NBC has finally found ratings success in the new fall season.
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But NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, one of the 10 media people to watch in 2012, must be pleased with the progress. The new drama Revolution and the new comedy Go On can both be called hits, two of the first scripted success stories since Comcast took control early last year.
There remain several challenges before NBC can hope to challenge the dominance of CBS. Some of NBC's success can be linked to its prime time broadcasts of Sunday Night Football, which will disappear once the NFL season ends. There's also the reality show The Voice, which NBC may be overplaying, at least in the eyes of some observers. That could lead viewers to get bored with seeing it all the time.
While NBC will likely end the year with better ratings, there are issues with the news division, which had been an unfailing powerhouse, even when the prime time schedule was in disarray. NBC won election night and got credit for being the first to report that President Barack Obama would be re-elected. But ABC World News with Diane Sawyer is inching closer in the ratings to NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
This will also be the year that NBC's Today show was dethroned by ABC's Good Morning America. While America prays for the recovery of GMA co-host Robin Roberts, NBC faced viewer backlash for dumping Ann Curry from the Today show couch and the public relations damage that co-host Matt Lauer suffered as a result.
That's a repair job NBC wasn't expecting. But with a couple of new prime time hits, the network has building blocks on its schedule. In a few more seasons, it may once again be able to crow its slogan from the 1980s that it's "Proud as a peacock".