He presided over one of the strongest decades in the history of NBC. And over the past 11 years, since he left the peacock network in 2000, former NBC president-turned-producer Warren Littlefield has been keeping in touch with his programming team, hosting get-together dinners every couple of years. His next soiree is coming up next month, on the heels of what has been NBC’s worst fall ratings performance ever. “Come celebrate a time when NBC’s Thursday night was must-see and averaged more than a 1.9,” the invites reportedly read. NBC’s once-formidable Thursday lineup, which added mega hits Seinfeld, Friends and ER during Littlefield’s tenure (along with a few duds, like Boston Common), has dipped below a 2 rating among adults 18-49 this fall. Last week, the network’s Thursday demo average was a 1.9; last night, it slipped to a 1.8.
Besides establishing Must-See TV, which is also the subject of Littlefield’s upcoming memoir, Littlefield’s regime is known for assembling one of the strongest network programming teams ever. Many young executives and assistants under Littlefield, who often attend his bi-yearly gatherings, went on to run networks, production companies or departments. They include Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly, FX president John Landgraf, Showtime entertainment president David Nevins, former ABC president Steve McPherson, former ABC entertainment president-turned-producer Jamie Tarses, ABC Family EVP Kate Juergens, DreamWorks TV co-head Justin Falvey, Fox’s head of scheduling Preston Beckman, former NBC EVP/Katalyst president and current UMS-based producer Kerey Burke, Rat TV president and former NBC head of drama Chris Conti, former NBC TV Studios head of comedy and Working Title TV president Shelley McCrory, and former OWN and Regency TV president Robin Schwartz.