This month–in the spirit of the upcoming holidays–I committed to posting a series of positive blogs about the traditional network powers. To be honest, it was pretty easy to be positive for one day, but a whole month has been a different matter. Luckily, this is the last in the series – a bow to NBC–which takes a lot of abuse for being #4–or as Tina Fey joked last week, “actually, we’re in ninth place if you count the couple radio stations that are ahead of us right now.” I’ve been stalling on this traditional network all month, hoping that the Comcast deal would be announced by now, but alas, not as of this writing–though perhaps it will have been announced by the time you read this:
1) A New Parent – after more than two decades, the kids have figured out a way to divorce their parents. No, it’s not a new sitcom; it’s Jeff Zucker’s brilliant maneuver to swap GE for Comcast. GE’s corporate strategies didn’t always lend themselves to optimal conditions for a broadcast company and Comcast should provide more flexibility and creative support even though it isn’t a pure media company either. And though nothing has been formally announced, all the reporting on the new, Comcast-controlled entity indicates that Zucker will run it and report to Steve Burke and Brian Roberts. Not that Comcast doesn’t have its challenges, but it will be good for NBC to be away from GE.
2) Football Night America/Sunday Night Football – Zucker and Dick Ebersol have been playing beautiful music together for a long time and the deal to partner with the NFL is no exception. Jeff and Dick’s work with the NFL and GE to get the contract – and Dick’s execution of the programming and scheduling – have to led to higher ratings and more success than anyone predicted.
3) Today, Nightly, and Meet the Press – these three programs routinely clobber the competition and show no signs of slowing down. And these aren’t flashes in the pan. All of undergone serious transitions in the past five years (the departures of Couric, Brokaw and Russert) and yet the competition continues to flail.
4) 30 Rock & The Office – for sophisticated viewers, especially those of us in media, this is the best hour of comedy on television. For people who work at NBC, and those of us who used to, it’s roll-around-on-the-floor funny–except maybe when we see a little of ourselves in some of the characters.
Now, finally, it’s Thanksgiving–and next week, I can return to my more Grinch-like tendencies.
Erik Sorenson is chief executive officer of Vault.com, Inc. He oversees the strategic direction of the global, New York-based media company, including ShopTalk & TVSPY. If you would like to comment on Remote Control, or want to reach Erik, email remotecontrol@tvspy.