For NBC, which has been mired in fourth place in the ratings, the situation isn’t getting any better, according to a report in The New York Times. In fact, the network’s position has only gotten more precarious this fall, Bill Carter and Brian Stelter report in the publication.
Despite a bump in the budget for the network’s fall shows, NBC’s ratings have continued to drop, while rival networks have rolled out successful shows, the story points out.
NBC’s ratings in the key demo of viewers 18 to 49 have dropped 11% on average this year. The one bright spot has been “Sunday Night Football,” without which the network is now tied for fourth place in the 18-49 demo with Spanish-language network Univision, the article notes.
NBC has lost more than 800,000 total viewers from last season, the story reports. In the 18-49 demo, the network is down to an average rating of 2.5, from a 2.8 last year. That represents a drop in viewers 18-49 from 3.57 million to 3.1 million.
The network’s new shows have struggled this fall, with “The Playboy Club” and “Free Agents” already being canceled.
Nevertheless, Comcast, which recently bought NBC, plans to remain patient while the network tries to rebuild its schedule. Steve Burke, the new CEO of NBCUniversal, has said his top job “is to keep everybody in the company from driving the development people crazy” by demanding a quick turnaround, the story notes.
Susan Lyne, who is now a retail executive but who served as president of ABC Entertainment when it was in a similar downturn, said her advice is to copy what cable networks do, according to the piece.
"You find that one piece of programming and you stick with it,” she said. "You make sure it’s good, that you genuinely believe in it, and you just keep running it until it finds an audience. Once you’ve got that building block, you keep adding to it.”