After seeing the monstrous ratings for NBC’s new Monday night lineup of The Voice and Smash, I wonder if the struggling networks’ new-found success on Monday nights will translate into success on other nights?
The answer is most likely going to be no. However, having one clear-cut successful night on their grid where they can get a guaranteed win – or at least second place, depending on the ratings from usual Monday night winner CBS – NBC will have the confidence under their belt to consider making better scheduling decisions, and maybe make some daring moves on what shows to keep for next season, and which shows to ax.
This will not be an easy process for NBC. There are no shows currently on the network that is reliable to help win a night singlehandedly, or even win a time period, besides The Voice and Smash. Is is too early for NBC to be counting their victories after only one week? Of course, especially since shows tend to lose viewers in the second week. Even if The Voice and Smash lose 1 rating point each, and up to 2 million viewers each, both shows will still hover well above the averages for every other show on the network.
After an impressive showing after The Super Bowl, The Voice attracted 17.7 million viewers and a 6.6 in the demo, up compared to its first season premiere of 12 million viewers in April 2011. Smash was welcomed by 11.5 million viewers, a decent decline from its lead-in, but beat The Bachelor and Hawaii 5-0 in the timeslot, as well as being the highest rated 10p.m. show of the season.
What else should be done to help speed NBC’s turnaround?
First off, go night-by-night and see whats not working. During this process, analyze the real problem – cancel the shows that are on the network just to be there, but aren’t being watched by anyone. Why has NBC been airing 2-hour seasons of The Biggest Loser on Tuesdays for the past couple of years? That’s something that only should be done during the summer months. A 2-hour show that only averages 5-6 million viewers a week opposite a show like NCIS, which averages 18-20 million viewers a week isn’t a smart move.
Get rid of shows that may be long running or critically acclaimed. Sometimes its time to say goodbye, but you also have to get rid of shows to make room for potential new hits. Right now I’m focusing on NBC’s Thursday night lineup. A night that NBC owned for 20 years until 2004. A night that was once known as the night to watch sitcoms. A night where multiple top 10 shows would air for seasons upon seasons. Now, Thursdays on NBC are home to critically acclaimed, award magnet-type shows like The Office, 30 Rock, Community, and Parks and Recreation, but nobody watches these shows; as good as they are. Its time to do some re-arranging when the most watched show (The Office) on the Thursday night is only attracting 5 million viewers, and the rest of the lineup is struggling to attract 4 million viewers.
NBC shouldn’t even bat an eye when contemplating the renewals of flops like Whitney, Are You There, Chelsea?, Harry’s Law, Who’s Still Standing, and Who Do You Think You Are? All of these shows are prime examples of shows that are just fillers on a network that has lost its identity and is struggling to find a new one.
NBC still has a few shows that haven’t premiered yet this season. The new drama Awake, which is getting praise everywhere, debuts Thursday, March 1st at 10p.m., and comedies BFF and Bent are slated for a debut later in the season.
Rome wasnt built in a day, and NBC won’t be rebuilt in a week, or even a season. But Monday’s are a great launching pad to start digging the network out of last place.