Update: NBC Considers Throwing in the Towel

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December 8th, 2008

Update: Bill's (comedic) vision of an NBC programmed with 12 hours of the Today Show and 12 hours of the Tonight Show is rumored to be inching closer to reality with NBC rumored to be retaining Jay Leno and giving him the 10pm slot Monday through Friday next Fall.

It's already been brought up in the comments - but at a conference today, Jeff Zucker spoke on the possibility that NBC might program less hours (and possibly days) per week in primetime.

"Can we continue to broadcast 22 hours in primetime? Three of our competitors don't," Zucker said during Monday's keynote at the annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. "Can we continue to broadcast seven days a week? One of our competitors doesn't."

Zucker also said:

"It's not giving up. It's not retrenching. It's not throwing in the towel."

If you're comparing yourself to a mini-network like the CW and doing so with a straight face there are only two possibilities:

  1. You're high as a kite
  2. You're giving up and throwing in the towel

That doesn't necessarily mean throwing in the towel isn't the smart thing for it to do. Based on NBC's Friday and Saturday numbers recently, it's hard to blame NBC for considering it as an option, but it's just sad on multiple levels.

I continue to skim some of the Zucker snippets at the UBS conference. There's something surreal about a mostly failed banking conglomerate hosting a conference on a waning industry. The one that caught my eye the most was the one where he says NBC hasn't lost confidence in Ben Silverman (and Marc Graboff). Apparently NBC programming execs are already dropping like flies. If it's anything like the sports world where having ownership/management say the coach or GM "has our confidence" is pretty much slang for "we're definitely firing him at the end of the season," mark me down for Dawn Ostroff having a longer career at the CW than Ben Silverman has at NBC.

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