TV GUIDE DUBBS NBC MOVE "PATHETIC"
NBC Universal announced yesterday they would let 700 people go in their quest to slash costs and streamline their operation. The news came as NBC's new slate of original scripted programming failed to find mass audience.
"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", "Friday Night Lights" and "Kidnapped" are some of the most expensive, critically-acclaimed and highly anticipated dramas produced in recent times, yet they have all bombed miserably in the Nielsens.
Production on "Kidnapped" has already shut down, the fates of the other two will be known in the coming weeks. Only "Heroes", the Monday night genre drama, has managed to generate a more substantial following.
The network also announced plans to clean the 8pm "family" hour of all scripted dramas and comedies which are expensive to produce and instead focus on in-house production of reality contests and game shows, as well as digital or web content.
The news has caused a lot of concern in Hollywood still reeling from the 'death' of Saturday night programming, growth of reality series and loss of the sixth network which all caused a decrease in demand for original production.
TV Guide has on the other hand expressed scorn for NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker whom they dubbed "non-visionary" and NBC "pathetic" for giving up on the 8pm hour, rather than trying harder to develop new hits.
The former #1 network whose "Must-See TV" Thursday night line-up once ruled the primetime landscape fell to the fourth place last year once its megahits "Friends" and "Frasier" concluded their respective runs.