NBC TV chief says fall season "worse than I hoped for"

Fri Jan 6, 2012 4:32pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - NBC entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt admitted on Friday that the struggling TV network got off to a "really bad" start last fall, after low ratings and cancellations of several high-profile new shows.

But Greenblatt said he had high hopes for upcoming new shows including musical drama series "Smash" and the return of surprise 2011 summer talent show "The Voice."

"We've had a really bad fall, worse than what I hoped for, but about what I expected," Greenblatt told reporters at the Television Critics Association.

"We have a long road ahead of us, but bear with us," he said.

NBC has been struggling for years to climb from its bottom place among the four major U.S. TV networks. But it was forced to cancel its much-hyped but controversial drama "The Playboy Club" after three episodes in October. New comedy "Free Agents" met the same fate and NBC stopped production of crime drama "Prime Suspect".

Greenblatt joined NBC just a year ago after cable giant Comcast bought a majority stake in parent company NBCUniversal and shook-up the top management.

"Was the 'Playboy Club' too dark? I think it was just a rejected concept," said Greenblatt. "I don't think people were as fascinated by that milieu and that period and I think it was a bit obscure."

Greenblatt called "Prime Suspect" "a disappointment" saying he thought star Maria Bello was "incredible."   Continued...