Peacock keeping debut ratings in check
NBC has thrown everything it has at Tuesday night’s launch of “The Voice.”The Peacock has plowed considerable marketing resources into getting the word out about the musical reality competition show during the past few weeks, including incessant promo graphics during program time of other primetime skeins and extended clips that aired last week before “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Saturday Night Live.” Net also spent money on online blurbs for the show that features Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine coaching contestants through their performances. Despite the buildup, NBC execs are managing expectations for the skein’s two-hour bow at 9 p.m., behind “The Biggest Loser.” With plenty of strong competition in the timeslot, “The Voice” has its work cut out for it. On the reality front, ABC will offer powerhouse “Dancing With the Stars.” CBS and Fox will air scripted heavyweights “NCIS: Los Angeles” and a half-hour “Glee” overrun, respectively. Other eyeballs in major cities will be watching a handful of top-tier playoff games in the NBA and NHL. Chicago will have both the Bulls and Blackhawks in action, while the hockey teams in Boston and Philadelphia — big sports hotbeds — are hitting the ice. (However, “The Voice” is likely to skew female, so those games may not play as big a factor as some anticipate.) Not only does NBC have to deal with those cold realities, but spring has traditionally been a difficult time to launch a show. With longer daylight outside, audiences are watching less television this time of year. Over the past four weeks, NBC has been averaging a 2.5 rating from 9-11 p.m. with “The Biggest Loser” and the just concluded “Parenthood.” Insiders believe “The Voice” should come in slightly above that — a figure with which the Peacock would likely be satisfied. NBC has to be realistic about its projections for “Voice.” It has saturated its air with promos for the show, but because the Peacock is stuck in fourth place without many hits, those blurbs have been seen by a limited aud. NBCUniversal’s successful cable properties, such as USA Network and Bravo, have also been airing promos that could help roundup viewers. While it might be the most hyped musical competition series since “American Idol,” nobody is expecting “The Voice” to get even close to “Idol” ratings-wise. This season “Idol” is averaging an 8.5 rating in the 18-49 demo and 25.1 million viewers (live plus same day). Said NBC alternative topper Paul Telegdy in comparing the two: ” ‘Idol’ is a phenomenal franchise and a watershed in American television. No one should set in their sights in the kind of strategy that says, ‘Let’s take “Idol” down.’ Why should we? …We have to look at a landscape where ‘Idol’ exists, so we look at what can co-exist?” Telegdy added that with the big promotional push for “The Voice,” he’s hoping for the best. “We need to launch in a way that parries with amount of resources we’re deploying. We’re not ‘X Factor’ and I don’t want to be ‘Idol.’ I need to have a respectable show that fans of reality will watch.” Said an exec at a competing network: “Most of these singing shows open DOA, but it’s not where these things begin, it’s where they end.”
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