Variety: NBC Should Flip-Flop 'Community' and '30 Rock'

Categories: Broadcast TV,Featured

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July 25th, 2010

Variety's Rick Kissell has some thoughts for NBC that many who read our blog regularly will be interested in.  The most interesting to me was the question of whether NBC should flip-flop Community and 30 Rock:

While NBC may simply wait to see how badly it gets clobbered, it's not too late to shift "30 Rock" to 8 p.m. in the fall, flipping spots with "Community" (which would face the untested and seemingly weaker "$#!* My Dad Says" at 8:30 on CBS). At this point of its run, "30 Rock" is not going to grow in the ratings, and instead should be used in something of a defensive position at 8 o'clock; "Rock" has held up well in a few turns kicking off the night.

If all ratings points are created equal, it's an interesting consideration.  Against Survivor, NBC's experience with the 8pm Thursday comedy block was that there wasn't a lot of difference between 8pm and 8:30pm for its shows, and nor was there a big difference in  Survivor's performance half hour to half hour.   At least potentially, the CBS part of that equation could be very different this year.

While  I don't think there's upside in waiting to see how badly Community gets clobbered, ultimately NBC should be focused on maximizing revenue for the full hour.   Though CBS is running comedies at 8pm now too, NBC is not competing with only CBS.  Even at its peak on Monday nights,  ~85% of people watching TV watched something besides The Big Bang Theory.

He also argues that NBC has put a show it really, really wants to succeed in one of the most competitive time slots.

And then there's "The Event," an adrenaline ride that NBC really, really wants to be "the next big thing" (the title alone sounds desperate). So why put this show up Mondays at 9 against TV's most-watched comedy (CBS' "Two and a Half Men"), TV's most popular fall program overall (ABC's "Dancing With the Stars"), cable's most-watched series ever (ESPN's "Monday Night Football") and Fox's most promising new show ("Lonestar," which itself has a strong drama lead-in)?

He suggests instead something that will resonate with many readers:  stick Undercovers after Chuck and move The Event to Wednesdays at 8pm.   I'd have trouble arguing with that thinking except, of course, NBC wants Undercovers to be "the next big thing" too.   If nothing else you  might come away scratching your head and wondering, "Hmmm. How much do questions like: Who do we want to be happier: Dan Harmon or Tina Fey?   J.J. Abrams or the people making The Event?"

Kissell raises another interesting question: how much of the promotion during Sunday Night Football really matters?  Because won't many of the people watching SNF be tuning into Monday Night Football the next night no matter what?

Kissell concludes there is still time to improve NBC's schedule and that might be true.  But given advertising and promotional marketing lead times, it's probably already too late to easily make those changes before the season starts.

 
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