Newly minted NBC programming supremo Jeff Zucker doesn’t care what the competish says. “This was a banner year for NBC, both from a programming standpoint and a bottom-line standpoint,” he flatly declares.
Where others point to double-digit Nielsen declines and the lack of any new scripted megahits, Zucker sees mostly positives: record revenue; first place finishes from morning to midnight, including all NBC News shows; and the successful integration of Bravo and Telemundo into the Peacock fold.
And oh yeah, that little acquisition of Universal by NBC was kinda cool, too.
Though he concedes the first half of the year was difficult because of Fox’s “American Idol” and that NBC had a tougher fall than he would have liked, Zucker believes the net introduced several long-term players.
In the win column: drama “Las Vegas” and a trio of Tuesday comedies (“Whoopi,” “Happy Family” and “Tracy Morgan.”) Major disappointments: “Coupling,” “The Lyon’s Den” and “Boomtown.”
The year ahead promises plenty of challenges, from the integration of U’s studio and cable properties to the end of “Friends” and, most likely, “Frasier.” On the upside, the net will get an incredible platform from which to launch the post-“Friends” era: The 2004 Summer Olympics.