Whither ‘Rock Center’?

By Alex Weprin Comment

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie examines the troubles facing the NBC broadcast network. The bulk of the story focused on the entertainment ratings falling without a bona fide hit on its schedule, but there is a gossipy NBC News hook too.

Guthrie mentions “Rock Center'”s move to Friday nights, a place where TV entertainment shows often go to die (though TV news shows have been a staple there for years). She also mentions the self-mocking piece the show did about the long, arduous journey to Fridays.

But NBC brass might have upset Williams with the move. He closed Rock Center on Feb. 8 with a segment characterizing Friday as its “latest resting place.” Sources at NBC News say Williams was angered that Burbank execs did not give the show the promised promotion, while plans to expand it to multiple weekly airings have been abandoned.

It is safe to assume that without catching on with viewers, a better timeslot or multiple airings were always going to be unlikely. The Huffington Post gets a response from NBC News executive Alex Wallace, who noted the parodical nature of the segment, and that the show delivered very strong ratings in its Friday debut.

When “Rock Center” launched, it was promised at least a three-year run. It is closing in on two years since the first staffers started joining the program, so it still has gas left in the tank. That said, the show has not found a large audience, especially when compared to the less-expensive crime-centric newsmagazines that dominate primetime, like “Dateline,” “48 Hours Mystery” and “20/20.”

Friday nights could be a boon for the program, putting it up against easier competition, and potentially allowing it to find an audience. The key word being potential, as the program has not achieved it yet.