After mentioning something NBC may have have done right, it’s back to talking about all the stuff they’re doing wrong. Today’s entry: NBC/Universal — or “NBCUniversal” as they now want to be called — have unveiled the new, purple, Peacock-free logo for the Comcast era. (Update: Though as noted in comments, this is just the corporate logo; the Peacock will still appear on the network itself.) I would talk more about it, and how logos today really ought to look like something you didn’t design by checking off the simplest options on a computer graphics program, except that every time I look at the logo, I fall asleep.
(Wakes up) What? Who? Where? Oh, yeah. The new logo. Uh… well, I might add, though you’ve probably noticed it already, that “Let’s Make History. Again” is yet another example of NBC’s unhealthy obsession with its own past. No network has “mythologized” itself quite so much except HBO, and that mythology is all very recent (HBO prefers to pretend the ’80s and much of the ’90s didn’t exist). NBC spent the Tartikoff era not just trying to make hit shows, but plug itself as an entity, creating viewer loyalty to the entire network. You had Tartikoff turning up on NBC shows; you had stories about visits to the NBC building — even if, as with Letterman, they were satirical stories. And this idea of NBC as the glorious history-making network has continued after it went downhill, so you get the hyping of a “Tonight Show” brand that no longer exists and endless references to the Thursday night hits of the past. “Let’s make history again” is just a slogan, but it sort of reflects a network’s inability to let go of the past and admit that things have changed.
Thursday, January 27, 2011