The more you know: Golden age of NBC is over

By on April 8, 2009

Now that one of the longest running dramas is off the air, NBC has nothing left from an era where they dominated primetime. NBC no longer caters to developing hilarious sitcoms, which used to be the network’s bread and butter (“The Cosby Show,” “Cheers,” “Seinfeld” and “Friends”). And the emotionally gripping drama is coming to a standstill as each “Law & Order” series becomes a year older.

While the network still has some of the best shows on television (“Chuck,” “Friday Night Lights,” “The Office” and “30 Rock”), none of their programs are runaway hits needed to sustain healthy competition with ABC, CBS and FOX.

According to Media Daily News, President and CEO of NBC Universal Jeff Zucker openly admitted that he did not think NBC has a chance at re-claiming their thrown as the No. 1 network in primetime.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to say, ‘NBC is number one in prime time,'” Zucker said.

This can-don’t attitude hurts an industry that is suffering as it is, while competition from cable outlets becomes more brutal.

Zucker’s slow promotion to the top has been the most damaging to NBC since former president of NBC’s entertainment division Brandon Tartikoff retired in 1991. Zucker did not develop any programs worthy enough as “Friends” still dominated the airwaves and in turn, NBC has seen a drastic downturn in the ratings since the hit comedy left the air in 2004.

As the network looks ahead to next season, Jay Leno will occupy the 10 p.m. hour from Monday to Friday, which is exceedingly cheaper for NBC to produce than putting shows in that time-slot. Boston affiliate WHDH just announced that they are scheduling local news instead of Leno.

“We feel we have a real opportunity with running the news at 10 p.m. We don’t think the Leno show is going to be effective in prime time,” Ansin said to the Boston Globe. “It will be detrimental to our 11 o’clock [newscast]. It will be very adverse to our finances.”

NBC is now threatening to strip WHDH of its NBC affiliation.

With five hours less for NBC to program, the network must decide which of their current crop of shows to keep, while taking into account the development of new shows.

One of the more promising new shows NBC has in development is a re-boot of the 1989 film, “Parenthood.”

The cast already features Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause and Maura Tierney. The hour-long dramedy could be one ingredient in helping re-build the displaced net. Will the Peacock network ever be the same?

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About Matt Busekroos

Matt Busekroos
Email: publisher@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @mattybooz
Year: 2012
Major: Print journalism
Hometown: Shrewsbury, Mass.
Dream Job: Writer for an entertainment trade magazine