What Investors Need To Know About NBC's New 2016 Fall Season
It is that time of the year again where the networks reboot themselves with a brand new schedule and a brand new crop of rookie series. For investors it is an important period as it can give them a snapshot of how the network will do over the next season and in many cases how that will impact the network’s parent company.
Benzinga has gone network-by-network among the "big five," showcasing all the big moves, risky decisions and most interesting new shows that could impact the ratings starting this month.
NBC In Focus
NBC (Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA))'s reign as the leader in the 18–49 demo ended last season by a few fractions of a point, and its leadership is hoping to re-claim that title in 2017. The Peacock’s network is light on new series to start but will ramp up post-football in the winter/spring. Yet, the new programs NBC is bowing in 2016 are among its most anticipated, which bears keeping a close eye on its performance.
Biggest Move: Taking Back Thursdays
For years, NBC owned Thursdays. In recent years, however, ABC and CBS have made big strides to take over the night. This year, NBC decided it wanted to re-claim its territory, and it is doing so with a mix of shows that could help them achieve that goal. NBC is using one of its only returning comedies to help launch its only new fall freshman comedy and then pairing those with “Chicago Med” and “The Blacklist.” “Med” has the ability to be the network’s new “E.R.,” and having it air on a similar night and day shouldn’t be lost on investors.
Riskiest Move: Moving ‘Blindspot’
NBC’s schedule is very solid, but moving “Blindspot” is worrisome. The logic of moving “Blindspot” is smart, because it helps a new show get the bump that comes from airing after “The Voice.” The problem is where NBC is moving “Blindspot,” as investors have seen this before. A few years back, NBC shifted “Revolution” from Mondays at 10 p.m. to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. The show cratered. “Blindspot” appeals to the same audience as “Revolution,” and not much has changed in terms of rival competition. The network is in a good position with its dramas, but this is a risky move for one that brought it so much success in 2015–2016.
New Show Most Likely To Succeed: ‘Timeless’
NBC’s post-“Voice” time slot is perhaps the most prized position on the network’s schedule. NBC is clearly confident in “Timeless,” and it makes sense. It fits the typical mold of what would go into that slot. With the exit of ABC’s “Castle” and the re-location of CBS’ “NCIS: Los Angeles,” it is a brand new playing field on Monday nights. It is a safe bet “Timeless” will help NBC capitalize.
New Show Most Likely To Cancelled First: ‘This Is Us’
This decision comes with a asterisk - a big asterisk. From a quality standpoint “This Is Us” should not be the show cancelled first, it should probably be the show picked up for a full season first. If early buzz is to be believed, then the groundswell of critical support behind it will be staggering and this will be nothing more than a look at what was a past trend with viewers . With that said, investors need to be careful, because this is a familiar situation for the network. A lot of times, its most critically acclaimed shows fail to find a audience quickly and either face a early exit or ride the bubble for its entire run. The good news is NBC has been getting better about giving its shows a longer leash, and this one (from the producer of “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood”) will deserve the added patience. For as much of the risk here, so could be the payoff. Remember that should this succeed and hopefully it will.
Show To Keep An Eye On: ‘The Good Place’
“The Good Place” is a wild-card. It’s got a good cast headlined by Ted Danson and Kristen Bell, and it’s a fun premise (revolving around a woman mistakenly sent to heaven after she dies). The problem is NBC has a problem with launching comedies and its track record leads many to believe “Good Place” could have similar issues. Still, the pieces are here for NBC to turn its fortunes around here, and Thursdays are shaping up to being a good night for the network.
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