NBC Threatens To Broadcast Fewer Hours, Throwing Hard-Working Hours Onto the Street - Macleans.ca

NBC Threatens To Broadcast Fewer Hours, Throwing Hard-Working Hours Onto the Street


Jeff Zucker, who is never wrong about anything (after all, he greenlit such blockbuster hits as Good Morning Miami), says that NBC is looking at “all options” including possibly scaling back the number of hours it broadcasts. This is a

“Can we continue to broadcast 22 hours in primetime? Three of our competitors don’t,” Zucker said during Monday’s keynote at the annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. “Can we continue to broadcast seven days a week? One of our competitors doesn’t.”

He asked whether Friday and Saturday should be programmed the same way as it has been in the past. Most of the other networks don’t program originals on Saturday night anymore, with the exception of CBS’ “48 Hours Mystery” and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” after 11:30 p.m.

“All of those questions are on the table and are actively looking at all these options,” Zucker said.

Actually, Zucker has been saying virtually the same thing for a long time, expressing envy of Fox’s no-TV-after-10 schedule. He used to say that reality programming was the solution: since the networks can’t afford to do 22 hours of expensive programming a week, they need to save money by using some of those hours for cheap reality shows. But now most reality shows aren’t doing well enough to justify even their modest cost, so we’re hearing more talk about just cutting down the prime-time schedule.

After the fiasco of the CW’s attempt to license out Sunday night programming to another, even worse company, I’m doubtful that any network will actually risk giving a night over to someone else, even a really weak night like Friday or Saturday. But we should expect to at least hear other network programmers at least speculating about the idea.

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NBC Threatens To Broadcast Fewer Hours, Throwing Hard-Working Hours Onto the Street

  1. I was just wondering how precisely we could date that photo based on the tv schedule behind him, based on when various shows premiered/were cancelled.

    Incidentally, I can’t imagine how the WB ever folded with such breakout hits as Commando Nanny!

  2. Any network announcing that it’s broadcasting fewer hours is great news.

  3. Just because they don’t have 22 hours of original programming doesn’t mean they can’t broadcast 22 hours of television. As far as I can tell, they’ve been using Saturday broadcasts as reruns of stuff from earlier in the week for a while now. The problem is, I never know what is going to be rebroadcast when… Regularizing it would help a lot. So, if for instance, they had a show at a weird time or up against a ratings giant (e.g., American Idol when it comes back), they could rebroadcast the show on Friday or Saturday also. You might end up with something like 16 hours of TV, with 6 hours repeated.

  4. I am only half-joking when I suggest the solution is…another hour of Today in the 10 p.m. slot. I honestly think it (or something like it) might work. And it would be relatively inexpensive.

  5. Or hand it over to Jay Leno, as the reports suggest. Wow!

  6. I wonder which network will be the first to switch exclusively to YouTube