NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, talking about his career in a Q&A at Paley Center for Media, gave The Voice a lot of credit for helping him turn the network from No. 4 to No. 1 among broadcasters. The singing competition created “an identity for the network, which has been generally a kind of very positive vibe.”
Identity is tougher to establish at a broadcast network than a cable one, said Greenblatt, who has run both. “Cable is much easier; you can have your own little identity.”
“At Showtime, we were the anti-hero network,” he said of the network whose entertainment division he ran before moving to NBC in 2011.
“We were rooting around for what’s the brand that will get us the most people,” Greenblatt said of his start at NBC. “The Voice started that process. What was so great about The Voice is it was the antithesis to Idol, which at the time was all about negativity.”
“We flipped that and said let’s make the experience really positive. It was relentlessly positive and that has become a hallmark of the network.”
“It wasn’t Idol ratings but it really gave us the engine for the next three years to push the network,” he told the crowd who’d come to hear him talk about the industry. “If not for The Voice I’m not sure we would have turned it around so quickly.”
NBC’s new ensemble dramedy from Dan Fogelman, This is Us, is an “unabashedly humane show,” Greenblatt continued. “It really works for us as a network,” he said, calling it the “antidote to the world we live in.”
“The great news” about the program, that has emerged as the breakout hourlong series of the fall season, is “people seem to love it and critics. And it’s rare that you get both on your side.”