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NBC Counting on White-Hot Actress to Turn Around its Fortunes

Jan 20, 2012  •  Post A Comment

NBC is betting that it has found its ratings savior in an actress who has been in hot demand in recent years, the New York Post reports.

The network is counting on Betty White to help turn around its prime-time ratings with "Off Their Rockers," a senior citizen-oriented variation on "Punk’d," the story says.

While the network hasn’t yet said when "Off Their Rockers" will join the regular schedule, NBC aired a sneak peak Monday night, drawing 12 million viewers, the story says. The preview aired after a birthday tribute to 90-year-old White, which drew 14 million viewers.

The two shows gave NBC its best numbers in years, excluding sports coverage, the story points out.

The strong turnout convinced the network to tweak its lineup for tonight (Friday, Jan. 20, 2012), when NBC will shove aside its regular lineup and air repeats of the two Betty White shows from 8-10 p.m.

Industry observers are comparing the network’s interest in White — whose appeal is especially strong with older viewers — to ABC’s focus on Regis Philbin back in 1999. Philbin’s work on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” is credited with helping to turn around ABC’s sagging ratings at that time.

Said Marc Berman of TV Media Insights: “No one person can turn around an entire network, but what I love about this is that, just a few years ago, NBC said it didn’t care about older viewers — and Betty White brought in 14 million viewers, many of whom were ‘older.’”

5 Comments

  1. Another stupid, made-up article from the New York Post. Nobody at NBC is counting on Betty White to turn their network around. It’s a half hour comedy show that has aired once. Even if it were to air regularly, it wouldn’t do much to turn around their primetime woes. They are counting on shows like Smash and other decisions made by Bob Greenblatt, not Betty White.
    This coming from the news source that put the News Corp phone hacking scandal on the last page of their paper when everybody else had it on the cover. Ridiculous.

  2. Mr Massey, every story ever written has been “Made Up” by someone. Sometimes it’s true, sometimes not. Unfortunately for NBC, this story is probably true. NBC has so few viewers that they will grasp at any straw to increase the number of their viewers. It once was a great network. Now, not so much. Sad.

  3. Not really. A story covering a news event stating facts is not made-up. Sure, it is created by someone, but not made-up.
    Sure, they are showing interest in Betty White. But airing a half hour special on her once and then claiming all of NBC’s fortunes are riding on her is inaccurate.

  4. According to NBC.com, it is Saturday, January 21st that they are replaying the two-hour Betty White block.

  5. Aside from the unnecessary sexual jokes, I found “Off Their Rockers” to be wonderfully funny. Let’s hope it stays around for all demographics. My teenage sons and I laughed all the way through it and look forward to the next episode.

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