TVaddictWeekly: Is Jeff Zucker Killing Television?

This week’s issue of TV ADDICT WEEKLY asks the question, “Is Jeff Zucker Killing Television?” The issue features a special report on the turmoil at NBC Universal, and how in an effort to save money, NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker recently announced that the network will stop airing scripted comedy and drama in the 8 – 9PM hour. Instead, the network will focus on more affordable reality and game-shows.

Interesting how when ratings are down, the audience suddenly isn’t interested in television so early in the evening. Does Zucker not recall the 90’s? FRIENDS, FRASIER, SEINFELD, THE WEST WING, THE COSBY SHOW, CHEERS. Do any of these hits ring a bell?

Perhaps subjecting the audience to an endless string of FRIENDS and SEINFELD clones wasn’t the best strategy to gain viewer loyalty. THE SINGLE GUY, STARK RAVING MAD, COUPLING, VERONICA’S CLOSET, UNION SQUARE, BOSTON COMMON — MUST SEE TV they truly were not. Can you really blame the audience for disappearing?

Here’s an idea Zucker – Why not produce quality television, and you’ll attract an audience — regardless of the timeslot.

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  • Just because Zucker did wrong, doesn’t mean that the audience isn’t interested, it means he should be replaced.

  • Common Sense

    It’s hard to fault some of Zucker’s reasoning, as much as I hate it. We’ve become a generation of TV-morons who are content to lap up mindless reality puke, such as Fear Factor, and numbingly-insipid game shows like “Open That Suitcase!”…er, Squeal or No Squeal. Why wouldn’t the networks just continue catering to the lowest-common denominator, defined by me as IDIOTS, who refuse to watch a quality scripted program. Name one network that’s produced a decent sitcom in the last few years that viewers have flocked to. It’s a waste of their money, when Joe Shmoe (oops, another reality show) would rather watch c-r-__-p. (Buy a vowel on that other waste-of-a-game-show.)

  • Common Sense…. for the first time, your post doesn’t make ‘sense’!

    If HEROES were on at 8PM, do you think Zucker would be faulting the lack of audience interest. The bottom line is, if you produce quality shows, viewers will follow.

  • John

    I have a modest propsal. NBC can’t program shows for 8:00 and the CW doesn’t program shows at 10:00 (all times Eastern).

    The solution: Form the NCW from NBC and The CW. What could go wrong? (Well they may cancel Heroes to make room for Deal or No Deal, but these things happen.)

  • Common Sense

    The problem with sinking a lot of money into the 8pm hour is: HUT levels are not high enough. Across the board, most shows draw their big numbers from 9-11. And when you’re just spinning your wheels trying new shows at 8pm (and EXPECTING a larger audience), I can see Zucker’s point of just serving up the drivel that the early–and less sophistocated–audience mindlessly flocks to: Am. Idol, Dancing, etc. If networks thought more costly shows like HEROES would prosper at 8pm, they’d stick them there. But the old “family hour” is just a waste of money in today’s backward TV climate.

  • LAScribe

    TV execs would not know quality if it bit them in the butt. This “demographic” of studio heads play with content like a monkey plays with it’s feces. Idiots like Zucker, (yes, I’ve met the man) who have no business being in entertainment (and aren’t qualified to do anything else because they’ve been grandfathered in at the expense of those who’ve actually earned a shot at running things), should be put up against the wall and replaced with those, remarkably numerous individuals, who actually possess talent, passion and that rarest of qualities: common sense. Feh!