Struggling NBC looks to quality shows, cost control

Wed Aug 5, 2009 4:25pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

PASADENA, California (Reuters) - Executives at struggling NBC said on Wednesday they were focused on top-quality scripted programs and better cost control to lift the network out of its current bottom place among the leading four U.S. TV networks.

Defining NBC as the broadcaster which airs shows that are human, deal with real people, and are fundamentally positive, executives pointed to Emmy-award comedy "30 Rock," "The Office" and drama "Heroes" as the way forward for the network.

"We have a strong foundation and some of the best shows on television and I think we have to build on that," Angela Bromstad, president of primetime entertainment, told TV critics gathered here for an annual showcase of upcoming programs.

"I think we have fallen short in the past couple of years and it is our goal to bring back those high quality sophisticated dramas and comedies and a brand of alternative programing," she said.

Bromstad said the departure last month of NBC Entertainment Co-Chairman Ben Silverman after two years at the network was not unexpected and would not bring many changes because NBC was already moving in the right direction.

"It has always been Ben's plan to transition back to his entrepreneurial roots," she said.

Silverman brought shows like "The Office" to NBC but struggled to develop major primetime audience hits that would lift it out of its last place in the TV ratings behind CBS Corp's CBS, News Corp's Fox, and Walt Disney's ABC. NBC is owned by partnership of General Electric Co and Vivendi.

Silverman also oversaw the upcoming move of late night talk show host Jay Leno to primetime five nights a week in what was seen as a bid to cut costs of expensive scripted dramas that dominate the 10 pm hour when Leno's new program will air.   Continued...

<p>Actors from NBC TV series (L-R) Melora Hardin of "The Office," Zachary Levi of "Chuck," Deidre Hall of "Days of Our Lives," and Greg Grunberg of "Heroes" pose as they arrive at Paley Center for Media Los Angeles Gala honoring NBC's Jeff Zucker and Dick Ebersol in Los Angeles November 12, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>