TV Guide‘s Stephen Battaglio checks in on NBC News’ upcoming newsmagazine “Rock Center with Brian Williams.” Along the way he reveals a number of facts about the show, such as that (as previously suggested) it will replace whichever NBC drama series flops first. Monday nights at 10 PM look like a strong possibility considering how “The Playboy Club” performed in its debut.
New NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke was behind the decision to launch a new primetime newsmag, and has made a substantial financial commitment to the show:
NBC is also hoping the ratings for Rock Center, which has a three-year commitment from the network, will be respectable enough to keep the lights on in prime time as NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt tries to replenish the schedule with scripted hits. That may not be easy for a serious newsmagazine. “There is no doubt in my mind they will produce an excellent show,” says a news producer at a competing network. “But 60 Minutes has an established relationship with its viewers. I’m not sure [viewers] need another one.”
While it will be a serious newscast, it is also expected to tackle lighter fare every now and then:
“Brian has a lot of range and we mean to give him a chance to show that range off, as it makes sense,” says Hartman. Even the set, also the new home of NBC Nightly News, has been designed with his personality in mind. “We’ve added a lot of wood to give it a warmer, homey feel,” explains NBC News creative director Marc Greenstein.