In an incredibly disheartening interview with Time Magazine, NBC Entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt has announced that in light of the low ratings for uniquely creative and fun shows like Community, the network will focus on making "broad" sitcoms in an attempt to grow its audience. Because what's the point of making good TV shows if no one is watching them, and why not just make tons and tons of unfunny shows that people will watch and then forget about? Good strategy, NBC.
Except all those viewers you think you aren't watching shows like Community, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock? All those viewers in that sexy 18-49 demographic? Neilsen isn't reporting them because all that TV watching is happening online. Have you checked your Hulu traffic? Because you might be surprised… No, Hulu is on the computer. That sleek-looking machine sitting on the desk, with the screen. Have one of the interns turn it on for you so you can see what I'm talking about.
Warming Glow points out the obvious blind spot that Greenblatt and other network execs are experiencing when it comes to their ratings: a great deal of TV watching is no longer happening on television — it's happening on computers, smartphones, other portable devices, and none of it shows up in the all-important Neilsens. The success of all of those critically-acclaimed shows that have become favorites for swarms of passionate fans are not registering in the hopelessly outdated ratings system. And that led to one of the most depressing group of sentences I have ever read in a magazine:
NBC may not have had the hits, but at least it had pride.
This morning at the Beverly Hilton, NBC entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt spoke to introduce the network's new fall schedule, with a message: NBC can no longer afford pride.
Wow. That's just… Wow. Greenblatt went on to say that while the current lineup that has become such a hit with fans is made up of "great shows," they just "can't find the audience" that they want. You know, the kind of audience that watches The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Man in reliable (and, perhaps, indifferent) droves. Even though the average age of the network that airs those shows, CBS, is becoming increasingly older. As someone who has not only studied pop culture but consumed entertainment and entertainment news for quite a while, aren't networks generally after the younger demographic? Because they generally have more years of TV watching left before they die?
So, NBC would rather make shows that aren't as good as the ones they're currently making, but might make them more money. Rather than stand behind the shows that they're currently making and, I don't know, promote them once in a while.
That won't happen, however, and now we get "broad" sitcoms. Shows with laugh tracks ("Those people are dead!") and heartwarming "special episodes." Probably lots of families and well-to-do folks with Wacky First World Problems. ("Honey, someone switched my Mercedes for a Volt? Wha' happened?") NBC is still trying to find its next Cheers, Seinfeld and Friends, and it's just not going to happen because audiences have moved on and can watch all those shows in syndication anyway. NBC has to adapt, but growing pains (haha, see what I did there?) are rough and costly, and NBC does not want to be the network of the future. They want to be the network of the '90s.
I just pray that Breckin Meyer is too busy with Robot Chicken and Franklin and Bash to star in any of these "broad" comedies, because I don't think I can learn to re-like him all over again after hating him in another bad sitcom. I can only forgive someone so many times.
NBC has decided to stop making great shows like Community [Warming Glow]