NBC wasn’t always the red-headed stepchild of networks. Lately, however, its failures (“The Playboy Club”, “Free Agents”, “Prime Suspect”) have far outnumbered its successes (… not replacing the channel with a rainbow strip and static?)
Here are five things you should know about NBC:
(1) “Fear Factor” is back. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — throw money at it! Though “Fear Factor” has been gone for six years, it came back with a vengeance last week with the same host (Joe “UFC” Rogan), same producers, and a bigger budget. What has resulted is NBC’s first hit of the year. On Monday, “Fear Factor” was the #1 show across all networks among ages 18-34 (the only ones that matter to advertisers), the first time NBC has had a #1 show in a long time that didn’t involve live football coverage. I can only wonder what’s coming back next … oh, nevermind, I do know. It’s “The Munsters.” Yes, that cooky kinda like “The Addams Family” show before my time is set to return in 2012. I expect it will be awful.
(2) Ben Bailey is a rising star … provided he stops falling for NBC’s crap. Ben Bailey, Emmy winning host of the best game show on TV (“Cash Cab”) is now the host of a new game show “Who’s Still Standing?”, which premiered Monday on NBC. Think of it as “Cash Cab”, except when you get enough questions wrong, the trap door below you drops out rather than you having to exit in the middle of a Jets v. Sharks street fight in a side alley. Which is more dangerous, I do not know, but the questions are embarassingly easy and Ben Bailey deserves better work. (It’s on again tonight if you don’t believe me.)
(3) “30 Rock” returns in January. NBC’s award-winning powerhouse (though ratings failure) returns in January after Tina Fey selfishly put her family and desire to have a child over NBC’s scheduling woes. Though stewardesses nationwide promise to protest over Alec Baldwin’s “the rules don’t apply to me and my Words with Friends” antics, could the ratings go any lower?
(4) “Community” is not dead yet. Sure, NBC didn’t put “Community” on their spring schedule (see HERE and commentary HERE), but it still has episodes to air and syndication is oh so close … While the ratings were lousy, they always are on NBC and a devoted fan following might keep this show on the air one more season. Though Facebook is abuzz with “Community” posts (MC, shout out to you), the show gained no new viewers for its mid-season (season? series?) finale two weeks ago. Way to band together and stick it to NBC … or not.
(5) “Saturday Night Live” is on pace to last forever. Last weekend’s Michael Buble / Jimmy Fallon episode had the highest ratings since May, following last week’s episode, which had the highest ratings since May. What was in May, you ask? Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga hosted a show that got “Saturday Night Live”‘s highest ratings in seven years.
What will 2012 bring for NBC? Time will only tell, but it can’t get any worse, can it?