Can NBC do anything right? Answer: No.
I should just end this post right there, because the story is so obvious, so in-your-face that, frankly, to devote more ink to it would be a shame. And yet I’m going to anyway.
For those of you who haven’t chronicled every excruciating moment of NBC inching its way closer to the crapper (or, watched as much TV as me), a recap: NBC promised The Tonight Show to Conan, a show that Jay had. NBC gave said show to Conan, bumped Jay to some odd variety show in the ghost land of a time slot that is 10 p.m., then, as ratings in every category cratered (more on that in a minute), it decided to give Jay his old 11:35 time slot back, moving Conan’s show, The Tonight Show, to 12:35, or tomorrow.
The Jay/Conan/NBC ClusterFutz is but a snapshot of the Futzupery that is corporate decision making at the Peacock Network. This is the station that’s home to Law & Order SVU, a beyond-tired franchise, Mercy, a show you’ve never seen, and Heroes, which, inexplicably, is still on the air. Good ratings, in other words, are not this network's specialty.
Indeed, the only good decision NBC ever made was keeping 30 Rock, one of the best half-hour shows on TV today, in my opinion. I will also say that I’m a fan of Parks & Recreation, The Office and Chuck. Although my world wouldn’t be rocked if I didn’t see any of them again. 30 Rock is another story, mind you.
But let’s not forget that NBC is also the network that aired Lipstick Jungle and The Philanthropist. With regards to the latter, I remain a big fan of James Purefoy, who seduced audiences everywhere with his portrayal of Mark Antony in HBO’s Rome—a brilliant series that lived far too short a life (fodder for another posting). However, the supporting cast in the show was offered no real scripted meat to sink their teeth into. And here I speak of the criminal underutilizing of Michael K. Williams—yes, Omar from The Wire. How do you not give him a big, fat vehicle in which to shine? This is Omar, people. Omar!
But I digress.
Now, let’s look at the highlights of a competing network. Hmmmm…..who should we examine? How about Fox? I want to be clear here: I’m limiting my comments to its entertainment programming—not its “news” offerings…we’ll leave it at that. So, here’s Fox’s marquee lineup: Glee, House, Fringe, The Simpsons, Family Guy, as well as American Idol and 24. The last two I’m not devoted to (but the rest of the country is) and my interest in Family Guy peaked several years ago (although my unabashed love of Stewie lives on). Still, this is a lineup. Sure, there are more than a few clunkers in Fox’s portfolio. Why, for example, Gordon Ramsey has been given multiple television vehicles remains, as ever, a mystery—as does the continuing allure of Cops and America’s Most Wanted. Some things were just meant to never be understood.
If you ask me, Conan should jump ship to Fox. After all, he can’t be in any worse company than NBC. (Again, I'm just talking about entertainment programming here…In the interest of offending no one, I'll refrain from commenting on other Fox offerings. For now, anyway.)