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After exec shuffle, low-rated NBC faces 'uphill battle'

December 6, 2008 |  1:01 am

Nbcexecs2_kbfg41ncNBC, struggling as its fall lineup mostly tanked, is reshuffling its senior management. Embattled network programmer Teri Weinberg and Universal Media TV studio head Katherine Pope are both out, according to Variety. And NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman is said to be looking for a new entertainment president, a job that's officially been vacant since Kevin Reilly exited in 2007.

But it's going to take a lot more than changing the office nameplates to make NBC competitive again. The network is now in fourth place for the season to date in both viewers and the crucial demographic of adults aged 18 to 49. Today, New York-based advertising firm Magna Global -- which tends to give each network the benefit of the doubt -- looked over the results of the November sweep and said NBC faces "an uphill battle" going into midseason, largely because it lacks new scripted hits. However, the firm did point out that ABC and Fox had posted larger sweep declines than NBC compared with last year.

Things are about to get tougher still for NBC. That's because at the end of this month, the network will air the last of its high-rated Sunday football games this season. That will translate into a net loss of roughly half a million viewers from its weekly average, or about two-tenths of a rating point in 18- to 49-year-olds. With Fox likely to get high ratings again come January with "American Idol," it's looking impossible for NBC to avoid another fourth-place finish this season.

Where's the good news? Well, on Feb. 1, NBC will air its first Super Bowl in 10 years. Last year's game set a record for Fox, with nearly 100 million viewers.

-- Scott Collins 

Photo: NBC Entertainment.  Pictured are (l to r) Universal Media Studios head Katherine Pope, "My Own Worst Enemy" star Christian Slater and Executive Vice President of NBC Entertainment Teri Weinberg.

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cj tribes

How ironic that President Bush a Yale grad runs a whole country into the economic ground and Jeff Zucker a Harvard grad runs a whole network into the ratings ground. Jeffrey R. Immelt and his light bulb company is still in the dark about what it takes to run a entertainment company.
By the way, Jeffrey has a M.B.A. from Harvard business School. What the hell are they teaching them at the ivy league schools ?

PS,And, don't get me started on the auto exec's and politicians their distorted view of entitlement.


Watching the crisis at NBC is like watching the foibles of the Detroit Lions. When will NBC realize that their problems are at the very top.

NBC has been in steady decline ever since the ascension of Zuckerman and Silverman.

If NBC really wanted to change course, the Zucker and Silver men would be the first to go. Fred Silverman they're not.

I believe Grant Tinker's credo was, "First be best, then be first." Too bad he's not in charge today.