Hollywood Swinging at NBC

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September 16th, 2008

I'll no doubt date myself with the circa 1973 Kool and the Gang reference in the headline, but I'm pretty sure that all season long we'll rhetorically be asking NBC, "Hey, hey, hey -- whatcha got to say?"

The Wednesday edition of the Los Angeles Times is running a story on Ben Silverman who heads up programming at NBC.  On the one hand, he seemingly fits right in.  You have to figure anyone who'd describe himself as a "next generation, rock star" has more than his fair share of peacock in him.  On the other hand, NBC's 2008-2009 schedule seems a little um... light.

Though the piece is mostly a profile on Silverman there are several tidbits of a numeric nature within  it, including:

Indeed, his job -- co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and its TV production studio -- is to fix the network's five-year ratings slide. With few breakout shows in the last four years, NBC desperately needs a new hit, or two. The network's prime-time shows once were a moneymaking machine. In 2004, NBC earned $900 million in profit from prime-time alone. But, by 2007, with ratings sinking, it barely topped $100 million. - LA Times Piece on Ben Silverman and NBC

If true (we have no good way to validate this), 88% of NBC's prime-time profits have been decimated over the last four seasons.   The Super Bowl should help them this year on the profit front.  It will be interesting to see how its prime-time lineup fares ratings-wise.

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