| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Jan 19 U.S. TV network NBC will air
another live performance of a Broadway musical, "Peter Pan," on
Dec. 4, hoping to repeat the ratings success of last year's
broadcast of "The Sound of Music Live."
The musicals are part of the Comcast-owned
network's strategy to draw audiences to live events, a defense
against later viewing on digital video recorders which is less
valuable to advertisers.
NBC also will air a new miniseries called "The Slap,"
another effort to create events that encourage audiences to
watch live, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said on
Sunday at a Television Critics Association meeting. The
eight-episode drama tells the story of the slapping of a child
at a barbecue that evolves into a court case.
"The Sound of Music Live" attracted 19 million viewers on
Dec. 5. When DVR playback was added, the show beat NBC's highly
rated "Sunday Night Football" that week, Greenblatt said. The
cast for "Peter Pan," about a boy who can fly, was not
Other events including the Golden Globes broadcast and the
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade have helped lift NBC's ratings
this season, along with dramas "The Blacklist" and "Chicago
Fire," Greenblatt said.
After struggling in the broadcast ratings basement for
years, NBC leads the four major networks this season in 18- to
49-year-olds, the group most prized by advertisers. Ratings were
boosted by "Sunday Night Football," which ended in December.
Through Jan. 12, NBC attracted an average of 3.8 million
primetime viewers in that group, a 0.5 percent gain from a year
earlier, according to ratings data from Nielsen. The network's
audience has jumped 10 percent in total viewers, to 9.6 million
"We have some real momentum," Greenblatt said, adding the
network was starting year three of a three- to five-year
NBC's ratings are expected to climb with its broadcast of
the Winter Olympics starting Feb. 6. Another of NBC's strongest
performers, singing contest "The Voice," will return on Feb. 24.
Greenblatt acknowledged low ratings for a Thursday night
comedy lineup including the "The Michael J. Fox Show."
"Thursday night is a real challenge for us," he said.
"Creatively we think they are good shows. We are really unhappy
we can't find an audience for them in those time periods."
One Thursday comedy, Amy Poehler's "Parks and Recreation,"
will return for a seventh season, Greenblatt said. He declined
to say if the other Thursday comedies would be renewed.
Comcast-owned Universal Television also announced a
three-year production deal to develop new shows with Poehler.
Last season, NBC finished last among the four big
broadcasters in total viewers, and third in viewers 18 to 49.