NBC's Next Challenge: Fixing Prime Time

Network to produce 20 pilots next season
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2010 2:55 PM CST
Jimmy Kimmel is dressed as host Jay Leno, right, and Chevy Chase is dressed as late night host Conan O'brien during "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010 in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/ABC, Mitch Haddad)
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(Newser) – Now that NBC is nearly past the Jay Leno-Conan O'Brien fiasco, the network is refocusing on the job at hand: correcting a 5-year slide in ratings. The Leno gambit, which CEO Jeff Zucker described as an experiment in the "economics" of network television, represented the network's hope that Leno could draw viewers with a show that cost much less than scripted programming. Now NBC is taking the opposite approach.

The network will double its production of pilots for next season. NBC is producing 18 to 20, including remakes of The Rockford Files and Prime Suspect, along with a new series from JJ Abrams. Zucker seems humbled by the ordeal—instead of grandiose rhetoric about changing television, he tells the Wall Street Journal his team "should just put our heads down, do our jobs and get better results. We shouldn't say anything other than all we're looking for is better programming."

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