Man, some people are never happy.
Despite an upgrade in the Peacock's primetime television ratings this season, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke isn't ready to celebrate quite yet. In fact, he claims that NBC's performance isn't living up to his expectations and feels that there is room for improvement.
"We're still underperforming by my standards," Burke told analysts this morning during Comcast's call to discuss its third quarter earnings. "Broadcast profitability can be dramatically higher," he added. "We feel like we're on the right path but there's a long, long way to go."
Although NBC's Live+Same Day primetime ratings for 18- to 49-year-olds are up 19% for the first four weeks of the new season, the networks overall are not doing so well, with ABC's -11%, CBS's -18%, and FOX pulling up the rear with a -24%.
However, Burke refuses to blame the networks themselves for producing an abundance of terrible shows, instead believing that tablets and smartphones are the culprit. According to the NBCU CEO, these alternatives have "given people so many options for viewing that they're viewing more [television programming] but in places that are neither measured nor monetized." Riiiight.
I won't bore you, dear reader, with a bunch of meaningless numbers and statistics that neither of us fully understand or truly care about. For the first time in ten years, NBC emerged victorious from the first four weeks of the new fall season, dominating its competition now for seven weeks running in the coveted demographic of adults 18–49. The last time this happened was in the autumn of 2002, when NBC's "Must See TV" Thursday night lineup was anchored by ratings powerhouses Friends, Will & Grace, and ER. In comparison to last year, the Peacock has leapfrogged from a lowly fourth place to finish in first this year.
Should NBC be pleased with its performance this season? Do you think the network executives should hold themselves accountable for their own decline?