Question of the week: what can NBC do to get people to actually watch its programmes?

Well, we’re three weeks into the fall season and we’ve already had our first drama cancellation – NBC’s The Playboy Club. It wasn’t a great show, but it wasn’t bad, certainly better than the likes of CBS’s Unforgettable and ABC’s Revenge. Yet The Playboy Club couldn’t even get 4m viewers for its final episode, while Unforgettable and Revenge are getting closer to 10m.

However, The Playboy Club is not alone. NBC’s remake of Prime Suspect got 6m viewers for its first episode, the worst debut for a Thursday night fall drama. And that’s pretty good. Now take a look at NBC’s undeniably excellent Community. That gets just about 4.5m, too, while the absolutely appalling and very racist 2 Broke Girls on CBS gets about 10m. What’s up there?

So today’s question is:

What does NBC have to do to get people to watch its programmes if quality isn’t it the answer and people will watch any old tat on the other networks?


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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