Meg James of the Los Angeles Times has a long story today on NBC's woes, and whether Angela Bromstad can revive the peacock's ailing prime-time schedule.
Two years ago, Bromstad, then president of NBC's television production studio, made what was seen as a suicidal career move. After losing a power struggle over control of the network's programming, she walked away from her job.
Fast-forward to last November. NBC's fall prime-time schedule had collapsed, Bromstad's nemesis at the network was long gone, another rival was about to be shown the door, and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker desperately needed to restore order to NBC after two tumultuous seasons with Ben Silverman in charge.
The pressure is on to revive the fourth-place network as it heads into the all-important advertising selling season. Bromstad's first big test comes tonight, when NBC premieres two new programs: "Parks and Recreation," a sitcom that borrows a page from "The Office" and stars "Saturday Night Live" alum Amy Poehler; and "Southland," a gritty police drama about L.A.
One of Bromstad's early calls was to put "Southland" in the marquee 10 p.m. Thursday slot, and shuffle to Sunday night the lavish drama "Kings," starring Ian McShane. "Kings," which costs about $3 million an episode to produce, had been championed by Bromstad's predecessors. But Bromstad had doubts that a drama about a modern-day king who struggles with moral dilemmas and family conflicts would work on network television.
"The objective now is to broaden the network out, to give it a wider appeal," she said.