NBC took the opportunity of its upfront presentation today in New York to celebrate a milestone it hasn't achieved since the end of "Friends" a decade ago: winning the season in the key advertiser-friendly demo of viewers 18-49.
The Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker reports that NBC, which is poised to finish the season at No. 1 in the key demo, "ran a triumphant victory lap" at its annual upfront.
"The network boasted of triumphs including freshman hit 'The Blacklist,' 'The Sound of Music Live!,' the Sochi Winter Olympics and Jimmy Fallon's successful takeover of 'The Tonight Show,' and attempted to build enthusiasm for a 2014-15 season that's heavy on romantic sitcoms and spy dramas," the Times reports. "Courtesy of Seth Meyers, the new host of 'Late Night,' there were a few self-deprecating jokes about the network's less successful efforts this season, like the Blair Underwood remake of 'Ironside,' but otherwise NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt focused on the positive."
Greenblatt noted that NBC grew 21% in total viewers to climb into second place behind perennial leader CBS. "Ratings are up on five nights out of seven, with Thursday and Sunday the remaining weak spots. In terms of viewers under 50, NBC is tops this season, up 18% versus last year," the Times report notes.
The James Spader drama "The Blacklist" is TV's top-rated new series of the season, and will be shifted at midseason in 2014-15 to Thursday night as NBC looks to reclaim its former Thursday night dominance.
"Also pivotal was the smooth handover of 'The Tonight Show' from Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon," the report adds. "As Greenblatt put it, 'Jimmy is killing it' in his new time slot, with ratings in the demo up 82% after 12 weeks. According to NBC, Fallon also continues to beat combined averages of 'Late Show with David Letterman' and 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' with viewers under 50."
The article reports: "Looking ahead at the new season, Greenblatt noted that NBC's lineup would remain relatively stable in the fall, with 'The Blacklist' in its current time slot at 10 p.m. and the debut of 'noisy and sophisticated' shows, including relationship comedies 'Marry Me' and 'A to Z,' the lightly comedic Debra Messing police procedural 'The Mysteries of Laura,' comic book adaptation 'Constantine' and the Kate Walsh comedy 'Bad Judge.'"
When "The Blacklist" vacates its coveted post-"Voice" time slot, that spot will go to the Katherine Heigl drama series "State of Affairs," the piece notes.