Friday, 14 November 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #190: NBC-- Nobody Blames Chief?

A tip of my jaunty fedora to the fragrant folks at Defamer for this report about troubles at the flailing, failing National Broadcasting Company. Ratings for the venerable former home of Must See TV are starting to make them jealous of the CW network, shows are being axed, demands for heads to roll are coming in, and network honcho Ben Silverman is playing Cover Your Ass.

He, or his sock puppets, are leaking the blame all over Katherine Pope, the President of the Universal Media Studio that produces most of NBC's shows.

Sure, she gave the studio's green-light to the just cancelled
My Own Worst Enemy, Lipstick Jungle, and last year's Bionic Woman which ran off into oblivion faster than Jaime Sommers on a meth binge, but she didn't put the shows on the air. NBC did.

NBC currently has all final decisions made by Ben Silverman, or at least he was supposed to make those decisions. Stories abound about his absentee management style that takes all credit for what few successes the network can muster, but passes all blame for failure to his subordinates. Just two months ago he was putting the head of his Executive Vice President Teri Weinberg in the noose for similar failures, just with different titles.

Which brings me to the topic of this post.


Spider-Man knew all about when his Uncle Ben told him that
with great power comes great responsibility. When you are the boss, you have to act like a boss.

That means setting an example by:

1. Working harder than everyone else below you. You have to be the corporate version of the Marine Corps, being the first one into fray, and the last one to leave. Good subordinates will be inspired by your work ethic, those who don't should be removed like fat at a liposuction session.

2. Giving proper credit for successes where that credit is due. Most executives don't want to share good credit for fear that those who get the credit will somehow supplant them. Well, the opposite can be the truth. People who feel that their hard work is appreciated, are much more loyal, less prone to treachery, and make you look better so that you can take your boss' position.

3. Taking responsibility for failures when they happen. This is not a question of "if," failures in film and television are inevitable and must be handled with speed, intelligence, and a lack of venom. That's when a real boss takes the ultimate responsibility, declaring that the buck stops at his desk, but also already has a plan of action in place to handle the situation at hand before any corporate bloodshed. In television failure is always an option, it's how you handle it is where your own success or failure as a boss is judged.

So far, the management of NBC-Universal isn't exactly inspiring confidence, so if anyone from NBC-Universal's parent company, GE is reading this, here's something you should consider...


  1. Ratings for the venerable former home of Must See TV are starting to make them jealous of the CW network

    Why you always gotta bash CW Master D? Whatever else you might say about them, they and Fox seem to be the only stations actually taking a chance on original shows and giving them a chance to succeed. (90210 and Fringe aside)

  2. Because the CW is the only network doing worse than NBC right now, but that's mostly due to them being far smaller than the others.

    Nothing personal. ;)