- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
NBC chief Greenblatt enjoying his network’s ratings surge
He tinkers with programming to find right mix
The world didn’t end as some predicted last month. Even more remarkably, NBC demonstrated it just might have a future.
No wonder Robert Greenblatt is marking two years as its boss with a new bounce in his step.
Mr. Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment, can bask in the glow of his network’s win in the November ratings sweeps. It was NBC’s first such victory in the 18-to-49 demo since 2003, vaulting from fourth place to first after being largely moribund in prime time for a decade.
“This is a great thing for our morale, if nothing else,” he said recently. “But I’m the first one to say there will be ups and downs for the next few years.”
Notice, he said “years.” Mr. Greenblatt is a guy who seems intent on logging years in a job that, until his arrival, had seen a revolving door of occupants. And he’s a guy who isn’t banking on any quick fix.
At the dawn of 2013, NBC is missing some of the ingredients that allowed 2012 to end so sweetly. Sunday Night Football is done for the season, while hit singing competition “The Voice” and up-and-coming freshman thriller “Revolution” are both on break until late March.
But NBC has several new shows in the wings.
When Mr. Greenblatt met with reporters at the Television Critics Association conference in Los Angeles this past weekend, he was touting “Deception,” a soap with glamour, murder and corruption that premieres Monday. Goofy family sitcom “1600 Penn,” set at the White House, debuts Thursday. And coming at the end of the month, “Do No Harm” is a psychological drama about a neurosurgeon waging war with his sociopathic alter ego.
Mr. Greenblatt has other shows in the pipeline. There’s “Dracula,” a pirate series titled “Crossbones” and “Hannibal,” a prequel to the acclaimed film “Silence of the Lambs.” Julian Fellowes, creator of Britain’s adored “Downton Abbey,” is developing “The Gilded Age,” a drama set among the 1 percent in late 19th-century New York. Also in the works is a comedy that will bring Michael J. Fox back to series TV, a return most people thought his health would never allow.
All this builds on NBC’s successful fall rollout, and it’s quite a turnabout from the Television Critics Association conference a year ago, when Mr. Greenblatt was acknowledging how fall 2011 had been “really bad.”
It’s been a tough climb since January 2011, when he got to NBC.
“You get the feeling that it’s never gonna be possible to move the needle again,” he said with typical candor during a recent conversation at NBC’s Manhattan headquarters. “You just keep fighting against the forces that are coming at you in a crowded environment, with more programming on more networks than in the history of our business, and you start to feel like it’s never gonna be possible to do anything dramatic.
“And then you do something dramatic” — by which he means a critical mass of strategies that pays off — “and you go, ‘Thank God, it is possible!’ “
That was prior to his stint at Showtime, where, in charge of entertainment from 2003 to 2010, he programmed such hits as “Dexter,” “Shameless,” “The Borgias,” “Nurse Jackie” and “Californication.”
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- ICT trade mission to Azerbaijan successfully completed
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- JACOBS: Prepare for a fight on driverless vehicles
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- White House faces press revolt over access to Obama's South Africa flight
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow