NBC may scale back hours

By Lila Holland

Dec 09, 2008

NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker has announced that the network is considering "all options" in an effort to come out ahead in a time of economic hardship and a swiftly changing media milieu. One such option involves the potential cutting of prime-time hours--or even the dropping of an entire broadcast night.

NBC, currently ranked fourth in viewership, is facing a new climate in which advertisers have less to spend, viewers aren't chained to set airtimes, and weekend TV is gasping for breath.

"Can we continue to broadcast 22 hours in primetime? Three of our competitors don't," Zucker mused during today's UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. "Can we continue to broadcast seven days a week? One of our competitors doesn't."

Though Zucker stressed that schedule cuts are only on the bargaining table and not yet written in stone, it's possible that the network could benefit from a little CW-style streamlining. The latter, newer network boasts a small stable of successful shows, and shies away from weekend and late-night programming--indeed, the CW washed its hands of Sunday-night doldrums by selling that time to an independent production company looking for a place to call its own.

Though this "evolution" of broadcasting could be a boon for the network, management seems a bit nervous about the impression such a move could give. "It's not giving up," said Zucker. "It's not retrenching. It's not throwing in the towel."

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  • tvjunkie24 Dec 10, 2008

    NBC, don't touch 30ROCK!

  • mikeocfan Dec 10, 2008

    tjaman i agree that chuck is amazing...im actually a little worried that if they do cut back the hours of broadcast tv will chuck be a show to suffer? what do you guys think? i think nbc loves chuck so thats always a good thing but its not that highly rated at 6+ million an epp this season.

  • tjaman Dec 09, 2008

    "Chuck" kicks ass. Program more "Chuck," please. :)

  • AprilFox Dec 09, 2008

    I think it's a wise idea but why not open up the NBC vaults and bring out the classics to air Late Night just like the good ole days. I wouldn't mind tuning into M Squad or Bob Hope Shows, they have quite a library so why not fill it with something a new generation might enjoy and appreciate.

  • Nikkles Dec 09, 2008

    I can see dropping weekend programing but why cut back primetime?

  • Water78 Dec 09, 2008

    the only time people watch nbc is on thursday and with saturday night live

  • kopeckee Dec 09, 2008

    Sunday night football is part of those hours .Saturday is reruns .... So now with Leno at 10 pm . you need 10 hours of good shows.... Good shows get a following..Puts some of those on Jeff.

  • huntercal Dec 09, 2008

    well for me The Office and 30 Rock are the only things worth watching on NBC right now, so maybe some fresh thinking needs to be brought in.

  • toonaspie Dec 09, 2008

    The only shows worth watching right now are ironically on ABC and FOX. Hopefully better ratings for my shows then. :D

  • peon4570 Dec 09, 2008

    That is just the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Just make better shows and people will watch. Don't downsize primetime!

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