Here’s one answer to NBC’s business woes: NBC Universal big cheese Jeff Zucker suggests the network could cut back its primetime by an hour (a la Fox, giving the hour to affiliates who may actually want it) or stop programming on Saturday (a la The CW)—or even Friday.
It won’t quell the NBC-is-dying talk out there, but it may not be a bad idea, not just for NBC but for all broadcasters. Namely, to recognize that they’re not broadcasters anymore, except in the technical sense. They are merely the biggest cable networks. (Well, possibly the biggest.) Like the cable networks, their future might better lie in programming fewer hours with originals, repeating those originals more and—hopefully—programming better. FX programs fewer hours than CBS or NBC, say, but it produces more hours I’m actually interested in watching. The future of TV may belong to those who do less, and do it better.
Of course, that’s not to say that if NBC cuts back its hours, the hours to go would be Howie Do It and Celebrity Apprentice. But we can dream, right?