News Briefs: NBC Says It's Going to Finish First in the Ratings This Season

By Tim Surette

Apr 23, 2014


... NBC is looking at a first-place finish in the ratings for the 2013–2014 of primetime television. Yep, check the calendar, it's not April 1. On the strengths of The VoiceThe BlacklistThe Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and of course the Winter Olympics, the network might finally end its drought in the all-important advertiser-friendly 18- to 49-year-old demographic, Peacock bosses said in an earnings report today. NBCU chief executive Steve Burke thinks NBC will finish 12-percent higher than the second-place finisher, which I'm assuming would be CBS. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to jump off a building because I'm sure I can fly now. [LA Times]


... Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz has landed a development deal with Netflix, meaning the writer-producer (and sometimes actor) will create a show exclusively for the streaming-video giant. And so the Internet TV takeover begins in earnest! Goodbye, regular old television! [Deadline]

... Ellen Degeneres is expanding her empire with Ellen's Design Challenge, a reality competition show that will air on HGTV. Contestants will be tasked with building pieces of furniture in 24 hours, and the network has ordered six episodes for a 2015 premiere. [THR]

... Today it was Travel Channel's turn to grace the big Upfront stage, and the network didn't have any ready-to-go new series to announce, but it does have eight pilots in development. They are: 

– Adventure Capitalists, which is like a cross between Shark Tank and a travel show, with investors traveling to exotic locales to be pitched by local tourist businesses.

– Breaking Borders, in which two hosts head to conflict zones to collect first-person takes on what's going on from both sides. 

– Find My Past, where travelers visit their ancestors' lands to learn about their great great great great great great great great great granddaddies. 

– Guiding Alaska, which follows the eccentric crew of an Alaskan wilderness resort. 

– Metropolis, a travel series that showcases familiar cities in ways you've never seen before. 

– Nigel's Last Resort, which is hosted by luxury resort developer Nigel Franklyn and takes viewers inside the most outlandish hot spots across the globe. 

– Only In..., a local's look at some of the most unique and off-the-beaten-path spots in the world. 

– Watt's World, which follows journalist Nick Watt as he digs deep into the subcultures of the world. [Travel Channel via press release]

... The Food Network also got busy today, unveiling 35 new series between itself and sister network Cooking Channel. Among the highlights are The Valerie Bertinelli Project, which sees the Hot in Cleveland star cook dinner for friends and family; Game of Cones, an ice-cream flavor competition; and The Big Tip, in which Rachael Ray travels around the country leaving some serious cheddar behind for hardworking servers. Then I assume Guy Fieri follows along behind her and grabs the cash to stuff in his goatee. For the full list of shows, which are mostly variations on cooking competitions or Bobby Flay grilling something, hit the link. [Deadline

... In nerdy sports business news, ESPN has landed one of the NFL's Wild Card playoff games at the cost of about $100 million. NBC, which used to carry two Wild Card games, will now get a divisional playoff game. That game will alternate yearly between the NFC and the AFC, meaning CBS and Fox will alternate between losing a play-off game each season. Look, if you understand football, then you understand this, right? [Sports Business Daily]


... The series finale of the super-duper-funny The IT Crowd is now available on Hulu. The episode aired overseas late last year, but this is the first time it's been legally watchable in America. It's free, too! A must for fans of Community and other awesome things. I could watch The IT Crowd for days, and I have. [Hulu]

... Kristen Bell got SFW-naked for Allure and—hey, you've already clicked the link haven't you? [Allure]

... Entertainment Weekly wants to show you the first two pictures from the second season of SundanceTV's fantastic Rectify. Season 2 begins June 19. [EW]


... Lost's Nestor Carbonell (the immortal Richard Alpert) will drop by The Good Wife early next month. He'll play a charming entrepreneur who puts some romance in the pants of Alicia when they meet during jury duty. That means Carbonell will be two-timing a couple of CBS actresses, having recently caught the eye of Shaw on Person of Interest. Look for Carbonell in The Good Wife's May 4 episode. [TV Guide

... History plans to keep pumping out original programming via the miniseries format, and is throwing some cash around to get recognizable names, too. The upcoming Texas Rising—which recreates the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of Walker's pals, the Texas Rangers—has wrangled a couple familiar TV faces in Robert Knepper (Prison Break, Heroes) and Jeremy Davies (Lost, Justified). Knepper will play a slobbish lawman, and Davies will play a shifty fella who joins the Rangers to avoid execution. A premiere date hasn't yet been announced. [Deadline

... Reign will entertain a visit from Battlestar Galactica's Tahmoh Penikett later this season. In the May 1 episode, Penikett, who also appeared on Dollhouse, will guest-star as a nobleman who's also a mercenary for hire. There's no word on whether he'll stick around for multiple episodes; Hunky Nostradamus knows, but he's not telling. [E! Online]

... NBC has added the dynamic duo of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir to its Kentucky Derby coverage, where they'll commentate on fashion at the pony race. The former Olympic figure skaters were rad in their first pairing as commentators for NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics, so this is a deserved gig. Now give them a sitcom, NBC! [NBC via press release]

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  • numberonecubsfa Apr 24, 2014

    I love that the preview picture to the article is Sean Saves The World, a show you guys utterly loathe. Way to stick it to them.

  • firedrakes Apr 23, 2014

    the Food Network also got busy today, unveiling 35 new series between itself and sister network Cooking Channel
    my good their pandering badly now to get rattings with that many new shows

  • JT_Kirk Apr 23, 2014

    Oh NBC, you had 4 things going for you and 75 against, I guess that's something. So, gonna schedule another Winter Olympics next year, too?

    Uhhhh, I think I need to change my pants, the idea of Mitch Hurwitz with the freedom of Netflix and no baggage makes me uncomfortably happy.

    Kristen Bell naked, that's nic... yuck, I hate sandy nude shots. That photo isn't as tasteful and artistic as I wa expecting, but she is in nice shape.

    I would like Nestor Carbonell to appear on The Good Wife using his Suddenly Susan accent... his "Shushan" accent.

  • vampman87 Apr 23, 2014

    CBS has six shows I like (NCIS, NCIS: LA, CSI, Elementary, Crazy Ones, Big Bang Theory), FOX has one (Sleepy Hollow), CW has two (Arrow, Supernatural) ABC has one (Agents of SHIELD), and NBC has three (Chicago P.D, Law & Order: SVU, The Blacklist) Of the networks, however, I rank NBC as having the weakest shows. There were quite a few shows that NBC did air that I liked, but for one reason or another they failed miserably ("The Cape" tried launching a super hero no one ever heard of, "Camp," despite being the strongest show I've seen in years, was the target of a bunch of crazy conservatives because it had a realistic gay couple played straight, and "Dracula" had some REALLY hammy acting, plot holes that reached the center of the Earth, and the best character who provided the voice of reason DIED in the finale).

    NBC cannot put its eggs in one basket with "The Blacklist" being the only scripted show they think will put them back to #1 in the ratings game. The show is quite good, yes, but only thanks to the acting genius of James Spader. Every scene he's in is magical, but "Reddington-light" episodes show the major flaws of the characters: they're pretty much morons who can't solve their way out of a paper bag without Red's help. Should Spader decide to leave the show the series will fall apart.

    NBC needs more than just one scripted show, and unfortunately for them that's really hard to come by these days. Their comedies suck (admit it, Community-lovers, the show lost its flavor two seasons ago) and if I recall they scrapped ALL their new comedies this season. Dick Wolf is pretty much the network's saving throw: his three series (L&O;: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D.) are all pretty strong and have been guaranteed renewal, but LOTS of people say that SVU hasn't been the same since Chris Meloni left (and a crazy faction of fans want all of Chris's new projects to fail so he can go back to playing Stabler full time until the series ends) and the series went from being pretty well rounded after Meloni's departure to being almost ENTIRELY about Olivia Benson (She's the only cast member in the season 15 icon on Itunes! Season 13 and 14's icons had all the cast members in a group photo.)

    Long story short, NBC needs to really step up in quality if they want to beat CBS. I'm not saying they should put their shows on stand-alone cruise control (like CSI or NCIS) but they should at least develop their characters more and not focus their spotlights on one single entity, even if that entity is made up of awesome like James Spader. They'll be lucky if they can even get half the ratings of Scandal (which I don't care for, but my mom LOVES!)

  • Lars900 Apr 23, 2014

    I wonder if they'll be surprised when it appears they didn't finish first..

  • dodge_hickey Apr 23, 2014

    Fallon is a great entertainer, the Tonight Show is entertaining (sorry Letterman :-P).

  • hvanhagen Apr 23, 2014

    this "make money on the internet"-advertising cr#p gets really annoying.

  • IndianaMom Apr 23, 2014

    My heart actually started beating faster when I scrolled down and saw the cast from The IT Crowd. Thank you, Hulu! Meanwhile, I'm sure NBC has some way to spin things to make the ratings come out the way they like. Doesn't everybody? You'll have to excuse me now, I've got the hot ear.

  • funnyl3unni Apr 23, 2014

    The IT Crowd is among my favorite shows! Just seeing it in the News Briefs made my day! If not for the Olympics I'd be willing to bet NBC would NOT finish first, and possibly wouldn't even finish second. Ugh, NBC. Can we stop talking about them now?! That is until after they decide the fate of Community, in which case pending that outcome they will be all I talk about - six seasons and a movie!

  • hvanhagen Apr 23, 2014

    you do know that community is likely to be cancelled, right?
    and to be honest, they should do it.

  • funnyl3unni Apr 23, 2014

    Yes, I know it's likely to be canceled - however, NBC put a lot of eggs in baskets that fell apart. They'll likely avid a straight cancellation of Community and have it go on hiatus indefinitely, keep it on the shelf, and use it as a filler for if/when (lets be serious, when) a pilot they green light bombs. If they have a pilot that takes off they then would issue the walking papers.

    I disagree that it should be canceled. After season 4 I would've agreed wholeheartedly because Dan Harmon's exit proved to be horrible for the show. Him returning in Season 5 made a notable difference. IMO where S5 fell apart was with Donald Glover's exit coinciding with Chevy Chase's exit. I thought S5 was far better than S4, but not the Community glory days that's for sure. That being said, as a fan I'd still like closure, so despite whether it should or should not get renewed ratings and quality wise, I still want it to.

  • ludoTV Apr 23, 2014

    Yep NBC will end first for sure and GoT will have a happy ending. Someone's been watching 'Believe' in a loop...

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