How NBC stumbled into 5th place

The network's recent ratings slide is a blow to parent company Comcast. Here are 4 ways the Peacock blew it.

By Aimee Picchi Feb 22, 2013 2:59PM

An NBC logo hangs in a window of the NBC Experience store in New York, NY in 2009 (© Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)NBC, the once-proud peacock, is finding its plumage rather tattered this winter. 


After starting off the TV season with a strong fall, NBC has suffered from a series of poor programming decisions that have left it in a humiliating spot: For the first time ever, NBC will come in fifth place in a sweeps period, behind even Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.


The swift decline comes at a poor time for Comcast (CMCSA), which earlier this month showed its confidence in NBC Universal by agreeing to buy the remaining 49% stake of the media company that General Electric (GE) still owned.


Yes, NBC is just one unit of NBC Universal, which also owns cable networks and a movie studio. But its struggles raise concerns about how NBC's advertising rates and profits might suffer, and whether the network can recover later this year.


So, how did NBC fall from first place in September to dead last in February? Here are four missteps:


Delaying NBC's real hits: Rather mystifyingly, the network postponed the return of several of its bona fide hits until March. Remember "Revolution," the sci-fi drama that had people talking last September? No? That's because it has taken a four-month hiatus. "Grimm," another one of NBC's hits, was given the same break and hasn't aired a new episode since November. 


Poor promotion: Regardless of the show's quality, "Do No Harm" -- which scored the lowest in-season premiere rating for a top-four broadcast -- suffered from poor advertising, according to Deadline.com. Few viewers were aware of the show, and its promotional art made the lead actor unrecognizable. 


Messing with OK shows: As the old adage says, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. NBC decided to "fix" a few shows, leading to one spectacular breakdown: The sitcom "Up All Night" is now on death watch. Once perceived as a promising comedy, the show was overhauled and was set to be taped in front of a live audience. Then its co-star, Christina Applegate, quit, and its other co-star, Will Arnett, signed on for a CBS pilot.


Sticking with broken shows: "Smash" had a rocky first season, but was renewed with NBC chief Bob Greenblatt calling it an "unqualified success." Er, not so much. The musical, which is expensive to produce, has continued to see audience erosion in its second season and is now likely to be canceled, according to TVbytheNumbers.com.


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357Comments
Feb 22, 2013 7:56PM
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Let's see, you edit 911 calls and air them on your prime news to try and sway public opinion to your far left political position, you allow Bob Costa's to spew anti gun venom during prime time to sway public opinion to your far left political position, do not report on Benghazi to help out Obama, no story at all on Jesse Jackson Jr. pleading guilty to felonies, allowing MSNBC to say things like global warming caused a meteor mishap.  Allow dirtbag Matt Lauer to remain on the air.  On and on ad nauseum.  NBC has been banned from this household.
Feb 22, 2013 7:56PM
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Want to see how low they can go before they have to close their doors. Wait, as long as they slant the news Obama's way and keep the liberals agenda, they won't be going anywhere. The Obama machine will bail them out and make them very rich at the top, just like all the other companies that pander to his ideas. Big money men will help them when the going gets tough. Or our taxpayer money. One in the same anymore.
Feb 22, 2013 7:48PM
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The fact that it , or any network is behind any Spanish language network  should be no surprise or mystery to anyone. That and the fact that they trip over serving Obama and ANY far left political agenda they dont even get they have left most of America.
Feb 22, 2013 7:45PM
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 If you just look at the some of the shows they have on, you know why the ratings are so low.

Most of their sitcoms are awful. They are not family oriented.  The reality shows are a joke.

  I liked Smash but cannot believe it was off the air for so long. I actually thought Revolution was cancelled. The "Do No Harm" show? They just had a similar relatively good show on about a police detective living in two alternate lives. I vested myself in it and it was cancelled after less than a half season. Why would I look at another that I know they will cancel?

  CBS has solid programming for the most part and even ABC has offered a few good shows.

   If NBC put on a decent program I would probably give it a chance, but I am not counting on it.

Feb 22, 2013 7:39PM
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I left when they decided to report from and for the Left.  Miss Matt Lauer, but not enough to go back. 
Feb 22, 2013 7:34PM
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reason why they stink?  easy...they lie.  CNBC is the flagship of lies for NBC.  nothing but a sell side shill for the Fed and Obama economic destroying policy.  I hope NBC goes out of business and found guilty of corruption and misinformantion.  idiots.
Feb 22, 2013 7:33PM
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I'll tell you exactly how they keep on slipping... All of their online articles read like they were written by a mentally disadvantaged 4 year old.
Feb 22, 2013 7:32PM
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NBC ranks NUMBER ONE as OBAMA'S CHANNEL, and they wonder why they are going down the toilet! GE made off like billionaires with the money Obama gave them for defunk crap, and now even they are bailing. Our household hasn't watched this 2 bit channel in a very long time, so we don't miss it, and yes, the adults in the household voted for someone "other" than Obama.

Feb 22, 2013 7:30PM
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People are hungry for real unbiased news.  Nobody wants to listen to people like Chris Mathews and Rachel Maddow.  People want real, honest, unbiased, reportable news, without all of the nonsense and left and right wing comments.  Just give us the news, we'll figure it out.
Feb 22, 2013 7:28PM
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Surprised? Not me. When this lame excuse for a network spends its time spinning the news, leaving out important facts, falsifying reports and not challenging the president when he outright lies, how do you expect Americans to trust it? I guess even the liberals must be disgusted with this left overhanging network. Hey, maybe fat Al needs another outlet since he sold his to the questionable side.

 

Oh, FOX News seems to be taking pole position and holding the race. Wonder why again? Want the unbiased and fair and balanced? FOX is your station.

Feb 22, 2013 7:26PM
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So here's where all you right wing whacks are hanging out.

 

Hi whacks, LOL.

Feb 22, 2013 7:26PM
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When you let Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow and Chris Mathews spout their crap every night it's no wonder the network is sinking to the bottom.

It's just the brown spot from Obama showing thru.

Feb 22, 2013 7:24PM
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NBC NATIONAL BROACASTING COMMUNISM! OR NOTHING BUT CRAP! I HAVEN'T WATCHED THEM SINCE SEINFELD WENT

OFF THE AIR! NOTHING BUT LIBERAL LEFT WING GAY PROPAGANDA PUSHING GARBAGE! I ALSO BOYCOTT GE  CAUSE

THEY ARE NOTHING BUT A LEFT WING GREEN ENERGY COMPANY PAYING NO TAXES AND GETTING STIMULUS MONEY

AND GREEN ENERGY CONTRACTS BUT THEY SEND JOBS TO CHINA AND MAKE US PAY FOR TOXIC LIGHTBULBS THAT ARE

TWICE AS EXPENSIVE AS THE CHEAPER BETTER BULBS! NOTHING BUT CORRUPTION! OBAMA'S ECONOMIC ADVISORS?

THIS ENTIRE COMPANY AND ALL IT'S LITTLE COMPANIES ARE IN BED WITH DEMOCRATS!

Feb 22, 2013 7:14PM
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The today show and msnbc  , enough said
Feb 22, 2013 7:13PM
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NBC used to be my favorite network.  Now, I'm so disgusted by their so-called "news" division that I can't stand to watch the network.  It taints everything else they do, and it looks like a lot of other people feel the same way.  The people are speaking, NBC, get a clue.
Feb 22, 2013 7:12PM
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I'm so very very tired of the media trying to tell me what to think. It's getting more and more obvious everyday. Just gotta tune them all out and go to the source for the news. LOOK IT up myself. Most of the media is outright lying, ignoring, cherry picking. WAKE UP America and pay attention. Take every bit of "info"-"news" with a grain of salt. Ask yourself, what do they want me to take away from their so-called reporting? Why did they report on this and not that? Gotta question everything.
Feb 22, 2013 7:08PM
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The ratings sucks coz no sensible vision (mistreatment of Ann Curry) Karma is disguise.

 

Feb 22, 2013 7:06PM
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I agree with most of you.  I watch Fox.  O'Reilly is very good.  I do watch ABC & CBS, only time I watch NBC is Sunday evening news with Lester Holt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 22, 2013 7:03PM
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When ABC dumped Ann Currie off the Today show, I was done with them. Ann was one of the reasons I watched the show. Shw was there 15 years, and they threw her under the bus. I'll never forget her tears that last day, and Matt  Lauer never so much as hugged or consoled her. Big good-bye for Meredith Viera, and Ann got nothing. I can't watch a show that treats people like they were nothing. I love G.M.A.  I'm sure they learned from N.B.C. how NOT to treat thier anchors.
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Haaa,  And they fired the one good reporter, Ann Curie.  Matt Lauer is a joke.   Liberal dogs all.  No honest reporting,  I quit watching yrs. ago.. Thomkhat...
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