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?




  • Mark Carroll

    I’m amused by the silence in response to this question.
    Maybe networks are for mass-appeal tat and quality is best used for getting the more discerning to pay for subscription channels.

  • Jason S.

    Think of it this way: For the last half decade or so, NBC’s offerings has been largely targeted at the “upper class” of the West and East Coast, which to demographers includes the major cable viewers; this is why much of NBC’s trash has that glossy, film-quality look to it. (By contrast, the other networks have much more for the “lower class”, especially Middle America, and thus show their trash more traditionally.) As a result of this, NBC is going to get lower ratings because their “target audience” is proportionally smaller than the “target audience” of CBS, ABC, and FOX.

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