NBC Nails First November Sweeps Win in Nine Years | Adweek NBC Nails First November Sweeps Win in Nine Years | Adweek
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NBC Nails First November Sweeps Win in Nine Years

'Astonishing' worst-to-first turnaround could hit a snag in Q1
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NBC's comeback effort continues to draw dividends, as the network is on pace to win its first November sweeps in nine seasons.

With 26 of the 28 sweeps nights in the bag, NBC is averaging a 2.8 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, up 17 percent from its year-ago 2.4. Among other things, the worst-to-first reversal would seem to validate entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt¹s decision to shift The Voice to the fall cycle.

Moreover, the two new series that immediately lead out of The Voice's Monday and Tuesday broadcasts have put up big numbers as well. Revolution is the No. 1 new drama of the 2012-13 campaign, averaging a 3.1 live-plus-same-day rating in the dollar demo. Also faring well is the Matthew Perry comedy Go On, which airs out of The Voice on Tuesday nights.

Of course, NBC also enjoys a tremendous advantage in its Sunday Night Football franchise. The prime time NFL showcase was the top-rated program in sweeps, averaging a 7.6 in the demo.

In a conference call with reporters, Greenblatt said he was as surprised as anyone by NBC¹s reversal of fortune. "The fact we jumped from fourth to first, and haven¹t been in this position in nine years, is really astonishing to all of us," Greenblatt said. "It feels great--there's a kind of a tangible excitement in the building."

CBS will likely take second in November sweeps, averaging a 2.4 in the demo. The Tiffany network is off 14 percent versus the year-ago period. Fox is third with a 2.3, although it has fallen the furthest, losing 26 percent of the dollar demo. ABC is on pace to finish fourth with a 2.2, down 12 percent versus the comparable period in November 2011.

While NBC is flying high, Greenblatt allowed that NBC was in for a correction of sorts in the latter half of the season, after SNF is benched in late December and Revolution and The Voice prepare to go on a winter hiatus.

³We expect a pretty significant leveling of the playing field [and] I'd be astonished if we ended [the year] No. 1, given some of the firepower at the other networks," he said, adding that while he wouldn¹t make any definitive predictions about the end of the season, he is "pretty confident we won¹t end up in fourth place again this year."

There also remains some hope that Greenblatt's pet project, the musical drama Smash, will return for its sophomore run with renewed vigor.

"It's going to be a great season," Greenblatt said. "There's a big new storyline with...a little musical that comes out of the blue that¹s like Rent...that will pull in some of our regular characters." Greenblatt added that Smash star Katharine McPhee will be rewarded with a new on-screen love interest, adding that the romantic intrigue will prove to be "a real
shot in the arm for the show."

Greenblatt also addressed a likely timetable for the TV adaptation of the Hannibal Lechter story, saying the Canadian import would either bow in April or summer 2013.