At NBC‘s executive session, entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt touted the network’s performance this past season, which he called “The year of improvement.” It was up-and-down season for the network which, after a dominant fall, took a ratings dive in the first quarter before rebounding somewhat in the spring to finish No.3 among adults 18-49 (but closer to the leaders than last year). “Season to date, we are the only network that is flat,” Greenblatt said. “At this point in our business, flat is the new up.”
Greenblatt, who headed Showtime before moving to NBC in 2011, took an issue with a comment about the Emmy drought for broadcast drama series and the notion that quality scripted programming can only be found on cable these days. “If I was putting on one show a year, it would be the best show you can do; we have 85 million people working on that one show,” he said, noting the big disparity in output between the broadcast and cable networks. “Those [critically praised cable] shows on our platforms with those numbers would be canceled,” Greenblatt said. “Broadcast now is the bastard child…. I wish we get more respect for the work that we do.”
On another subject, Greenblatt confirmed that Fashion Star has been cancelled and won’t return for a third season. NBC has not made a decision yet on ordering another cycle of Celebrity Apprentice but is looking into casting. NBC’s alternative chief Paul Telegdy stressed that the decision will be made strictly “based on our considerations if it still rates… [Donald Trump’s] opinions are not reflective of anyone sitting on this panel.”
Greenblatt also shared his “frustration with comedy” as the network cancelled most of its half-hour series heading into next season. Greenblatt and entertainment president Jennifer Salke both shared their regrets that freshmen Go On and The New Normal did not work. “We loved The New Normal, (co-creator) Ryan Murphy had a vision and passion for the show,” Salke said. “It was a smart, original show and got people talking.” As for why it didn’t work, “I don’t believe it didn’t work because it had gay characters,” Greenblatt said. “We think the country is moving in the right direction,” he added, referencing the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. “It may have been slightly ahead of its time, the focus was on gay marriage and a baby.”
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