NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt talked about the struggle to return the fourth-place network to its past glory during a session at the Television Critics Association press tour, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Greenblatt admitted that it has been “a challenging six months,” but he confirmed that the plan is to restore NBC to its former status as “must-see” TV.
“It’s my schedule for better or worse,” Greenblatt said, assuming responsibility for the fall lineup he inherited when he took over in the wake of the Comcast/NBCUniversal merger in January. He focused on a couple of shows he sees as potential highlights — “Up All Night,” with Will Arnett and Christina Applegate; and “Prime Suspect,” with Maria Bello — but he acknowledged that his new job is noticeably different from his previous duties as Showtime entertainment boss.
Said Greenblatt: “Cable has been great for writers. Broadcast is more difficult. I certainly don’t want to turn NBC into Showtime. I’m trying to get the greatest writers and producers to come to NBC. But I also don’t want to tie their hands so the creativity gets sucked out of them. What’s really worked for me over the years is to find people who you really like their voice and just stay out of their way.”
The piece notes: “With ‘The Office’ heading into its eighth season without Steve Carell and ‘30 Rock’ on hiatus until midseason due to star Tina Fey’s pregnancy, NBC will devote considerable marketing resources to new comedies especially, as it attempts to launch a comedy block on Wednesdays with ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Free Agents.’”
“Comedy is a goal for us,” Greenblatt added. “We’ve got to have more of it.”