Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #336: Quo Vadis NBC?

Josef Adalian at The Wrap has a piece that raises some questions about what going to happen next at NBC in the aftermath of Ben Silverman's exit, replacement by Jeff Gaspin and Jeff Zucker's career clock reaching 5 minutes to midnight.

Well here are my answers to some of the questions that Adalian's asking:
Will Jeff Gaspin be able to end the culture of backstabbing and political positioning that's preoccupied NBC for nearly a decade?
That sort of behaviour is a sure sign of two things.

1. Those who are supposed to do the daily running of NBC are denied the power to do what's necessary (mainly hiring & firing) by the head office.

2. The people who are doing the backstabbing and positioning are not doing their jobs, or they wouldn't have the time to back-stab anyone.

How do you solve it?

Such conspiring and skullduggery are a symptom of a lack of authority by those who are supposed to run the company because like a fish, a company rot starts at the head. It looks like no one respects Zucker, and Zucker won't let those in charge of the day to day operations make a decision and act on it without his meddling.

If the CEO doesn't trust the Presidents, Vice Presidents, etc., to make decisions, then why the hell did he give them the jobs in the first place?

Anyway the next question:
Can NBC repair the damage done to its relationships with the creative community?
Not only do a lot of the people necessary to make television hate NBC, it's management, and all that they stand for, they also do not respect NBC, nor do they even fear NBC.

Adalian cites a quote from the creator of
My Name Is Earl, who likened his show's cancellation to being tossed from the Titanic.

That says a hell of a lot, and it will take a massive shake up at the company just to start building the bridges that NBC has burned over the past few years. Plus there's also the problem of convincing people to sell their shows to a network that's considered the place where shows go to die.
Who will the media blogosphere obsess over now that Party Ben has left the dance floor?
Someone will rise, or sink to the challenge. Someone always does, Hollywood's a good provider that way.

Now here are a few of my own questions for NBC to answer.

1. What will NBC do when Jay Leno's show crashes and burns?

I know it won't happen right away, a certain novelty, coupled with Jay's personal popularity will buoy the show for a while. However, a nightly prime time variety show has a 99.8% chance of becoming a complete disaster, especially with the conditions NBC is rumored to be putting on the show. Leno accepted the gig because they played on his deep insecurities even though he could probably buy the network by now. A weekly show, perhaps on Wednesdays as a "humpday pick-me-up" could have worked if he had a crack team of writers and a killer supporting cast, but not every weeknight.

It seems though that NBC doesn't have any plans for this contingency, letting 5 hours a week lie fallow.

2. How will NBC win back the viewers?

The critics, and creative community are one thing, but how do you win back the most important part of the equation, the audience. I don't have any reason at all to watch NBC, considering they cancelled Life, the bastards, and only run reruns of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which I can catch earlier on a Canadian station. What can they do to possibly make me want to watch an NBC show?

3. When will something be done about Zucker?

I don't like to see people lose their jobs, but they have to be doing their jobs to make me want them to stay. Zucker's probably got a golden parachute that could feed Paraguay for a year, so he might want to consider retirement, and whatever poor bastard gets roped into replacing him, can be paid based on job performance, not ass-kissing.

Now, will someone outside of NBC-U do something, I'm getting to sound like a broken record around here.


  1. I think Zucker is victim to that old fear of hiring someone smarter than you to take your job. So he hires a guy dumber than himself, and that guy does the same, and so on and so forth till you have a company run by a bunch of morons. There is NOTHING on NBC that I watch. I catch L&O CI on USA---even SUV now solves homicides instead of SUV cases and the cops on the show are out of control--they lost me long ago.
    Greedy they sold Medium to CBS canceled shows with audiences. Poor Tina Fay. The only decent show they have and she's stuck there.
    But ABC is just as bad--they want to be known as the stupidest reality show network canceling very good shows for crap replacements. The Unusuals was quirky and interesting--they barely gave it a half season. WOMEN'S MURDER CLUB last season was chopped. They never give a show chance to build an audience. I'm shocked they kept CASTLE. I find myself more and more delving into cable dramas and leaving the idiotic programing on so called PRIME NETWORKS.

    L&O CI, The Closer, The Cleaner, Dark Blue, even the Food Network gets more of my watching time than the PRIME networks.

  2. is time warner Titanic ???
    Time Warner Earnings Fall 34% (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)

    Time Warner (TWX Quote) said second-quarter earnings fell 34% to $519 million, or 43 cents a share, from $792 million, or 66 cents a share, a year earlier.

    Adjusted earnings of 45 cents topped the estimates of analysts of 37 cents a share as surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

    Revenue in the quarter fell 9% to $6.8 billion. At Time Warner's content group, which is made up of the networks, filmed entertainment, publishing and corporate segments, revenue declined 6%.

    The content division saw adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization rise 4% in the period.

    The company said it's "on track" to spin off AOL around the end of the year.

    Time Warner said again it continues to expect 2009 full-year adjusted earnings to be flat compared with adjusted earnings of $1.98 a share in 2008. Analysts expect 2009 earnings of $1.99 a shar

  3. They are remaking The Rockford Files... Does it help to answer to your interrogation?

  4. Law & Order: Sport Utility Vehicle?

  5. It's the new product from GM. While you drive it makes moralistic lectures, and then takes a sudden turn that's supposed to be a surprise, but you actually knew it was going to happen all along.

    Couldn't resist milking Anonymous' commenting on the typo.