NBC has buzz this season

By Colin Mahan

Jul 12, 2006

NBC hopes if you build buzz, ratings will come.

For the first time in years, the network is on the receiving end of some good news: Three of its new fall shows are flying the highest on the Internet buzzmeter. According to a new study conducted by market research firm Brandimensions, the Saturday Night Live parodies Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and 30 Rock, along with the sci-fi action show Heroes, are getting the most favorable mentions on the Web.

The study monitored blogs, fan sites, message boards, and Web sites for mentions of TV shows premiering in the upcoming fall season. The study showed that in the 2.3 million mentions of new fall shows, the Aaron Sorkin show Studio 60 was mentioned the most, with 22 percent.

In second place was Heroes, with almost 10 percent of the online mentions. NBC clocked in again at number four with Tina Fey's 30 Rock.

Studio 60 is creator Sorkin's one-hour comedy drama chronicling a fictional late-night sketch show similar to SNL. The series stars Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, and Bradley Whitford. Originally scheduled to go up against CSI and Grey's Anatomy on Thursdays, NBC switched the show to Monday nights hoping it could dominate the time period.

"There was a greater sense in mid-May that the time slot for Studio 60 would be a detractor. Based on comments, now that's no longer the case, and NBC appears to have made an excellent move to give this show a chance. It would have been lost in the shuffle," said Brandimensions analyst Michael Coristine.

Also based on SNL is 30 Rock, a 30-minute sitcom named after 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the New York building that houses the SNL studios. The show stars head writer Fey as the head writer for a fictional sketch comedy show called The Girlie Show, presided over by network crony Alec Baldwin. Tracy Morgan portrays a comic known as Tracy Jordan.

The superhero show Heroes tells the story of ordinary people who are given superpowers, and it's being compared to ABC's hit Lost. Each week, an animated graphic novel will be added to NBC.com to expand the story from the episode.

NBC needs a shot in the arm. The network was once home to "must-see TV" and comfortably rested at number one. In the past two years it tumbled to number four of the big four networks and pulled in only 1.9 billion in yearly advertising, down 1 billion from 2004.

Other shows that scored highly include CBS's postapocalypse drama Jericho, ABC's Six Degrees and comedy Ugly Betty, and Fox's conspiracy drama Vanished. Scoring lowest was the upcoming CW sitcom, The Game, with less than 1 percent of total mentions.

This report shows not only that the Internet can help shows gain buzz, but that market research firms will troll the vast netherworlds of the Web in search of that buzz so they can repurpose it and, hopefully, create more of it.

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  • superdinobot Jul 13, 2006


  • Creeper04 Jul 13, 2006

    Heroes looks pretty interesting to me.

    And considering the appetite this country seems to have for the superhero genre as it relates to movies (ie. X-Men, Superman, Batman, Spiderman, etc.) added to the great buzz I have seen for this show elsewhere, I'll be surprised if this show doesn't do well.

    Also, to those that point to the failings of Invasion, Surface and Threshold last year as a possible indicator of failure for Heroes, realize that those shows were nothing like Heroes. Invasion was a really s-l-o-w sci-fi/horror show, Surface as practically for kids and Threshold... well, IMO Threshold was kind of a generic rehash of older, more popular, sci-fi shows like X-Files.

    Meh... it's just my opinion. But I think Heroes will do well.

  • IndianaMom Jul 13, 2006

    I like knowing that the pollsters are watching sites like this one to see what people like us think.

  • rsloane Jul 13, 2006

    yeah i don't think heroes sounds good either.

  • rsloane Jul 13, 2006

    yeah i don't think heroes sounds good either.

  • Finalsequel Jul 12, 2006

    Heroes sounds intresting, but taking in the reaction to shows last year like Invasion, Threshold, and Surface, its going to be hard for it to survive. I also like Studio 60. For once I might actualy watch NBC.

  • pgsuperfan Jul 12, 2006

    looks interesting

  • JohnnySeidz Jul 12, 2006

    I agree. NBC has many of the most promising new series for nest season.

  • mt283 Jul 12, 2006

    'Heroes' doesn't sound all that great