As NBC Falters, Real Drama Is Behind the Scenes

Network moves to consolidate amid executive shakeup, poor ratings
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2008 11:27 AM CST
Christian Slater is shown in a scene from "My Own Worst Enemy," a $4 million-per-episode flop.   (NBC)
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(Newser) – When NBC announced a sweeping shakeup last week, it confirmed just how bad things are at the network, the Los Angeles Times reports. Ratings are down 14% this season, just as companies are dramatically slashing advertising budgets in the face of recession. “This is not a good time to be the No. 4 network and not have any new hit shows,” said one media analyst.

Three key programming deputies have been fired—one because she opposed a cost-cutting studio merger, sources say. NBC’s also under fire for doing away with the pilot process, which, critics say, could have led to fewer flops. “People say pilots are expensive and a waste of money, but 75% of the pilots that do well in the testing go on to become solid shows,” one notes.