What Can New NBC Shows Expect From Olympics Promotion? Not Much, If 2008 Is Any Guide

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August 3rd, 2012

Those who expect ratings success for the new NBC shows because of the promotion during the Olympics have very short memories.

Who can forget the new NBC shows for Fall 2008 that were promo'd during the 2008 Beijing Olympics? (which ended 2 weeks closer to the season premiere week than the London Olympics will)

Apparently everyone.

All were canceled without any of them even getting a full season order.

My Own Worst Enemy (the Christian Slater curse is born!) lasted 9 episodes
Knight Rider, lasted 17 episodes
Kath & Kim, lasted 17 episodes
America's Toughest Jobs (reality, started late August, season/series finale Oct)
Crusoe (started after ATJ) lasted 12 episodes.

So much for the value of Olympic promotion.

  • Steven Leitner

    Actually, Kath & Kim lasted 17 episodes.

  • Noname_Rex

    Yeah well while that may be true, I think NBC’s a little bit of a different (and frankly better) network compared to back then.

    YES they still struggle, but a lot of that (imo) is because of that disaster of a man named Jeff Zucker.

  • Steven Leitner

    This was also the season My Name is Earl went away.

  • J.G.

    The only heavily promoted fall show I think will bomb is Guys with Kids. Everything else (Go On, New Normal, even Revolution) will probably last a full 22.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    @Steven Leitner, correct you are. My error fixed.

    And let’s not forget the hilarious Lipstick Jungle cancellation saga in early 2009 along with the repeated cast claims it wasn’t canceled.

  • Some Guy

    You forget that this is a Matthew Perry comedy we’re talking about.
    With some decent advertising, I’d say.

  • NBCHasProblems

    Bob Greenblatt is a far better programmer than Jeff Zucker, Angela Bromstad, or Ben Silverman ever were. Were there problems with Smash sure and it looks like they’re trying to fix that. But, at least Greenblatt admitted there were problems with it.

  • NBCHasProblems

    But, the ads under Len Fogge have been much better.

  • Agnes

    I think its fair to say the 2012 slate of shows is far more appealing than the 2008 ones. Not that that actually means anything, as quality rarely equals ratings.

  • MattM

    I think Revolution will get a bit of a boost. You can’t blame em for trying. It worked for The Voice.

  • DryedMangoez

    Yeah, I think NBC has stronger shows to promote this time around. No, the Olympics are still no guarantee of success, but it’ll help at least. I like to always go back to “The Event.” Its big premiere shows NBC can at the very least launch a new show that people might want to check out, it’s how to KEEP that big audience they need to figure out.

  • Oliver

    I agree in principle that Olympic promotion had negligible effect in 2008 but a couple of caveats are needed.

    NBC now has lower barriers for renewal. NBC’s ratings are significantly lower than they were in 2008, and only modest ratings are needed for renewal. Even a comparatively small Olympic boost will have a big effect.

    The shows. Zucker/Silverman had some really goofy ideas on development strategy and the 2007-08 development season was interrupted by the writers strike. Notably, this resulted in some shows being ordered straight-to-series with less than desirable results (i.e. Kath & Kim, My Own Worst Enemy, Crusoe). That said, this season NBC does have a sitcom about a monkey and Greenblatt also had some rather Zucker-esque things to say about “broad” shows.

    I suspect the major problem with using the Olympic for promotion is that it’s too early: the Olympics end August 12, and NBC are premiering their shows for 4-8 weeks later. People simply forget about the promos between the Olympics and the shows premiering.

    I’m surprised NBC haven’t been more aggressive and pulled forward more of their shows in an attempt to benefit from Olympic promotion. Sure, it’s a gamble, but one with significant upside when you’re in such a bad position. I think NBC need to be much more aggressive if they’re going to pull out of their tailspin.

  • One @ Oliver

    The flipside of your first point is that the new shows are the biggest drag on NBC’s ratings. So odds are, you’ll still see SVU and Office near the top of their respective stacks in spite of whatever ratings declines they sustain while Guys w/ Kids, Chicago Fire and the others circle the drain and are done before midseason.

  • iMac

    Has the nightly schedule grid said XXX Summer Olympics the entire last week? I no one has noticed? XXX olympics – I’d love to watch that! No wonder the ratings are so good…. (As a math teacher, I am aware of XXX = 30 but c’mon, it just looks wrong….)

  • iMac

    And* no one has noticed? LOL

  • Anthony

    Well I think it is a valid point that the last summer olympics did not help any of those get renewed (since they were all cancelled) but I do think they did help them get sampled. They all premiered decently but then ended up tanking. That speaks to the quality of those shows, not something to do with promotion. I would expect something similar this year, shows premiere decent to huge and then stay steady or decline depending on what the final product ends up being. We’ve seen it before with the Event that NBC can get people to tune in but having a quality product is the key to sustained success. Also take it with a grain of salt since I haven’t seen any of the new shows yet, but they do on the surface appear to be better products than the 2008 shows.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    I agree with Anthony. It’s probably unfair to link any big new show promotion (Olympic or otherwise) to the ultimate, longer term outcomes.

    From NBC’s perspective the promotions will (and I think should) be deemed successful if they result in big samplings of the premieres. I’m not anywhere near convinced that will happen.

    Even a huge sampling of premieres doesn’t ultimately mean a whole lot, but it’s a more useful gauge of the effectiveness of promotions.Flash Forward, V and The Event were all canceled, but it’s not because the pre-season promotions were failures — they all had good sampling for their premieres.

  • QW

    It’s not just 4 years ago. In the weeks after the 3 Summer Olympics before that, NBC premiered Mr. Rhodes, Something So Right, Men Behaving Badly, Suddenly Susan, Dark Skies, The Pretender, Profiler, Ed, Tucker, Deadline, The Michael Richards Show, Titans, Cursed, LAX, Father of the Pride, Hawaii and Joey.

    Suddenly Susan did well sandwiched between Seinfeld and ER, but the rest resulted in ratings that were decent-but-nothing-special, mediocre, or downright awful. I don’t see anything resembling any sort of Olympics boost.

  • Ricky

    As long as Revolution scores well I will be happy. But I will be happier if the new fall sitcoms flop hard. That’ll teach NBC-Universal to crank down their overpromotion machine!

  • NBCHasProblems

    @Anthony, the fact is though that the shows look better. The ads for Revolution and Chicago Fire are cool looking.

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