Kevin Reilly: Hits and Misses

Jun 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly was replaced last week after three seasons programming the network. In the end, the hits he engineered didn’t outweigh the misses that kept NBC from emerging from the ratings cellar.
“Heroes”: The hit that some say should have saved Mr. Reilly, “Heroes” is a complicated, big-budget, serialized show that debuted alongside a host of other complicated, big-budget, serialized shows last fall. Yet “Heroes” stood out and became the top-rated breakout drama of the season.
“The Office”: During its initial five-episode run, “The Office” averaged an anemic 2.5 rating among adults 18 to 49, lower than “30 Rock” this year. Yet Mr. Reilly stuck with the show (executive produced, ironically, by his successor, Ben Silverman), which has since blossomed into a critical hit and relatively strong performer.

“Deal or No Deal”:
Game shows were passé in prime time for several years following the burnout of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” but “Deal” became an instant hit when it premiered in 2005 and spawned several imitators. “Deal” has since helped NBC to fill scheduling gaps with a reliable ratings driver.
“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”: Far from the lowest-rated performer during the Reilly era, “Studio 60” nonetheless became an albatross around his neck, symbolizing industry complaints about NBC’s most recent season — expensive, critic-pleasing projects that don’t draw enough viewers.
“Surface”: Like “Studio 60,” not the least-popular effort, but this 2005 title was dismissed as NBC’s pricey me-too attempt to jump on the “Lost” bandwagon.
“Grease: You’re the One That I Want”: NBC successfully revived Sunday nights last fall with football, then fumbled passing viewers to replacement programming in January, headed by this reality effort, which was paired with “The Apprentice.”

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