“Quarterlife” Bombs on NBC Despite Web Buzz


Reuters reports that the highly touted Web-based drama series “quarterlife” proved a network television flop in its NBC debut, drawing the network’s worst ratings for its time slot in at least 20 years, according to Nielsen Media Research on Wednesday.

The show was supposed to do well among the coveted 18-49 demographic that’s prized by advertisers. But the show’s “dismal performance in its prime-time network launch on Tuesday threw its immediate future into doubt at the General Electric Co.-owned network,” where a source told Reuters that the series could end up canceled before its next airing.

Although it’s not the same situation, this is a prime example of why it’s taking so long to see exclusive mobile content. Whether you’re producing a show for TV, the Web, cell phones, or a twenty foot display in Times Square, the budget will be roughly the same. Producers can’t spend $10 million on a show for TV and then spend, say, just $1 million for a similar length show on mobile just because it’s a 2-inch screen. So the financial commitment is just as strong—as a result, few studios are willing to take a chance when they could just make the show for regular TV.

In this case, NBC did just that, based on the show’s success on the Web, and it still bombed—though there’s certainly no guarantee that Webgoers would migrate to the living room en masse.

Photo credit: Reuters