Peacock in the Coal Mine

Josef Adalian wrote a very provocative article about NBC and the network prime time model in his Vulture column for New York magazine. Based upon both prime time flops and shifts in audience attention, he wonders whether the network model is still viable, and if so, how much longer it will survive.
It was far easier to climb out of the Nielsen basement when there was just a handful of legitimate competitors. Now NBC is fighting for eyeballs at a time when millions of viewers don’t even watch TV on TV.
You can buy the "NBC Stress Toy" from the NBC Universal Store.

You can buy the “NBC Stress Toy” from the NBC Universal Store. Just click on the image.

Adalian presents a case that’s based upon three key factors: (a) NBC is performing very poorly throughout its prime time schedule, (b) temporary short-term solutions have masked the truth for several years and (c) the media environment no longer allows the kinds of turnarounds that ABC, for example, achieved when LOST, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy all caught fire after the responsible programmers were long gone. With all of the noise from so many media outlets, Adalian discounts even the potential of star vehicles and the old tentpole strategy (Cosby and Seinfeld, for example).

He’s close to the industry, and perhaps, a bit too close. He analyzes the moves of senior executives in an industry where those moves often defy logic and reason. And, he makes it clear, this is not really an article about NBC, but about the future of prime time network television on all of the broadcast networks:
Networks can pretend all they want that the broadcast model isn’t broken, but denial didn’t forestall the end of big record-store chains, and it didn’t save Borders Books or Hostess. Five or ten years from now, there’s a good chance we’ll recognize NBC as the Peacock in the coal mine.
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