NBC’s Jeff Zucker this week begins a ferocious campaign to shake off the Peacock’s fall funk — and he’s getting help from an unlikely source: Leslie Moonves.
The CBS/Viacom honcho’s Paramount Network Television is the studio behind “Medium,” the psychic crime thriller NBC’s been aggressively hyping for the past month. Peacock brass think it could be the breakout hit the net’s been sorely lacking this season.
While Zucker will take a hit wherever he can get it, Moonves — who developed Peacock powerhouse “ER” when he was at Warner Bros. TV — would no doubt relish the chance to claim credit for another NBC success story. Likewise, Par could use a new hit to help replenish its overly dry syndie pipeline.
The conflicted emotions at play are evident in how CBS chose to counterprogram the Jan. 3 premiere of “Medium.” Rather than airing a repeat episode of “CSI: Miami” — an expected move given the tough football competish on ABC — Eye execs have decided to slot an original seg of the red-hot crime skein.
“Medium” isn’t the only skein NBC is rolling out this week.
On Jan. 4, the net bows “Committed,” a laffer that marks NBC Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly‘s first big chance to put his stamp on the Peacock comedy brand. The next night brings the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search,” a babes in bikinis reality skein that hopes to capitalize on the winter hiatus of UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model,” which had been airing in the same Wednesday-at-8 hour.
Getting one hit out of this new trio of skeins is vitally important to NBC brass. It’ll be much harder to launch shows once Fox’s “American Idol” returns Jan. 18, and without a new hit soon, a fourth-place finish for the season, while still unlikely, isn’t out of the question for NBC.