From the Wish-I-Had-Thought-of-It department, Newsday’s Verne Gay has a great post paralleling the troubles of NBC with those of its advertiser and former My Own Worst Enemy product-placer, General Motors.
Gay, God bless him, actually gives a broad overview of the network’s troubles. Perhaps the most damning aspect of his post is what qualifies as the good news for NBC: the ratings of The Office and 30 Rock. Don’t get me wrong, I know that The Office has strong demos and 30 Rock has seen its slight ratings on an upswing this fall, but these are still boutique hits. The type of show that, only a couple years ago, NBC would have pointed to and said, “…and yeah, the ratings aren’t huge, but it gets an upscale viewership and we’re proud of the show, so we’re sticking with it!”
And he closes on a note that is troubling the entire media business: “If GM goes under, there is nothing – nothing – to take its place. For much of the history of television, GM has been one of the great advertisers of network television – so vital and so important that I can’t begin to even scratch the surface here.”
If nobody can save GM, who will bail out NBC?