I wrote earlier about how ABC faces the prospect of finishing fourth in adults 18-49 ratings for the Fall (and perhaps for the entire season) behind the now free spending NBC which after dumping Jay Leno off its primetime schedule has taken out its checkbook to appease the Hollywood gods, its whining affiliates, and anybody else it can as it awaits for the Comcast acquisition to be approved.
Now comes a guess as to how much more NBC is having to spend this season:
“It was time to reinvest,” Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal TV Entertainment, said in an interview. “We had spent the last several years shrinking our business by looking at the economics and maybe we went too far.”
NBC programmers probably had to earmark $125 million to $150 million for new-show development, about double last year’s total, according to researcher Jack Myers of the Jack Myers Media Business Report.
Question is, will that tremendous increase in their development budget lead to a corresponding increase in profits?
That's the $64 million question.
A year ago NBC didn't think so. This is what Jeff Gaspin had to say the morning after the premiere of the Jay Leno Show a year ago:
“It’s great to launch this innovative new show with such strong initial sampling, but we realize this is just one night and that we’re going to build our business in this time period with ratings that will level out over time. Our focus is on delivering a great show and developing a consistent comedy viewing habit at 10 p.m. over the long haul.”