Is NBC Going to be the First Network to Die?


There was a time when NBC owned Thursday night. That was a long time ago. Now it’s seventh.

No upward adjustment in the finals for NBC, which logged an abysmal 1.1 primetime rating among adults 18-49 last night. That tied the network’s worst in-season Thursday average ever with all-original scripted programming. (The previous time NBC delivered a 1.1 Thursday 18-49 rating was on May 17, 2012 with three episodes of Community, 30 Rock and Awake.) NBC finished as No. 7(!) in primetime last night behind CBS, the NFL Network, ABC, Fox, Univision and TBS.

The wheels came off very quickly, with three series — Parks And Recreation, Parenthood and Michael J. Fox — posting a 1.2 18-49 rating last night, and Sean Saves The World and Welcome To The Family only managing a 1.0 and 0.8, respectively, in their second week on the air.

I’m not going to waste time critiquing things I don’t watch, but it’s obvious that no one else watches them either. But no one else is watching the things they’re supposed to be watching either.

Last night’s Glee episode, an emotional send-off of tragic star Cory Monteith‘s character Finn, drew a 2.8 rating in adults 18-49, 2.9 in 18-34 and 7.4 million viewers. That was up +75% from last week in 18-49, up 81% in 18-34 and up 68% in total viewers. Written by Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, “The Quarterback” was the series’ highest-rated episode in 18-49 and 18-34 in more than a year.

Think about that for a moment.

Who actually watches Glee? Obviously not its target audience. Maybe gay men in their fifties. That seems to be the prime audience for HBO’s Girls.

What’s even sadder is that these are good numbers these days. Network television is completely unsustainable. Attempts to get Nielsen to turn Twitter mentions into ratings are pathetic and advertisers won’t fall for it.

Networks are scrambling over demographic percentage points. They’re celebrating ratings wins that would have once gone to infomercials.

Network television is dead. Cable is a hive of repetitive lowest common denominator programming. Younger viewers have abandoned both. We may be looking at the end of television.

  • N. Wasse

    I also hope that thanks to the internet we will see the end of the British Bullshit Corporation aka the BBC and the annoying Razia Iqbal will be out of a job

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Not sure they can go out of business, considering they’re forcibly publicly funded. Not exactly a business.

      • N. Wasse

        We can only hope

  • Cassie

    I don’t watch TV anymore. I used to 5 years ago. Now I find TV boring. I go on the internet, on Pinterest, or I read.

  • cheechakos

    NBC has been a wasteland for years.
    Their worst program is the infotainment slop they call news.

  • tagalog

    The end of television? Hardly. The end of television as we know it? That’s been declared over and over for probably decades now.

    But there’s no doubt cable and the specialty channels are having their impact.

  • bob e

    i would watch if they had a special with brian williams put into a room with 2 hyenas…and then dave letterman & then al sharpton and then…

    • Daniel Greenfield

      That would be animal cruelty

    • tagalog

      Watch out hyenas!

    • ziggy zoggy

      Who is Brian Williams? Seriously.

  • Helen

    Does anyone watch it???? The only true news is on the net. The rest is a waste of time!!

  • A Z

    Immigrants are not going to watch the MSM. They are going to watch Univision more so than the MSM.

    Karma is a bi*tch.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      NBC owns Telemundo. They’re not going to lose out. That’s how the business end of it goes.

      They’ll just switch to pouring the same crap down another hole.

      • A Z

        I knew there were 3 big Hispanic stations. They could still see competition coming from outside Hispanic multinationals.

        In the meantime they are content to support illegal immigration politicians and shrink their white audience.

        I do not think they could compete for Muslim viewers in the U.S. that segment is also growing.

      • A Z

        My point was not concise.

        I think it is along the same line as corporations pulling out of markets,because of profit margins are not high enough or other B.S.

        They no longer make hardware but somehow they are going to be knowledge companies … for about 10 years or a generation. then the contract manufacturing companies are going to eat their lunch.

        You often do not innovate unless you get your hands dirty in day to day business of solving problems in manufacturing and stuff.

        there are the contradictory strategies of focusing on core competencies or diversifying. I see too many companies focusing on core competencies until they do not make anything and have no market share.

        In NBC case they are trying to leave the “white” market because the Hispanic one is where it is at.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Latinos have higher media consumption rates. More profitable for movie theaters. But their TV ad dollars may be worth less. But their ideal white professionals in their 20s audience is getting a lot harder to catch.

          The entertainment industry is becoming more post-American.But that just means, as you’ve pointed out, they’re finished.

          China will own a lot of them within a decade.

          • ziggy zoggy

            White professionals in their 20s have less money and influence than the illegals do. The networks will continue to fail if they keep trying to attract those losers. Watch what happens when Jimmy Fallon and Seth Rogan take over late night. The ratings will tank and Craig Ferguson will become King. Jimmy Kimmel and cable Conan will get the rest. Old pele will just go to sleep.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            For now they’re accepting tiny ratings in exchange for a shot at that audience.

            The future may well be pay TV like HBO which caters to small exclusive white viewers with spending money

  • Flowerknife_us

    (N)ever (B)een (C)orrect.

  • ziggy zoggy

    Please. So long as TV is cheap or free, people will watch it. There is no comparable alternative.

    NBC may be unwatched but the other networks have plenty of viewers.

    “Breaking Bad” was a cable production, and people are still lamenting it’s loss. Fox News is also an extremely popular cable production. So long as people pay for cable, TV is going strong.

    America is constantly changing its viewing habits but it never stops viewing. Network TV. Is free, and people will always take freebies.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Fewer people are paying for cable. And all the networks have lost a lot of viewers over the last decade

  • rhhardin

    I threw out the TV in 1971 and it hasn’t come back.

    The Get Smart DVD set is nice, the only thing worth watching up till then.

  • michael

    Last week the history channel had a documentary claiming Bigfoot was an alien. Television isn’t dying, it’s committing suicide.

  • Kimo

    Rarely watch TV any more. Now waste my time on the internet.

  • Bill T.

    Several years ago, Newton Minow called TV a vast wasteland. How prescient.

  • jdgalt

    I gave up on the TV networks, along with the rest of Hollywood, when they started pushing for even more unreasonable copyright laws. Now I get my content off the Internet and only pay for those sites that suit my tastes.

    Burn, baby, burn.

  • Eastwood Ravine

    Under our current economy, who has the time to watch television. Except for the lucky, the rest of us are working two or more jobs. The time we’re not exhausted we’re on the internet or playing game via a gamestation.