No more monkey business at NBC, time for Revolution

Mon May 14, 2012 6:56pm EDT
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By Yinka Adegoke and Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) - The NBC network brought a monkey to pitch new programs to prospective advertisers on Monday, looking to highlight a new comedy set in a veterinary clinic rather than the circus its primetime lineup has been in recent years.

"Animal Practice" was among the shows NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt showcased at the upfront presentations held at Radio City Music Hall in Midtown Manhattan, as the network looks to finally climb out of the ratings basement.

That would be something of a revolution for NBC and new owners, Comcast Corp. "Revolution", coincidently, is the name of a futuristic drama that Greenblatt also commissioned for this year's schedule.

"I keep harping on how long it is going to take to rebuild this network. But we are going to do it, I promise," Greenblatt told the audience of advertising executives, marketers and TV industry insiders.

"The fact is we will be in a photofinish with ABC for No. 3 and not No. 4 in adults 18-49 and I find that very encouraging," Greenblatt said of competition with the Disney-owned rival.

Upfront week is the television industry's annual rite where networks preview their upcoming shows in the hopes of getting them to buy commercial time in advance.

So far this year NBC is averaging about 7.4 million total viewers in primetime, according to Nielsen, which despite being an increase of 300,000 over last season still ranks the network dead last behind ABC, News Corp's FOX, and CBS Corp.

But in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 year old demographic, NBC's 3.2 million average so far this season actually bests ABC's by about 100,000, mainly because NBC broadcast this year's Super Bowl, which heavily skewed its audience figures younger.   Continued...