NBC’s presentation will fit comfortably into NBCUniversal’s two-hour Upfront Event tomorrow morning at Radio City Music Hall, Entertainment Group chair Bob Greenblatt said this morning, because “we only needed to add three shows and move four around. We’re dancing a jig.”
He added that the network “for the first time in a long time (is) not running around throwing shows against the wall and hoping for the best.”
Still, some reporters were surprised to see so few changes being made to the fall slate, given the considerable launch power of NBC’s Summer Olympics coverage, this year from Rio de Janeiro. While agreeing the platform is “enormous,” Greenblatt maintained that midseason and summer now are just as important, calling the fall-season hoopla a “vestige of 75 years” of industry tradition that is increasingly less relevant.
“Some of our biggest new shows have come in midseason,” he reminded. “We just didn’t need to overturn the schedule and move 15 time periods around. We’re feeling confident about the stability. … Just because we have the Olympics doesn’t mean we should abandon a schedule that’s working and add more shows. Midseason is going to be the time to make some changes and add more shows, but I’m happy that we don’t have to do a lot in the fall. I couldn’t be happier.”
No questions were posed during the phoner about how NBC’s new-season rollout might be impacted if the August Olympics competition in Rio is moved or postponed, due to the Zika outbreak.
Brazil remains the country most affected by the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked both to a severe birth defect that causes babies to be born with underdeveloped brains and to a rare neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis and death. Last week the Harvard Public Health Review published a call to postpone or move the Games. The International Olympic Committee said last week it has no plans to do either but was quoted as saying it is “working with our partners in Rio on measures to deal with the pools of stagnant water around the Olympic venues, where the mosquitos breed, to minimize the risk of visitors coming into contact with them.” Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, while declaring Zika virus an international public health emergency, has noted the Games will take place during Brazil’s winter “when there are fewer active mosquitoes.”