Why NBC Passed on a Show That’s Now a Hit for Someone Else

May 4, 2015  •  Post A Comment

NBC had the inside track on a show that has now become one of the hits of the current TV season. TV writer David Bauder reports for the AP that Jimmy Fallon brought the network the idea of spinning off the lip sync competition from “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” into its own series, and NBC turned it down.

The idea became “Lip Sync Battle,” an instant hit for Spike TV — and a show that has found the sweet spot among online streamers, with one example being more than 10 million views for a recently posted video clip of Anne Hathaway lip syncing Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”

Spike is owned by Viacom, a corporate rival of NBC owner Comcast. NBC declined to comment for the story, but Bauder offers this explanation: “NBC airs two cycles of ‘The Voice’ each year and the summertime hit ‘America’s Got Talent,’ so it could be at its limit of talent competitions. And when the show was first pitched to NBC, it reportedly featured civilian competitors — not celebrities — making for an entirely different experience.”

The show has been a game changer for Spike, Bauder notes, including helping the network expand beyond its traditionally young male audience. “Lip Sync Battle” has attracted an audience that is 58% female.

The report quotes “Battle” exec producer Casey Patterson saying: “People are responding to music that they love and to celebrities performing in a different way. It’s like ‘Saturday Night Live.’ It’s always a treat to see celebrities moving out of their comfort zone.”

Here’s Anne Hathaway vs. Emily Blunt from “Lip Sync Battle”:

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