NBC sees rescue in quality, cutting edge TV shows

Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:43pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - NBC's new programing chief said on Thursday the network would strive for more cutting edge and quality TV shows to raise it from its bottom ranking among the four major U.S. networks.

Angela Bromstad, who was appointed president of prime time entertainment in December 2008 after an NBC management shake-up, said there were no plans to cut back on program development or embark on major cost-cutting programs.

"We are not going to cut back on our development. We have some challenges on the schedule so it is not wise to cut back on research and development," Bromstad told television critics at NBC's mid-season presentation.

NBC, a unit of General Electric Co-controlled media company NBC Universal, is currently the least-watched of the four major U.S. television networks. It has lost 11.2 percent of its prime-time audience so far in the 2008-9 season compared with the same period a year ago.

U.S. network television overall is struggling to retain audiences amid competition from digital entertainment.

Bromstad said NBC would be shooting the same amount of pilots -- six dramas and four comedies -- for the 2009-2010 season as it had two years ago, before the industry was brought to its knees by a five-month Hollywood screen writers strike.

"We are not doing anything additional or changing anything to cut costs. We are going to try and run a very smart ship and contain costs," she said.

NBC announced in December that late night chat show host Jay Leno would appear in a new show at the earlier time of 10 pm, five nights, a week in June 2009.   Continued...