Can Smash and The Voice Save NBC?

The suits at NBC woke up in a panic this morning, knowing they'd have to find some old Seinfeld-era "We won!" boilerplate to dust off. The network dominated (yes, you read that correctly) Monday night with its tag team of singing competition The Voice and singing drama Smash, winning the 18-49 demo in the 8pm to 10pm time slot on a Monday for the first time since 2008.

Following up on its mondo post-Super Bowl episode, The Voice drew a 6.6 rating in the adult demo and 17.7 million viewers overall. It was the best performance for NBC in that time slot since the Winter Olympics in 2004. The Voice's second hour was particularly impressive, scoring a 7.3 adult demo rating and 19.30 million viewers. That's like American Idol circa 2008 stuff right there.

The debut of Broadway drama Smash fed off The Voice's lead-in with a 3.8 adult demo rating and 11.5 million viewers. Keep in mind that NBC's singalong was up against new episodes from the competition, including House, The Bachelor, and CBS's comedy lineup.

Now for the reality. One of the surprise hits from last season, The Voice has proven itself to be NBC's lifeline. But we should expect ratings to continue to slide after the Super Bowl hangover wears off. The high hopes for Smash probably exceeded what the Broadway drama actually achieved, but for a 10pm debut on NBC, those numbers are pretty solid. The real question is whether word of mouth and positive reviews will be able to build Smash's audience; that's a rare occurrence, and has a better chance of happening with cable shows that start with small audiences.

Look, when you're surrounded by crap, you have to start shoveling somewhere. And Mondays appear to be the launching point for NBC to dig itself out of last place. It's going to be a long road, though. Last night was a good start for the struggling network, but once Monday is over, the rest of the week's dismal programming looms ahead. Maybe Christina Aguilera's weird chest can guest-star on Grimm to boost ratings?

I don't want to take anything away from NBC's victory last night. It was a big one for the network, and the champagne should be flowing. But NBC's problems are so widespread that it's going to take a little more than a few high notes to change its tune.


Do you think The Voice and Smash will kick off a comeback for NBC?


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Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Feb 08, 2012
No there both really good but we all know that with the time, ratings will fall
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Feb 08, 2012
The Voice makes American Idol look like a show of amateur performers, and so provides a more entertaining show. Plus, viewers don't have to put up with Randy Jackson.
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Feb 08, 2012
Its a good thing that many people are watching the Voice right now. Its needs a big audience for a show to drive people to try other things on their network. What I really hate is that the 25,000 Nielsen households are deciding what we watch on tv. So if The Voice helps NBC, I'm fine with it. Something needs to save it, I don't care... It has great shows like Community and Awake (comign soon) that people NEED to watch.
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Feb 08, 2012
The only thing I can think of right now is that scene from 30 Rock where Jack shows Liz a graph of the importance of NBC shows, where The Biggest Loser is the priority, and the secondary was "make it 1997 again." Looks like NBC may have found something.
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Feb 08, 2012
Good news for NBC and I'm really happy that Smash did well. Now let's hope that Awake is a hit.... That being said, they should start fresh and cancel the expensive and aging show ( Law and Order SVU, The Office, The Biggest Loser and 30 Rock), cancel the bad shows (Whitey, Are You There, Chelsea? and Harry's Law), focus on the "hits" (The Voice, America's Got Talent, Grimm, Fear Factor and Smash) and finally keep ( Parenthood, Community and one last season of Parks and Recreation).
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Feb 08, 2012
I root for NBC. I watch the most network tv on them. The Community thing shakes me. I don't like everything they do, but I hope this is a resurgence. Don't squander it.
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Feb 08, 2012
It could certainly go some way to the network getting its credibility back, but ratings wise those numbers are going to drop, and they're not getting any help from elsewhere. They need to use these shows, and others on the network that perhaps have lower ratings but better reception (ie bring Community back), to get better things going for them, and maybe next year make better new shows, so you don't have to pick up another Whitney for a full season.
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Feb 08, 2012
Well, I think it is possible. The Voice alone probably couldn't hack it. But putting on a quality show like Smash (though I admit, I didn't watch it, I'm repeating reviews) can't hurt it, and hopefully, will teach NBC that no matter the ratings, people aren't enjoying a lot of the rot they have broadcasting. Bring back shows that were getting the ratings. Or at least had that potential. And BRING BACK COMMUNITY!
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Feb 08, 2012
It's possible...
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Feb 08, 2012
According to your own infographic from last week, that 17.7m (and later 19.3) is the worst post-game bump in 7 years, despite the game itself being the most watched tv broadcast in network history. So to me, that's the opposite of something to crow about, that's a massive faceplant on NBC's part, squandering a precious and expensive resource. I guess when the rest of your network is so badly behind the 8-ball in the ratings department, any victory at any cost is something.



As for the shows themselves? No, NBC cannot hang their hat on Smash and The Voice. Smash is coming into the season late and will have a hard time holding an audience with only 3 months of shows until the season break, and the concept seems incredibly demanding, and then they have nothing else on the network that it can lead into or play off of, so it's a 1-trick pony. The Voice is just another gimmicky singing reality contest, it's light fare and won't make a network any more than Dancing With the Stars alone could make ABC - it's also not as big as Idol and not as noisy as X-Factor, and then it has to contend with leading out the season into America's Got Talent, so it's getting crowded in its market, you can't make a network off that.
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Feb 08, 2012
Actually the infographic referred to the episode that aired immediately after the superbowl. That episode of The Voice scored 37.6 million viewers which is just a million short of the most in the past 7 years.
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Feb 08, 2012
Does your sister's boyfriend's cousin work there?
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Feb 08, 2012
In a word. NOPE. In more words. No freaking way. Can they sell more ad time and introduce product placement in these two shows. Yes they can they are perfectly set up to do so. That might be the only reason they may stick around. Smash isn't that good, by a long shot. I can see its appeal for a certain demographic, but other than that not a chance. The voice is all right. But again it isn't enough to save it. One decent night of tv doesn't make a network.



NBC has a quality problem. THey can develop quality shows. We have seen this n Community, Parks and Rec and Prime Suspect. But they don't have any idea what to do with them. They either die to bad time slot placement or they they don't let the good shows find their footing. Take a look at what they did, or well didn't do to Southland. And now that is one of the best shows on TV. On another network.





The Voice, I actually have little problem with the Voice I think it is way better than American Idol. The hosts, aside from Carson aren't nearly as annoying as the other shows. And there is no annoying british arse to make it even more unappealable. Aside from Christina who doesn't shut up and continually makes herself more of an arse with each episode. I really have no majors issues with it.



But they can't save the network only quality can save it and NBC severely lacks in quality. And what is worse any quality they do get they simply don't know what to do with it. Community, suffered from a bad time slot placement. As did Prime Suspect, as did Southland. The only savior for Southland was whatever genius at TNT who realized that NBC was a bunch of morons and dropped one of the best cop drama to come around since the Shield. Prime Suspect once it
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Feb 08, 2012
Not much is mentioned about Southland anymore, but I agree with you, Southland is probably the best cop show I've seen, NBC really screwed the pooch on that one. NBC has screwed over some quality shows but I just can't help but root for the underdogs.
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Feb 08, 2012
On behalf of British people, I'd like to say that we're not all bad.
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Feb 08, 2012
Having lived on your side of the pond for over a year I am well aware of the good people over there. However Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell aren't your best exports. But damn save for eastenders and some of the other lame shows, you guys do have good TV.
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Feb 08, 2012
In a word. NOPE. In more words. No freaking way. Can they sell more ad time and introduce product placement in these two shows. Yes they can they are perfectly set up to do so. That might be the only reason they may stick around. Smash isn't that good, by a long shot. I can see its appeal for a certain demographic, but other than that not a chance.







The Voice, I actually have little problem with the Voice I think it is way better than American Idol. The hosts, aside from Carson aren't nearly as annoying as the other shows. And there is no annoying british arse to make it even more unappealable. Aside from Christina who doesn't shut up and continually makes herself more of an arse with each episode. I really have no majors issues with it.



But they can't save the network only quality can save it and NBC severely lacks in quality. And what is worse any quality they do get they simply don't know what to do with it. Community, suffered from a bad time slot placement. As did Prime Suspect, as did Southland. The only savior for Southland was whatever genius at TNT who realized that NBC was a bunch of morons and dropped one of the best cop dramas to come around since the Shield. Prime Suspect once it found its legs was great. Far better than any Law and order and far better than anything NBC currently has. Same with Community in the comedy realm.



But NBC benched them, one for Smash and The Firm which aren't even close to Prime Suspect in the realm of quality. And the other for Chelsea Handler's brain children which are utterly horrible. NBC has a problem with quality, Even if Smash becomes a hit and the Voice continues doing well. One day doesn't make a network. They still have nothing on Tue,Wed, two shows on Thur and one bearable show on Fri now that Chuck is gone. And that is it.



There are three ways you can get viewers. Quality shows, gimmick shows/ niche shows. And name recognition. Right now they are going for name rec and sacrificing the rest. And that is no way to build a solid schedule.
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Feb 08, 2012
If NBC can keep QUALITY programs coming, it'll work. I despise reality shows, but "American Idol", and as such "The Voice" have their place and are as "good" as reality shows can get in my book, so that'll help. "Smash" started out right, and I hope it continues. It doesn't hurt to have past-Idol and Debra Messing help (I think). Look at "30 Rock". That show looked like it would get cancelled after one or two seasons and it is now one of the most recognizable shows on NBC with Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin helming the show in addition to the fact that it's actually quite funny and the Emmy wins. NBC's on the right track, but they've got a LONG way to go.
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Feb 08, 2012
Good news for NBC, I also watched both of them last night, the only thing with the voice (what happened with me on its first season), after the blind auditions, the show got really boring really fast,,
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Feb 08, 2012
Can't answer your question Tim, as not being from the US i have noooo clue about anything regarding NBC, all i can say is, if American Idol is my comfy, safe, dependable but sometimes a wee bitty boring husband, then The Voice is the greatest extra-marital affair i will ever have :o)
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