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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh, how the mighty have fallen...

Imagine this scenario if you will.

Your boss comes up with a plan to save the company money. You know it will cause a lot of anxiety, so you plan to phase it in gradually over the next few years so that people won’t notice too much of a change.

However, your boss has a different idea and announces the plan to the world. Now, it’s your job to try and explain it and calm everyone down.

Nice, isn’t it?

Well, that’s exactly the scenario NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reily found himself in, thanks to his boss, NBC-Universal Television’s Chief Executive Jeff Zucker.

Zucker, in detailing NBC U’s cost-cutting plans, announced that NBC would no longer have scripted shows weeknights between 8 and 9, allowing them to cut costs and focus their money on more watched timeslots. The announcement instantly sent everyone into a tizzy, including those people behind the scripted shows NBC has at 8 now, like “My Name Is Earl.” The 8-9 announcement was all anyone could talk about, even though 700 people lost their jobs. The press started a feeding frenzy as NBC went into, what they considered to be, full retreat mode.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

It was not too long ago that NBC was the king of primetime. But as its hits aged and went off the air, there was nothing to replace them. The execs ignored trends and refused to recognize their situation. It has cost them dearly, right where it hurts the most—GE’s bottom line.

So is NBC out of the scripted business from 8-9 p.m.? Yes and no. As Reilly is now trying to spin it, NBC will put more of its resources into reality programming, but it will not get out of the scripted business all together in that timeslot. Reilly promises that it will not be a drastic departure from what they’ve been doing. In fact, the other networks have already headed in that direction; they just didn’t declare it to the world like Zucker did.

Ironically, it was NBC’s resistance to reality TV that got them in this mess to begin with. And who was the head honcho during that time? You got it—Jeff Zucker.

So why is it that he gets to keep his job?

I’m thinking there’s one more layoff that needs to be made…