Do ‘Will,’ ‘West’ wins spell change for NBC?

Peacock affirms its big kahunaness

NBC’s 23 Emmy wins couldn’t come at a better time.

The Peacock’s been having a bad couple of years: Declining ratings, exec shakeups and a general feeling that this fall’s crop of new shows isn’t up to snuff.

The resounding votes of confidence for “The West Wing” and “Will & Grace” will no doubt lift the spirits of Burbank execs. More than that, however, they could help give the net some much-needed momentum.

While an Emmy win isn’t nearly as valuable to a TV show as an Oscar is for a feature film, TV’s golden girl can help newer shows find an audience. “Cheers,” for example, was near-death after its first season, but a slew of Emmy wins helped the show blossom into a monster hit the following fall.

“Will & Grace” is already a success for NBC, but the show has just moved into the all-important 9 p.m. Thursday slot. Its big wins Sunday convince viewers who’ve been skeptical to tune in and see what all the fuss is about.

Ditto (and then some) with “The West Wing.” Despite all the critical hoopla that surrounded the drama during its freshman year, the series is still just a modest ratings performer — particularly with younger viewers.

Expect NBC’s Olympic promo machine to step into overdrive hyping the fact that the Peacock is home to the most Emmy-clad drama in TV history. As with sports teams, people like to go with a winner, and “The West Wing” is now TV’s most celebrated hour.

Meanwhile, NBC’s 23 wins are good news for suits at all the Big Six. The Peacock’s winning streak pushed HBO back to second place in the Emmy tally, once again asserting the webs’ status as the small screen’s big kahunas.

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