As 'Off Their Rockers' Out Rates 'Community' & '30 Rock' Does NBC Need More Betty?

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

Written By

April 20th, 2012

Those keeping score at home can't have missed the fact that Betty White's Off Their Rockers (1.6 adults 18-49 rating) out rated both of the "Night Formerly Known As Must See TV" sitcoms Community (1.3) and 30 Rock (1.5) this week.

It seems a perfect discussion for a Friday afternoon.

Does NBC need more Betty?

  • Ultima

    @Walt Milos
    What NBC need to do is become the First Network to Get out of the REALITY SHOW Business!

    I know you don’t want to hear this, but that’s not going to happen. A full schedule of scripted programming is just too expensive.

    By the way, when was the last time a network had massive amounts of scripted programming, the early 1980s? People tend to forget that reality TV for the most part didn’t replace scripted programs, but rather the movie nights and newsmagazines.

  • Chuck_T

    Add her to the cast of Community. Get rid of Chevy and add Betty White as an elderly lady going back to school. Actually not a bad idea.

  • Liz


    And to think that I’ve seen people on here lobbying for the networks to bring back movie nights! Does anyone actually want to watch a movie that’s been chopped up with commercials, “edited for content,” and possibly panned-and-scanned? The movie nights were cancelled in the first place because home video made it possible to watch a movie in its original version, so nobody felt the need to watch it on TV.

    People also tend to forget that unscripted programming is not new. Early TV was lousy with variety shows, primetime news, and game shows. Why do people seem to think that “reality TV” is some kind of new trend?

  • joel

    Betty was already on Community; season premiere of season two I believe, as a professor.

  • Holly

    Why do people seem to think that “reality TV” is some kind of new trend?

    Because we have memory spans that rival that of goldfish.

    I had a comment a couple of years ago that I would copy and paste every time someone started blaming reality TV for taking time away from scripted series. It showed that the number of hours devoted to regular scripted series isn’t significantly less now than in the 70s…. I wonder if I can find that….

  • RobertN

    NBC needs more Chuck!

  • Bill Gorman

    “What if the ratings for NBC are going to be the new standard ratings in the future for broadcast nets?”

    They will be.

    But all broadcast ratings today are small compared to past years. And that trend is 30 years old.

  • Bill Gorman

    ” I wonder if I can find that….”

    Sadly, the problems we had last week, which lead to a general comment extinction will make that more difficult.

  • Holly



    I’m not sure I’m willing to do the work to rewrite that (since it would involve looking up how many hours of the types of programming premiered each year)…

  • gregg

    The office, 30 rock and community, i could never get into those show. never found them funny at all. Either does anyone else. nobody watches that mess called NBC

  • GreatTVDude

    I wouldn’t say the network needs more Betty White shows, but it certainly needs to renew Off Their Rockers. It’s not that highly rated, but if it can help stablize the network, that’s what is needed for now.

    A reboot to The Office will continue to kill the network. While the network has gotten rid of many great shows over the years, some of them have went on far too long. I mean, when none of the main characters want to remain on a show, it’s time to end it or at least spin it off and ending the current story.

    Letting old shows fall and failing to let new shows grow is what got the network in this mess. That and broadcast viewership as a whole is falling, even CBS.

  • Clarke

    This is kind of a random question but why don’t networks do original television movie nights anymore? Back in the 1970’s NBC had a successful NBC Mystery Movie wheel show with hits like Columbo & McMillan and Wife. ABC also tried a Mystery Movie Night in the late 80’s. It would be a cool idea to do mystery movie night revival on NBC Saturday nights. They could bring back Tony Shalhoub’s Monk with new TV movies and have other mystery movies rotate every week. Just a random idea that probably wouldn’t work…. just wishful thinking on my part :).

  • CrimTV

    this may be a off topic question but I see all of these people being able to read pilot scripts saying “the pilot is great, I read the script” but it was just normal people saying that, does anyone know how to read any pilot scripts?

  • David Howell

    Betty on Friday makes a lot of sense to me, especially if it’s up against three unscripted shows. Between it, Grimm, and perhaps a final season of Community or 30 Rock in the 8:30 slot, NBC might be halfway decent on Fridays.

    Mind you, NBC is so badly hurting with scripted shows that I’m almost surprised they’re not trying to run an unscripted show into the ground as they did with Deal or No Deal a few years back. Or maybe they are going to run an unscripted show into the ground, by having a fall cycle of The Voice…

  • Networkman

    I do feel Off Their Rockers is needed in the Fall. NBC’s main goal should be to start phasing out their single cam comedies. That means Go On should not get picked up. Matthew Perry is not a big draw as a lead actor. And it sounds like another quirky niche show. They should devote Wednesday night to multi cams. That would be an alternative to what ABC is offering. Off Their Rockers would lead off the night.

    8pm Off Their Rockers
    8:30pm Downwardly Mobile
    9pm Whitney
    9:30pm LadyFriends

    Guys with Kids can be held for midseason to following Downwardly Mobile at 8:30pm once Off Their Rockers is pulled. NBC should then nurture these shows. Air one after 90 minute Voice once in awhile. Promote the heck out of them. The network has to strive for a new identity.

  • Liz


    This is kind of a random question but why don’t networks do original television movie nights anymore?

    There doesn’t seem to be much of an audience for broadcast TV movies anymore. The ones that air now, like the Hallmark Hall of Fame and Jesse Stone movies, get pretty bad ratings. Why have they gone out of favor with viewers? I’m not exactly sure. But just judging by current ratings, I can see why networks would be extremely hesitant about putting any more of them on the air, especially on Saturday nights, which the networks appear to have given up on, probably because the advertisers won’t pay for time on Saturdays.

  • Oliver

    NBC should order another season of Off Their Rockers, but use it as a mid-season replacement and/or filler programming, since I can’t imagine the show having much longevity.

    NBC should do two things.

    First, they need to figure out why every new scripted show they commission flops, and why their scripted shows decline in quality and collapse in the rratings (Heroes, Smash, The Office, My Name Is Earl). There is something fundamentally wrong with show development at the network.

    Secondly, they need to order fewer shows but put more resources into them. Rebuilding the network is a long-term project that won’t happen overnight. This means NBC will suffer further short-term losses but will have long-term gains.

    Off Their Rockers is crap and Community’s ratings suck, but renewing them will cost NBC very little and they can quietly fill timeslots with virtually no promotion. NBC can then throw all their resources at something new that might actually succeed.

  • Liz


    why their scripted shows decline in quality and collapse in the rratings

    Is this really something that’s unique to NBC? After all, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, Bones, etc., are hardly doing the numbers that they used to. Shows naturally decline in ratings as they get older (especially if you lose the star of the show, as The Office did), and declining in quality is always subjective. I’m sure plenty of people still love Grey’s Anatomy, and plenty of people think it’s now utter crap and has been for the past few years.

    As to why their shows flop right out of the gate, I think it’s pretty obvious. No one is watching the network in the first place, so how can they pull in new viewers? Sure there are billboards, magazine ads, and so on. But the most practical way of advertising is surely using your own shows to tell viewers to watch other shows on the network.

    I don’t really buy the development-problem idea, at least not as the root cause of the problem.

  • Oliver

    Well, the root cause of the problem is NBC’s terrible development strategy after the huge success of the 1994 season which launched the megahits Friends/ER. The huge success of those shows allowed them to paper over the cracks until they shows ended. They also made some utterly idiotic decisions in recent years (Jay Leno and Deal or No Deal).

    Last season, NBC rewned a single new scripted series (Harry’s Law) despite NBC commissioning more new scripted shows than any other network. The last few years for NBC have been a long list of complete flops. This season has been slightly better (Smash, Grimm, Whitney) but the entire network has declined, so they had a lower goal to reach.

    NBC’s ratings collapse quicker than other networks. CSI, Grey’s Anatomy and Bones are all doing better than The Office despite being on TV for at least as long. CSI/Grey’s have also suffered from their biggest stars leaving. Earl and Heroes only lasted four seasons despite being the biggest hits of their respective seasons.

    NBC also didn’t have problems convincing people to watch The Voice.

    The problem is that NBC has systemically lost the ability to create compelling scripted shows.

    They also don’t know what they want and who they’re aiming for. Their schedule is utterly schizophrenic: women-oriented reality shows (The Voice, Biggest Loser), procedurals (SVU, Awake), young-skewing single-camera comedies (30 Rock, Community), multi-camera comedies (Whitney, Chelsea) and football. Oh, and SNL and Jay Leno.

    ABC aim at families and women. CBS aim for an older audience (multi-cam sitcoms, procedurals). Fox traditionally aimed at young people, but they’re in a complete tailspin too. The CW aim at young women (although they’ve trapped themselves in a niche that’s too small and cable are better at it). Who the hell are NBC appealing to, exactly? What defines their network?

  • chrisss

    Screw Betty, NBC needs more Whitney (if only to entertain me)

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