It’s been nine long years, but NBC’s primetime lineup has made the network No. 1 in this year’s November sweeps. “This is the first time we’ve been this happy in a long time,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said today. “It is possible to move the needle. There is a spring in our step.” When NBC last topped Adults 18-49 in November sweeps in 2003, it was showing The West Wing, Friends and ER. Now, with 25 of 28 nights counted, NBC has moved up from last year’s fourth spot to first. The network is averaging a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49 this fall, up 17% compared with the network’s 2.4 at the conclusion the November 2011 sweep. This year’s sweep started October 25 and ends tomorrow. Coming off the summer lead-in of the Olympics, the continuing success of Sunday Night Football and The Voice, plus strong numbers for the new Revolution and Go On, NBC has been solid week after week.
Among the four networks, NBC saw its adults 18-49 and Live+Same Day 18-49 number go up from last year while CBS, ABC and Fox saw declines. Fox went from the top spot of 3.1 to No. 3 with 2.4, down 26%. CBS went from 2.8 to second place with 2.4, down 14%. ABC went from 2.5 last year to fourth this year with 2.2, down 12%. CBS looks set to win the sweeps in terms of total overall viewers for the 11th straight year. The network is averaging 10.21 million viewers a night.
With the absence of football, The Voice and Revolution in the next three months, Greenblatt said in a conference call Tuesday that he anticipates a drop-off. “I’d be astonished if we ended up to be No. 1 with some of the firepower the other networks have,” he said of the end of the season. “Third place would be a triumph for us but beyond that I’m not willing to go there yet.”
Greenblatt also had some answers about upcoming NBC shows, specifically Hannibal and The Sound of Music. “The question will be do we have room for it, to launch it in April before the season ends or should we hold it to the summer. A bunch of things have to play out before we can make that determination,” he said of the thriller series with Mads Mikkelson playing Hannibal Lector. On the live broadcast of The Sound of Music produced by Smash’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, Greenblatt said “I think we are close to finding our Maria and as soon as we have that in place we will announce it with great fanfare.” He added that the special would likely air this time next year, Christmas of ’13.” The NBC executive also said today there are plans in development to keep Revolution alive during the break with original content that could possibly end up online or some other digital platform. “We’re feeling a sense of relief and excitement about what is to come,” Greenblatt said about the new year.