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NBC's Bob Greenblatt adjusts to bigger stage

January 6, 2012 |  5:57 pm

BobgreenblattNBC's Bob Greenblatt says even a modestly successful show on cable TV can be declared a hit and can run for multiple seasons. But not on broadcast TV.  

The network's entertainment chairman several times on Friday reminded the Television Critics Assn. press tour gathering in Pasadena that broadcast television is different.

Greenblatt, who joined NBCUniversal last January after seven years programming premium cable channel Showtime, tried to minimize comparisons between his stellar track record at Showtime and his more modest results in his first development season at NBC.

Shows on network TV live or die based on the ratings they produce. Greenblatt said he launched more promising shows in three months this fall at NBC than during an entire year at his previous network. And NBC still slogged through a bruising fall, with its ratings plummeting 11%.

Greenblatt bemoaned how the NBC drama "Prime Suspects" was an incredibly strong show creatively, and would have lasted at least five seasons on a cable channel, but couldn't find a big enough audience on the network. Production on the program, a remake of a British television hit, stopped midway through the first season. 

"Maybe I should just blame the hat and move on," Greenblatt said, referring to the distracting fedora that the "Prime Suspects" star, Maria Bello, wore in her role as an intense police detective. 

"There were no great revelations this fall other than [our experience] keeps reinforcing how hard it is to break through," Greenblatt said. 

Read the full story about NBC's "really bad" fall season at our Show Tracker blog.


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—  Meg James 

Photo: NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt speaks at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena. Credit: Chris Haston / NBC