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September 3, 2015

NBC not going all-reality, says NBC

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 5th 2008 11:32AM

Ben SilvermanA lot of people are worried that NBC has suddenly changed into a reality/game show channel. Not only has NBC had Deal Or No Deal, The Apprentice, 1 vs. 100, and The Biggest Loser on the schedule for a few seasons, they now also have American Gladiators, Nashville Star, a game show hosted by Dennis Miller called Amnesia, America's Favorite Mom, and My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad. And don't forget the Bernie Mac reality show Welcome to the Family. They aren't the only network to have reality/game shows, but they seem to be taking the lead in getting the most on the air (and canceling scripted shows).

Now NBC chief Ben Silverman tells The Los Angeles Times that he meant that this is just a temporary thing, because of the strike. They are still picking up scripted sitcoms and dramas and things will go back to normal after the strike is over.

But recent moves by NBC and comments from Silverman and Jeff Zucker seem to hint that NBC actually might be moving towards more reality and games shows. Zucker says he's getting rid of expensive pilots, which in itself isn't a bad thing (I'm sick of expensive, incredible pilots that lead to a mediocre series), but it could be another clue that they are changing the way they do business. Zucker also says that NBC might stop doing upfronts, and let's not forget that Silverman himself said just a few weeks ago that "In every other country in the world, the majority of prime-time programming is unscripted...It also has to do with demographics. Young people like this kind of programming...Time periods may be lost to scripted shows."

You don't have to be Columbo or Monk to put the clues together and see where NBC might be heading.

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As for me....I find it hard to remember the last time i regularly watched an NBC or ABC show. Am I Alone?

February 05 2008 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Nutz4rice's comment

There's nothing on ABC that I watch apart from the local news. As for NBC, it owns me on Mondays and Wednesdays with Life, Chuck, Heroes, and, sob, Journeyman.

February 05 2008 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Survivor" is on because it still puts up ratings in the Top 20 consistently every season. Last year, even though ratings were "down", it was still in the Top 15 every week. For a show to consistently do that, after 15 seasons, is rare. But they, along with "American Idol", "The Amazing Race", and the newest of the bunch, "Dancing with the Stars", are the exception.

As someone else said, reality shows usually hit big in the ratings for a couple seasons, and then quickly fizzle with overexposure.

It may all come down to money and business, but I wish some network somewhere would have the balls to show some artistic integrity and put on quality programming. For the last 2 seasons under Kevin Reilly NBC was doing this (for the most part) and their numbers were slowly but surely improving. Their reputation was also improving industry-wide. But Ben Silverman has absolutely destroyed any and all of that. It's so sad.

February 05 2008 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe they'll start airing Deal or No Deal more nights a week. I just can't make it through the day without knowing what's in that briefcase!

February 05 2008 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why don't these networks resurrect "movie nights", as were popular in the 1960's and 70's? Show old movies from the 1930-1960s. I remember seeing plenty of old movies (which were new to me) as a kid, such as the Japanese monster movies and classic noir stuff.

I'd rather see this than yet another dumb game show.

February 05 2008 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Prediction: Silverman will not look long term, will start to favor reality shows which usually get a ton of viewership early, and then will be right back where he is now with nobody watching because the novelty of these shows wear off. Look no further than Survivor on CBS. It has about a quarter of the viewership it had when it premiered. The only reason CBS keeps it is because it wins the hour, since ABC and NBC can't find anything to compete with it. So Survivor may win, but it also means a whole lot less people just aren't watching TV on Thursdays at 8 anymore. If he's using reality as a stop gap to give a longer amount of time to develop really good scripted shows, then hats off to him.

February 05 2008 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ben Silverman is such an extraordinary tool.

February 05 2008 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The networks created an atmosphere which drove all quality programming to cable; it's hurt nbc first and hardest, but it may catch up with the others if they are as stupid as nbc. I have no idea why anyone watches the garbage they put on the air, but people are watching and it costs them very little, making it a successful business model. They have to take that course rather than run into what happened this season again...they had to return money to advertisers because their scripted shows did so badly. It's hard to argue for FNL when an original ep came in third to a House repeats win, but they are still standing by the always fourth place 3rock for now.

February 05 2008 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know about those "other countries" but in mine (France) the majority of prime-time programming is made of movies and scripted tv shows (which is relatively new for tv shows, usually in the afternoon, so thanks to the exemple from american networks). Real-tv is pretty rare on prime time (mostly our version of American Idol and that's it), and the rest is for social/political documentaries. I won't speak for the others, but no Mr Silverman, it is not like you say in EVERY other country, but apparently you need to justify your stupid choices.

And I don't know who are those "young people" he is talking about but he sounds like an old idiot, and personnally, I feel offended for my generation.

I'm really pissed at the guy. When I read how he is eluding questions about Friday Night Lights by responding "You know what's good? 30 Rock. Go watch 30 Rock. Nobody's watching FNL", I get quite angry because he's gonna kill the best thing on his network. I love 30 Rock, but that's not the point. Supposedly NBC has a reputation to keep... You know what Silverman, Friday Night Lights is one of the rare things that still gives a tiny bit of a good reputation to NBC! Get a brain.

(p.s: sorry for the grammar mistakes)

February 05 2008 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Like it or not, the networks are businesses first. Reality and game shows don't cost as much and people watch them. Even with a lot of hype, a perfect ensemble cast, and a great script, a show may not get the viewers of a game show.

February 05 2008 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Deb Shiner

I am sick of the reality tv shows! They tend to get boring and also just how many times do we have to see other go thru the desert eat garbage, and lie and cheat on each other! We also have enough games on tv, bring back some good ole drama and comedys please I realize you are trying to get young viewers but what about us middle age folks ?

February 05 2008 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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