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NBC Lays Out Plans For Live TV, Late-Night And Long-Term Success

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Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and NBC’s day at the annual winter edition of the Television Critics Association can easily be summed up with one sentiment – “we are number one.”

Given how many years NBC was essentially the industry’s running joke it is hard to blame its’ team for a taking a victory lap. Network head Robert Greenblatt started his panel with reporters Wednesday morning by essentially running through his network’s “best-of” list.

Most of note among all the positive data and superlatives is that even when factoring out sports (namely the massively watched “Sunday Night Football” franchise), the network remains the number one rated in entertainment programming. For the past two years ABC has been laying claim to that honor and for NBC to be able to see success in both situations is impressive.

Given the success of freshman series “Blindspot” and “Chicago Med” along with mainstays “The Voice,” “The Blacklist” and a ever-growing roster of Dick Wolf produced programs (possibly including a upcoming rumored “Chicago Law” pilot), the proof is in the numbers.

Investors should take note that following two straight years where the network failed to launch multiple hit shows, NBC could end the season with a minimum of three shining rookie stars (including the just launched “Shades of Blue”).

NBC has also been putting a lot of effort behind its live TV push but with mixed results. Neil Patrick Harris’ variety show “Best Time Ever” never found its footing and despite critical support, its Friday night live “Undatable” experiment isn’t moving the needle as hoped.

The one bright spot though was its third live musical event “The Wiz” which over-performed following 2014’s middling “Peter Pan” special. In what is becoming a tradition, NBC also used the annual press tour to announce its 2016 selection for its next adaptation which will be “Hairspray.” Greenblatt is also trying to get a live-version of the hit film “A Few Good Men” off the ground but it is moving slower than he’d prefer.

The questions at one point also turned to NBC’s late-night roster which has been in the papers for the wrong reasons despite solid numbers. Greenblatt firmly stood by his accident prone “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon and shrugged off rumors that news of Seth Meyers late-night show being renewed were to ensure the network had a built-in insurance policy. Greenblatt denied the claims saying “stories have been exaggerated.”

 

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