strike Back," and at least one brings to mind "The Blacklist" ("Blindspot," "The Player").

NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt acknowledged NBC's struggle to find comedies that are "classy new anchor shows" for Thursday night and then announced a raft of potential new comedy series that are in the works.

"With Thursday we decided not to sacrifice more new comedies," he said.

Last year NBC ordered and then later sold the critically acclaimed Emmy-nominated "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" to Netflix. Mr. Greenblatt has no regrets. …

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