NBC has long struggled as the fourth-place network. Recent reports show an even greater dip in the network’s ratings.
Comcast took over as the owner of NBC and while the initial hope was that the new ownership would breathe fresh air into the corporation, it hasn’t had the intended effect. They even went so far as to increase the budgets for the new shows, but that doesn’t seem to have helped. The Playboy Club and Free Agents have already been canceled, whereas Up All Night recently hit a series low of 1.8 million. It should be noted that Up All Night does at least have a full season pick-up and is really quite delightful. The tone and cast of the show would be better suited alongside the other NBC comedies. I’d love to see it switch to Thursday night when 30 Rock returns.
The key demographic of viewers 18 to 49 has dropped 11 percent from 3.57 million viewers last year to 3.1 million this year, reports the New York Times. Chuck came in as the lowest rated show on Friday night, but at least it’s not the lowest rated show on TV. (Nikita takes home that honor.) The shortened fifth season of Chuck was questioned, but it could mean good things financially in terms of syndication. Outside of primetime, the network does have an advantage with Today and The Tonight Show.
NBC should hopefully have an uptick when The Voice returns in February. Smash, the anticipated musical hit, was postponed until the winter so it could be paired with The Voice and NBC is pinning hopes on its success. Until then, it feels like they’re treading water. I’m reminded of a moment from 30 Rock when Jack Donaghy says that most of the peacock’s funding priorities are to “make it 1997 again through science or magic.” It would be great if that were possible, but in the meantime, NBC needs to focus its efforts on promoting the shows that have potential but are criminally underwatched.