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These included shows that gave gay characters a significant presence, from “Six Feet Under,” where one of the sons of the funeral-home family was a gay man (played by Michael C. Hall) in a stable same-sex relationship, to this season’s NBC comedy “The New Normal,” about a gay couple who arrange for a surrogate mom to bear their child.

“But there was never any conscious gay agenda,” Greenblatt said. “I’ve just always been a proponent of having a lot of diversity in the shows I’ve done.” Among those series he produced, he counts a Latino drama, a black drama and four black sitcoms. “I just think that’s the world we live in.”

Today, the world Greenblatt lives in as the boss of NBC is a complicated place. It’s a media realm with multiplying platforms and once-time-honored rules in continuous flux.

So how does anyone in charge keep his footing on this changing landscape? By staying focused, Greenblatt said.

“The assignment I was given when I came here was to try and revive a broadcast network,” he explained. “I’m happy if people watch our shows on mobile devices and iPads, as long as we get paid for them. The word `broadcast’ can certainly expand to all those other ways of watching. But right now, the most efficient way for us to get paid for our programming is over-the-air broadcast. So that’s our No. 1 goal: to try to get people to come watch on the air.”

The message seems to be sinking in. NBC may be moving beyond its status as an also-ran and as a punch line (routinely mocked even by its own shows, including seven seasons of “30 Rock”). Indeed, this fall NBC was the lone Big Four network seeing year-to-year gains, while the others suffered losses.

Is NBC’s revival necessarily at the expense of other networks? For Greenblatt, it’s tempting to see the TV world in ecological terms, where any network on the brink of extinction is a threat to the entire biosphere, and where any growth is good for all.

“I think it’s just healthy for our business,” said Greenblatt, “if there’s another strong network.”




EDITOR’S NOTE _ Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at) and at