Well, the Aaron Sorkin thing didn’t work so hot, so NBC is going back to basics, as the Peacock struggles to keep its head above water after three years of unimpressive ratings and declining operating profit. NBC is slashing 700 jobs, around 5% of its workforce, expecting the cuts to result in a savings of $750 million in operating expenses by 2008.
NBC’s also through gambling on “quality programming” with “good writing” or, you know, “writing,” as they plan to move their prime-time focus away from scripted dramas and comedies. They’ll move the focus to cheaper-to-produce reality/game-show programming like “Deal or No Deal” and “The Biggest Loser,” where they’ll get a better rate of return on ad sales. The result will, hopefully, be a totally killer 10K filing that you, the NBC viewer, can enjoy almost as much as you’d enjoy watching innovative or entertaining NBC programming.
Jeff Zucker, chief executive at NBC Universal, points out that ABC’s been doing the same thing for awhile, and states that, “We want to be sure that we continue to provide the best programming possible. We just want to put the programming where we get the highest rate of return.” Continues Zucker, “If you guys’ll run this with a positive spin, you can try your hand at writing the comedy sketches for the next episode of Studio 60.” After taking a moment to reconsider, Zucker went on, “Actually, could you guys just do that anyway? Or one of your interns? Maybe someone in your IT department? Anyone?”