24 October 2006

NBC to dump scripted programming by 2008

What might be a new trend in TV, NBC announced that by the end of 2008, it will shed up to 700 jobs -- 5 percent of its workforce -- and slash $750 million from its budget. And while the Peacock Network has seen a bump in ratings -moving up from fourth to third place behind CBS and ABC - it is no longer "a growth business it once was."

While network TV was once an unrivaled media market, it seems it needs to find a way to survive the increasing competitiveness of YouTube, video games and other new media outlets. The major broadcast networks also face eroding ratings from cable, which after 20 plus years, has effectively changed the way TV is produced. NBC Universal thinks its future is in digital delivery, via the Internet and mobile devices.

And one of the biggest changes we’ll see on NBC by that same time frame, is the dumping of any scripted programming during the 8 pm time slot. And thanks to American’s fascination with reality programming and game shows, expect the network to fill that hour with them; they are cheap to produce and -right now- have achieved ratings success, sometimes beating scripted programs on all four of the networks.

So keep watching Dancing with the Stars (and all the copycats), American Idol, Survivor, Supernanny, America’s Next Top Model, Deal or No Deal and 1 vs 100, cause by 2008, we’ll be flooded with them. NBC has seen the future, and what American’s want, it seems (along with investors all important dividends), is cheap programming that costs nothing and delivers high ratings.

How soon will ABC and CBS follow?

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